Each year, employers face the decision of whether to hold a Christmas party or not. For some people it’s a no brainer and the decision is a resounding yes.

But is the Christmas party just about celebrating the silly season?

It addresses employee disengagement

Australia is currently experiencing an employee engagement crisis. Gallup has tracked employee engagement since 2000 and report that 76% of employees in Australia are disengaged and have a lack of enthusiasm and commitment to their work or workplace.

Furthermore, engagement that is linked highly to staff loyalty, retention, productivity, innovation and profitability, has barely moved in over a decade. 

It’s a chance to say thanks

When done right, Christmas parties offer senior management teams so much more than a night out for their underlings.

Many years ago I worked for a large UK chain of sandwich bars. The Christmas party was a massive event held in a marquee decorated with chandeliers and statues in the heart of London. It included a beautiful sit down dinner followed by a band and was attended by hundreds of employees.

To this day, it’s not the extravagant and expensive details of the party that first jump to mind. What I do remember and what always comes to mind is that whilst everyone was partying, the two owners of the private multi-million-pound national company were working behind the bar serving everyone drinks.

Gallup also reports that 24% of employees say the most memorable recognition comes from the CEO.

In this case, it was two company owners doing menial work. The message this sent out was more powerful than anything else they did or spent money on.

It can shape your company profile and employee experience

It should come as no surprise that company culture is earned through employee experiences and morale. The Christmas party also has the potential to shape how your company is viewed by its employees, and may effect their overall experience of working there.

We make an effort at TwoScots to close the office and engage employees in regular team bonding outings that ensure ongoing dedication and commitment. In the past we’ve attended the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open and even had a day at the wineries.

Sunsuper’s 2015 Australian Employee Insights Report notes that 19% of Australians say they left their last job because they grew bored. We know this is not the case at TwoScots.

Christmas parties are a time to thank staff and make them feel valued and needed. And with Christmas falling at the same time as the Australian summer it’s the perfect time to regroup, refocus and most importantly have a great time!

On a final note, the company should always foot the bill. Charging your employees to attend their own Christmas party will only sour the mood, which defeats the purpose of hosting one in the first place.