Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 25th 2014 Contents B26
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 25, 2014
If you have given out holiday bonuses
in the past and your employees have
come to expect them, do not make the
mistake of overspending on a holiday
party as a substitute for bonuses.
Even if your company can afford a
fabulous Christmas or Carnival party,
if you are not giving out bonuses, your
employees are likely to resent extrav-
agant party expenses and see it as
money coming out of their own (bonus)
Here are some office party planning
tips to keep your employees from
becoming disgruntled if they are not
getting cash bonuses this year.
Parties are not substitutes for
No cash-poor, hardworking employee
is going to be grateful for a party instead
of a bonus. Every drink, morsel, and
decoration can represent money spent
that employees would rather have than
Many employees do not even attend
holiday office parties so they can feel
like they received nothing at all.
If you decide to have an office party
instead of giving bonuses promote the
party as way of acknowledging appre-
ciation for the contributions of employ-
ees during the past year---not as a sub-
stitute for bonuses. Instead, send out
an announcement well in advance---
and separate from any party announce-
ments---that your company will not be
giving out bonuses this year.
Do not relate the party to any com-
munications about bonuses. As soon
as you connect the two, employees will
feel short changed.
Focus on the future, not the
It is fine to state your company cannot
afford bonuses this year due to the
economy, but never tell employees how
lucky they are to even have a job.
Instead of focusing on "a year in
review" lamenting losses and down-
sizing operations, use the party as a
positive platform to usher in a new,
more lucrative year. Talk about hopeful
things, new prospects for growth, and
a brighter future. Focusing on past hard-
ships will only remind your employees
of all the reasons why they are not get-
Get employees involved
Rather than trying to make up for a
lack of bonuses with a lavish Christmas
party, have a smaller scale party. Your
goal is to get employees excited about
the party itself and their minds off the
fact they are not getting a bonus. Over-
the-top spending on an office party
sends you employees the message that
you had excess cash they did not get.
Have Employees Bring Food: Break
from traditions and have employees
bring some of the food. Make it fun
and offer a contest for best cookie recipe
or dip. If you cannot offer a prize, give
the winner an afternoon off or extra
paid vacation day.
Entertainment: Invite local church or
youth groups to sing or perform; many
will do so for free. Even better, if you
have musical employees, invite them to
perform live music or offer a karaoke
Employees will get a bigger kick out
of seeing their coworker's band perform
than they will if you hire a profes-
Make it Family-Friendly: Let
families bring the children this year.
Many office parties traditionally
exclude children. Struggling families
may appreciate being allowed to
bring their children to your Christ-
Offer a few holiday activities for
kids, like a coloring, cookie deco-
rating, or ornament table so they
will have something to take home
Acknowledging that your
employees have lives outside the
work place by including their fam-
ilies is a great way to help them
feel better about your business.
Booze or no Booze?
It is generally better to keep office
parties alcohol free. But if you do
allow alcoholic beverages, use an
outside service and have a cash
bar. If your business cannot afford
bonuses, offering an open bar to
employees is not a good idea.
To avoid legal exposure, have a
professional bar tender prepare and
serve drinks; do not have the com-
pany purchase or serve alcohol to
employees and never ask or allow
employees to bring their alcohol.
People who have to pay for their
own alcohol may drink more
responsibly. All it takes is one jerk
who has had too much to drink to
make others feel uncomfortable.
The Bottom Line
The more you involve your
employees the more they will
appreciate an office party. If the
party really is for their benefit, cater
to them, not to management.
How to plan an office party
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