Is your holiday party a potential budget buster?


As this year’s holiday season kicks off, celebrations are on the minds of practically every employee.

And most likely the cost of those celebrations is on the minds of employers committed to maintaining employee engagement without going overboard on the budget. Along with seasonal recruitment efforts, much of the number crunching this time of year revolves around holiday parties and year-end bonuses and salary increases—all good incentives to ensure your top employees don’t become the ghosts of the past.

How popular are holiday parties with employees?

In a recent survey conducted by OfficeTeam, a professional staffing firm, more than half of all workers (52 percent) said they enjoyed their year-end holiday office parties better than any other kind. Hosting a year-end event can boost morale and give your employees a chance to experience the fruits of their labor.

How can you pull off these “extras” without going overboard?

There are ways to maintain a tight control over the budget while creating a festive environment at your organization. Here’s how.

  • Include expenses for holiday celebrations in your annual budget
    Planning ahead is half the battle, and that’s certainly true for event budgeting. Food and location rental are obvious expenses, but don’t forget about those “hidden holiday fees” for things like travel and lodging for out-of-town employees, holiday cards, holiday decorations, set up and clean up costs, and additional payroll processing fees (if your year-end cash incentives will be processed with an out-of-sequence payroll). For the larger expenses, work with local establishments to book a location and date that works best for the company budget. Use local entertainment and smaller caterers to reduce costs, too.
  • Get more productive
    It may sound obvious, but the bigger your profits, the easier it’ll be to afford big year-end incentives. So get focused on those performance metrics! Some of that “extra” revenue can then be funneled into your employee incentive programs. (Bonus—When your employees understand how their hard work directly impacted your ability to throw a big bash, the celebration will be all the sweeter!)
  • Partner up
    The costs of a single holiday party can be well into the thousands. However, your company doesn’t have to foot the bill alone. Get in touch with your best vendors and ask them to sponsor your get-together. A holiday party can be a great way to support a cause too, so your partnered event can include fundraising for a community need, such as a food bank or other charity.
  • Keep it simple
    It could be that your employees would prefer more cash instead of a fancy party. If a more modest affair would allow for bigger cash incentives, don’t hesitate to consider that.

Try to do your holiday budget planning as early as possible so you can later sit back and enjoy the fun with your employees!

Have your compensation budget on your mind too? Check out this comprehensive whitepaper to get started: Budgeting

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