Companies Plan More Holiday Parties in 2012

While companies continued to hire at a less-than-stellar rate in 2012, strong corporate profits are giving them plenty of reason to celebrate.  A new survey shows that more than 83 percent are planning year-end holiday parties this year, up from 68 percent in 2011.

In its annual survey of human resources executives, global outplacement and workplace coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. not only found that more companies are hosting holiday parties, but 17 percent said more money is being budgeted for the festivities.

Despite the increase in holiday parties from a year ago, the percentage of companies holding year-end functions remains shy of a pre-recession 2007, when about 90 percent of companies surveyed held holiday festivities. Continue reading

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Holiday Party Survey: More Companies Planning Parties

While the economic recovery failed to make great strides in 2011 and, in fact, appeared to stall in the second half of the year, nearly 70 percent of companies still plan to hold holiday parties in the coming weeks, according to an annual survey of human resources executives conducted by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The percentage of companies hosting parties is about the same as a year ago, but remains well short of a pre-recession 2007, when about 90 percent of companies surveyed held holiday festivities.

The non-scientific survey of approximately 100 human resources professionals found that the overwhelming majority of companies holding parties (95 percent) are budgeting about the same amount for their events as a year ago.

“The economy is not improving as fast as many had hoped.  While some companies are seeing improvements, most are still stuck in first gear and continue to hold off on hiring, equipment upgrades and other big expenditures.  Yet, despite the less-than-celebratory business conditions, the majority of companies refuse to abandon the year-end holiday party,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“For many employers, the holiday party is a way to demonstrate appreciation for employees’ hard work throughout the year.  Others see the parties as a relatively low-cost morale builder.  For smaller companies, the holiday party is simply an extension of a more family-like relationship that often exists between these employers and their employees,” said Challenger.

“The nice thing about holiday parties is that they do not have to be full-blown extravaganzas to be meaningful to employees.  A small company on a tight budget can easily host a potluck lunch, where employees bring in a favorite dish to share with co-workers,” he added.

Only about 30 percent of companies surveyed are holding their parties on company premises.  That is down from 53 percent of companies that did so a year ago.  Sixty percent of companies are limiting attendance to employees only, perhaps excluding spouses or significant others in an attempt to save on cost.  More than half (55 percent) are holding the party during the workday or near the end of the day.

“The most surprising finding of the survey was that about half of the respondents said their companies would be serving alcohol at their holiday parties.  In addition to the added cost, serving alcohol adds a level of risk that most companies should strive to avoid.  However, despite the increased cost and risk of including alcohol, many companies still embrace it as part of the festive atmosphere,” noted Challenger.

“For workers whose companies are holding parties this year, particularly those where alcohol is available, it is important to remember that there is a fine line between having fun and having too much fun.  The economic recovery is still very fragile, so it is not the time to draw attention to oneself with embarrassing conduct at the holiday party,” said Challenger.

“However, employees should not simply stand in the corner in an effort to stay off the radar.  It is equally important to remember that these events also offer great opportunities, such as socializing with senior executives who you do not interact with on a daily basis.  Make an effort to break away from your comfort zone and introduce yourself to those who might help your career,” he advised.

 

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GUIDELINES FOR OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTYGOERS

Arrive early:  This might be your best opportunity to talk with senior executives while things are still relatively quiet.

Work the room:  It is easy to simply socialize with the members of your department, with whom you work with day in and day out.  However, you gain if you use this occasion to meet people in other departments.  You never know who can help your career.

 Do not over indulge:  Free alcohol can quickly lead to excessive drinking.  Stay in control.  You do not want to do anything embarrassing to you or your employer.  Even if your alcohol-induced actions do not get you fired, they could hurt your chances for advancement.

Be friendly, but not too friendly:  The company party is not the place to try out your latest pick-up lines.  The risk of such behavior being seen as sexual harassment is high.

Avoid talking business:  This is not the time to approach your boss with a new business idea.  Save that for Monday morning.  Instead, find out about his or her interests outside of the office.  Find a connection on a personal level.  That connection will help you on Monday when you bring up the new idea and it could help when it comes time for salary reviews.

Attend other companies’ parties:  54 percent of company parties are employees only.  If a friend invites you to his or her company party, you should go.  It is an opportunity to expand your professional network, which is critical in this era of downsizing and job switching.                

