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Employees who party together stay together

December 11, 2010

Well, ‘tis the season to be jolly and all that and the Christmas party time is here, with many organisations getting into the festive mood and making final preparations for the end of year party. With the current economic climate, some organisations have decided to cancel joviality this year and cut costs by cutting the party, but is there any evidence to suggest that workplace parties actually have a benefit for employee engagement?

According to the journal Employee Benefit News a good party helps to ‘bring up employee morale and engagement’ (Butler, 2006 p17). The premise for a company party to have any effect on employees at all is based on the fact that ‘the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated’ as William James once said. If the company party is organised as a way of saying thank you to all employees for continued hard work and commitment and perhaps an award type ceremony is worked into the process, employees feel recognised and appreciated. It is this level of recognition and taking time to say thank you that has been found to link into improved employee engagement scores in employee surveys.

Additionally, the workplace party is a time to step back and see yourself as part of the bigger picture, as part of a wider team. Enhancing employee relations with people across the organisation can be a step in the right direction; boosting social networking links can be a great way to make new connections and communicate more widely. A case study I reviewed a long time ago with a huge confectionary company stated that their company party involved wearing electronic badges and every time you chatted to someone the connection showed up on a huge screen showing the social networking map of the organisation. The idea was to promote how important communication is for a business to thrive, and show how each individual has a part to play within the wider scheme of the organisation.

Often it is claimed by bosses that a big party is too much hassle and costs too much, but if organised in a way in which the key message of ‘thank you’ is communicated the longer term benefits can outweigh the costs. Obviously there are alternative ways in which to show appreciation for employees and throwing a party is just one example, but what is clear from the research on this topic is that employees need to feel valued, recognised, communicated with to be more engaged as a workforce. Improving employee engagement is a multi-pronged process but providing recognition for employees can be a step in the right direction. So, if you are off to a Christmas party with work, enjoy yourself safe in the knowledge that your attendance is all about making connections, boosting engagement and having fun with those you work with, but best to keep one eye on your alcohol consumption before engagement becomes personal embarrassment! For more information on how you can boost your employee engagement levels in your organisation or run an employee engagement survey with which to benchmark your future practices against, please contact us to discuss your needs.

Reference: Butler, K. (2006). Gettin' down helps bring up employee morale, engagement. Employee Benefit News, June, pp17-18.

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