With a little engagement, this year’s holiday party can be rewarding for you and your employees.
But for executives especially, the investment in a company social event is like a raffle–you must be present to win.
If you chose to hold a company holiday party, the assumption is that you want to do something special with your employees–otherwise your funds would be better spent on providing a free turkey for Thanksgiving or simply buying every employee a gift.
Here are 10 reasons why you should make an appearance:
Employee engagement is the Holy Grail for top performance. If you want employees to feel like your company is more than just a place to pick up paycheck, you need to find every way to engage them–and at every opportunity. Company social functions provide an excellent forum to demonstrate that the company is more than just a machine.
Everything you do (or fail to do) is closely observed by your team. If you don’t think the party is important, down-the-line managers and their employees certainly won’t. An event without leaders is a missed opportunity.
Company social events can provide both formal and informal opportunities to recognize employees and their contribution. Whether it’s handing out a trophy in front of the entire organization or simply highlighting someone’s achievements during a casual conversation in front of his family, the opportunity to recognize employees is a valuable part of any company event.
Social events provide a unique opportunity to communicate informally about the company vision. Employees, and certainly family members, rarely have a full sense for what the future holds. Reinforcing the vision, in casual conversation or in formal comments, can help clarify the role employees have in achieving goals.
Spouses and family members provide trusted counsel to your employees. Getting the chance to interact with the company’s leaders can help family members understand the challenges and opportunities your employee faces, and support from home can be a key element in retaining talent.
“Being there” is a critical part of your job description and part of the inferred social convention once referred to as noblesse oblige. Would you hold a party at your house and not attend? Probably not. Social events may be optional for hourly employees and junior members of the team, but not so for senior leaders–it’s what you do.
The holiday party is an opportunity for employees to interact in a way that doesn’t always present itself at the workplace. A well-planned event can engineer activities that break down silos and build camaraderie. Senior managers play a key role in facilitating and leading these opportunities.
You never know what you’ll learn just by listening to employees interact with each other or with you. You may discover strengths and weaknesses about your organization that will be of great value.
Company events cost money and time. Just like any other purchase or investment, you will get the most value for your money if you are an active participant.
You never know what unforeseen opportunities may unfold. An employee or a guest might prove to have a valuable connection with a customer, have a lead for that key position you’ve been trying to fill, or an idea that improves your business.
—Michael D. Visconage has held key leadership positions in a wide variety of organizations, including service as U.S. Marine Corps officer, as a health care facility owner, and in franchising. He currently directs strategic programs for The Brandt Companies, the largest mechanical construction contractor in Texas.