As a business owner, I totally understand how the Christmas Party can quickly turn into your worst nightmare! I mean, nothing could possibly go wrong when you get a bunch of recruiters together who love to party…
With many years of Christmas partying under my belt, here are my 10 golden rules for a successful recruitment Christmas party…
1. Don’t Start Too Early
Drinks before 11am? Not a good idea. I’m all for knocking off early and encouraging everyone to share some cocktails, but the aim here is to actually get everyone to the party!
There have been occasions where the non-Glaswegian employees found out the hard way just how much we born-and-bred Glaswegians can drink (and somehow still manage to string coherent sentences together? It truly is a skill!). But for everyone's benefit, don’t start things off too early as sitting beside a drooling colleague is certainly not pretty and just embarrassing for them come Monday…
2. Let Someone Else Organise It
Shockingly, your idea of fun may not be the same as your employees! Yip, that 5-star restaurant experience with champagne to wash it down after a totally banging year… lost its sparkle when my employees confessed (after being wined and dined!) that lots of beer and a well-stacked burger at the local pub would have been much better!
The lesson? Delegate! Let an employee co-ordinate the evening based on what their colleagues would like.
3. Prepare A Few Words
The only serious thing that I do recommend is a speech. Christmas and New Year are a time for reflection, and everyone expects a few words from their leader. You know the stuff: what’s worked, what could have been better, and a quick lowdown on any exciting plans for the coming year.
Keep it short, upbeat, and focused on your employee’s successes. I always finish this up by announcing the ‘Fish of the Year’. Everyone at Firefish votes on the employee that lives our values and has gone above and beyond for our customers. Everyone is genuinely excited to hear about who has won their colleagues’ hearts and minds. It is quite rightly a big deal and one that deserves to be done early in the evening when you have everyone’s attention.
4. Start Traditions
Mixed feelings about ‘organised fun?’ Yip, me too. But with a big group of people who don’t know each other so well, this can actually be a good icebreaker. Secret Santa, an office quiz, or an award for the best Christmas jumper can create little traditions and amusing stories to be shared for days after. Mix everyone up and encourage them to team up with colleagues who they might not normally talk to.
5. Book Enough Taxis
AAGGGGHH… the most stressful part of the evening if you are going from one place to the next! Every year you get let down, so decide to book double the amount of taxis in the hope that the right ones turn up and keep the party rocking.
6. Have an Eye on the Seating Plan…
Okay don’t worry I am not suggesting you actually have one of these! But if you can see that somehow Employee A has landed a spot beside Employee B, and you know deep down that they don’t always see eye to eye... it’s time to sober up, kick into gear and figure out a way to mix the tables or seats up for the benefit of everyone.
7. Turn Water Into Wine
Well, not literally. But make sure there are enough bottles of wine and fizz to go around, and keep them coming. BUT when the third or fourth round of shots arrives, draw a line - the party’s in their hands now!
8. Be Sober Enough to Pay the Bill
Never a good sign if you're too drunk to pay the bill and definitely not good practice to make someone else pay for it and ask for a receipt!
9. The Witching Hour
Yip, believe it or not, it will happen and generally around 11 – 12pm. If you've been as good as Santa says hopefully all the ‘employee chats’ that start around this time will be positive. It’s a time that employees tend to want to tell you that they ‘love you and they love working for your company’ but be warned, it might be a grumble… My rule these days is to drink early, encourage a fun atmosphere, and then start sobering up from 10pm onwards so I'm on my game and ready for the Witching Hour…
10. Taxi For...
Lastly, make sure everyone gets home okay, or at least ensure there’s someone semi responsible left standing to lead the party on after you depart. Keep an eye on anyone ‘in need of assistance' during the evening and if you do indeed ‘need to’ assist them to exit the building, you can! Actually put them in the taxi and pay the taxi man to take them home. Otherwise, they may surprise you by boomeranging back in to the party!