2011 HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY SURVEY

1.  Will your company hold a holiday party this year?

 

 

Yes

67.9%

No, we never have holiday parties

17.9%

No, we had a party last year, but not this year due to the economy

9.1%

Not this year for other reasons

5.1%

2.  Is your company budgeting more or less for a holiday party this year?

 

(Percentages are among those having parties.)

 

 

Budgeting Same

95%

Budgeting More

3%

Budgeting Less

2%

3. If you are having a party, can you share some of the following information, checking all those that apply? (Multiple answers allowed)

 

 

Inviting employees only

60%

Holding party during workday or end of  workday

55%

Serving alcohol

49%

Using caterer, event planner, outside services

45%

Holding party in evening or weekend

40%

Inviting family/spouse/partner to attend

35%

Holding the party on company premises

30%

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.©

 

Companies Keep Celebration Light

As a growing number of companies benefit from a slowly improving economy, there are indications that workplace holiday parties are starting to make a comeback. However, with the bitter taste of cost-cutting measures still fresh in employees’ minds, some companies appear to be keeping festivities relatively subdued, according to a new survey and interviews with employers.

In its annual survey on holiday parties, global outplacement and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that 64 percent of companies are planning holiday parties this year, up slightly from 62 percent a year ago. About four percent of those holding parties this year are doing so after one or more years with no party due to the recession.

The non-scientific survey of approximately 100 human resources professionals found that only six percent of those companies holding parties are planning to spend more this year. The majority of respondents (76 percent) said party budgets would be about the same as last year. Eighteen percent of companies are spending less, down from 29 percent a year ago.

Full Report Here: http://www.challengergray.com/press/PressRelease.aspx?PressUid=150

HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTIES: Cost-Cutting Claims Corporate Revelry; Some Still Celebrating

As the economy continues to slump, many companies are entering the holiday season with tighter budgets and little reason to celebrate. As a result, fewer employers are planning holiday parties while others are slashing the party fund by as much as half, according to a new survey by Challenger.

In our annual survey on holiday parties, 77 percent of companies are planning holiday parties this year. That is down significantly from 2007, when 90 percent of employers were planning holiday parties despite mounting evidence of an impending slowdown.


Further evidence of the economic slowdown’s impact on employers is seen in the fact that seven percent of the companies surveyed typically hold holiday parties but were canceling them this year due to cost-cutting. In contrast, no company surveyed by Challenger in 2007 planned to cancel its holiday party.

The Challenger holiday party survey was conducted in October among approximately 100 human resource executives in a wide variety of industries nationwide.

The comparative data from this year to the last is very telling. The effects of the housing slump that began around August 2007 had not been fully realized when companies were planning year-end parties. With the impact of the housing collapse rippling throughout many sectors of the economy, we are seeing the toll on holiday parties

Eighty-three percent of survey respondents are spending the same amount on their parties this year. Only 4.3 percent of companies are increasing their party budgets this year, and by an average of only 5 percent, compared to 2007 when 38 percent allocated an average of 16 percent more for their parties. Among the 13 percent planning to reduce party spending, the budget cuts averaged 53 percent.

More than half of the employers holding parties are reportedly having it on a workday or near the end of a workday (57 percent), while nearly two-thirds are inviting employees only (65 percent). Fifty-six percent are using a caterer or outside service compared to 69 percent last year.

Despite this year’s focus on cost-containment, 65 percent of companies still plan to hold their functions at an offsite venue and 48 percent are planning on serving alcohol.

2008 Challenger Holiday Party Survey Results:

1. Will your company hold a holiday party this year?

Key: 2008 2007


Yes: 76.6% 90%
We never have holiday parties: 16.6% 10%
We usually do, but not this year due to cost cuts: 6.8% 0

2. Is your company budgeting more or less for a holiday party this year?
(Percentages are among those having parties.)


Budgeting Same: 82.7% 50%
Budgeting More: 4.3% 38%
Budgeting Less: 13.0% 12%

3. If you are having a party, can you share some of the following information, checking all those that apply? (Multiple answers are allowed)


Inviting employees only: 65.2% 46%
Using caterer, event planner, outside services: 56.5% 69%
Holding party during workday or end of workday: 56.5% 42%
Serving alcohol: 47.8% 46%
Inviting family/spouse/partner to attend: 34.8% 54%
Holding the party on company premises: 34.8% 27%
Holding party in evening or weekend: 30.4% 58%