Paul Stoddart is managing director, UKI & Benelux at CWT Meetings and Events
‘Tis the season to be jolly’ and the annual work Christmas party certainly gives many the opportunity to don those festive jumpers, have an early Turkey dinner and struggle on the last train home with the over-sized and ostentatious secret Santa gift.
In the age where we have to provide ROI on every event, where cost control is still at the top of an organisation’s priorities and the potential HR headaches, are we starting to see a shift away from the traditional ‘large-scale’ Christmas party?
At CWT Meetings and Events we have seen a trend this year in some companies ditching the big shindig in favour of multiple small-scale events and team-building activities.
This could be for a number of reasons:
- Budget control – Reduction in travel/accommodation costs associated with smaller events.
- Choice – A much wider selection of venues available after Christmas.
- Intimacy – Low-key events allow teams to engage with each other on a more personal level.
- Brand reputation – Many companies in times of strict cost control don’t want to be perceived as spending huge sums on a ‘boozy night out’.
- Empowerment – No one likes to be told where to go and what to do. So many businesses are opting to give local managers budgets per head to spend as their teams wish.
- Staff welfare – Smaller events will usually reduce the chance of HR having to be involved on a Monday morning.
There is also an increasing trend in the large office ‘summer party’ where companies invite prospective clients and showcase new products in a more informal setting – a day and evening outdoor event where friends and families are invited as well.
One of our clients used to hold their national conference in December, but this has been replaced with a ‘seasonal dinner’ and the event has been moved to January with no replacement for this in the form of a Christmas party.
We have seen an increase in requests for the January ‘kick-off’ meeting, where goals can be set and targets laid out for the year. Some companies see this as a greater use of resources and where value can be measured. Employees also still feel they’re getting rewarded by the company and can help dispel any anger at the cancellation or ‘scaling down’ of the annual festive event.
Of course we have still catered this year for some extremely successful large-scale events but what this trend and approach points to is businesses being more considered in their approach to internal events.
We will have to wait until 2018 to see if this trend continues as more businesses give Christmas parties the sack.
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