Traditions are important in companies just as they are in families. And, nothing is more important than the annual traditions work places establish around the celebration of seasonal holidays. A holiday celebration builds positive morale which results in increased employee motivation. High morale and motivation contribute to team building and productivity. Productive teams are responsible for the success of your organization. Here are holiday celebration ideas for your work place.
Traditions can range from costume parades at Halloween to food drives for the needy in November and December. Lunch celebrations, evening holiday dinners and the wearing of the green for St. Patrick’s Day are annual traditions that people can count on and look forward to celebrating at work.
You will want to avoid celebrating specific religious holidays to honor the diverse people in your organization. But for positive motivation and team building, you’ll enjoy creating seasonal holidays and celebrating secular occasions you designate as special in your company. Here are ideas for the successful organization of events, mistakes to avoid and ideas for traditions you can start and share.
Form a Guiding Group for Holiday Planning
In my client company, a group of people spear head event planning. Known as the Activity Committee, members from across the company plan and orchestrate a diverse series of events throughout the year. Because member continuity is strong in the team, traditions are honored and continued during each passing year. You do need a group, with representatives from across the company, to plan and implement your events.
Lessons Learned in Holiday Event Planning
I’ll share with you some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years, and that I have observed in other organizations, too. Perhaps you will avoid common mistakes by learning from those who have experimented before you.
- Longevity matters. Often your committee is dominated by longer term company members who can find themselves so devoted to honoring traditions, that they do not accept and honor new ideas and diversity. They claim newer members want to come to the meetings but don’t want to do their share of the work. Shorter term employees claim the committee members are set in their ways and not open to new ideas. You need to make sure your committee is reaching out to new and diverse members and that people share the work load. Otherwise, the people who are often the heart and soul of your organization, retire without having developed a committed group of newer employees.
- Honoring diversity can cause problems – if ignored. An annual hot dog lunch was transformed this year by last year’s complaints that vegetarians and certain religion-practicing employees can only eat vegetarian hot dogs that were not provided. The annual holiday dessert table contained no low fat or sugar free choices.
One group brought all diet pop for their company picnic and parents scrambled to find something for their children to drink. A Thanksgiving luncheon was held during Ramadan and no boxes were supplied for fasting employees to take their lunch home. In a diverse society, attention to these kinds of special needs and details is a necessary component of celebrating holidays at work.
- Record keeping is essential. You need to be able to answer the questions about how many employees the group fed last year, how much food was purchased, how many pizzas served the whole crowd and how much money was collected for each charity. Your employees will want to know that the food drive brought in 300 more pounds of food this year than last. Exceeding the company record is good for motivation and for team building.
- Designate volunteers to serve all food. They can wear gloves; they serve fair and even portions; you won’t run out. What? You’ve never experienced fifty people descending on a buffet table and filling their plates to over-flowing while remaining employees had no food? If you ever experience this, you’ll know why I make this recommendation.
- Pay attention to the endless details. Did someone pick up plates and silverware? Is a serving knife available? Is there room in the refrigerators to store extra food overnight? Lists help. Save last year’s list to avoid starting fresh each year.
- Many hands make less work for all. The picnic sub-committee tapped volunteers from across the company to help with children’s games, lead nature walks and organize a baseball game. When many help, few feel burdened.