6 Tips for Christmas Party Planning in June!

June 1, 2017
Deborah Burges
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Okay – it’s a way off– but you know, you and your fellow employees will always look forward to the end of the working year.   You’ll have been working hard to make your business a success and the Christmas Party is a great way for employers to acknowledge the hard work and effort.    It’s the opportunity for everyone to come together and a great way to boost morale and set the scene for great working relations in the new year.

Don’t be disappointed by not being able to get any of the venues on your preferred list or any dates that suit as they are already booked up.  Remember how many companies are all scrambling to get one of the few prime dates in December!

Send out Save the Date invites

Giving your teams plenty of notice means you are most likely to get the high attendance you are looking for and achieve the best event success possible.

 Visualise and Plan

Most employers are looking for a return on the Christmas Party spend in terms of good employee relations that help improve job performance.

Arrange a meeting now with the senior person who signs off the spend on the corporate Christmas Party and check-out and confirm the company objectives.

Are you looking for a “let your hair down” night or do you have in mind any specific issues that could be addressed?  Use the Christmas Party as a means to improve those issues.

Maybe you are looking to encourage better communication between departments or sites?   Maybe you have a new company acquisition and that team needs bringing in to the fold?

Consider how you want employees to think and feel positively about the company after the party event – are there special and fun activities you can arrange to help this?  What about planning and budgeting for interesting goody-bags (wine and chocolate always go down well).  Do you want entertainment – DJ, Live Band?

Plan well in advance for the employee time needed to be away from the business for travel and to get ready for the party, so that the team can really get into the party spirit.  Will you require overnight accommodation for all or some of employees?

If you are a limited company, remind your boss the company director is entitled to provide an annual event and reclaim the costs against the company, as long as the cost per head does not exceed £150 (including VAT).  The cost per head can include accommodation, transport, and food and drink – but must not exceed the £150 threshold. The event must also be open to all company staff to attend.   Further details can be found on HMRC website https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim21690

Food Glorious Food

Party guests will remember for a long time afterwards if the food was good or if it was under-par!   Take the time now to research employee preferences and dietary requirements, and, know well in advance what type of fayre you would like to be served, so as to contact and secure the best and most appropriate venue and menu selection.

Don’t feel like you have to stick with turkey, especially if you’re planning to eat at a venue with a specialist restaurant.

Consider how you would like the food served – sit down plated or family service?   Running buffet or waitress bowl and finger food?   Do you want pre-dinner nibbles or canapés.

Not forgetting the drinks – alcohol or no alcohol?   What is the company prepared to pay for?   Get the details so you can inform the venue and the employees at the appropriate time and avoid any awkwardness or employee dissatisfaction and keep to budget.

Arrange a menu tasting so that you can be confident in your choices.   Food can make or break the Party – so give yourself plenty of time to understand your requirements and liaise with your specialist agent or venue.

Delegate and Appoint

The party organisation will likely be complex, time consuming and even frustrating at times, when you discover all may not be available as and when you would ideally like – so decide upon whose help you are going to enlist to ensure party success:  Do you want to hand the research and arrangements over to an experienced venue finding specialist, or recruit a few tried and trusted colleagues who are happy to assist and allocate the time needed to look into supplier and venue options?

A professional agency will offer a free venue sourcing service (they are paid by the venues and suppliers) and, as they place lots of business, they will usually get you the best rates.  They will also be able to advise on party options such as games and activities –  casino tables, giant scalextric, photo booth or photographer, Christmas goodie tree, maybe?

The devil is in the detail, so make sure you cover off a detailed itinerary that can be given to all concerned, including travel time.  Is the party following a business meeting and will employees need to bring anything in particular with them?   Do you need to arrange for coach, mini bus or late night taxi hire?   Ancillary services will be madly busy in December – so know what you need and book well in advance to avoid the potential problem of not being able to book these essentials.

KeepCalm

And Breathe….

Knowing that your party is on track and you can enjoy undisturbed sleeps ‘til Christmas

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