Just like employee appreciation gifts, the key to throwing an incredible office party that employees will talk about long after it’s over is to make sure it’s all about your employees and less about the company. Creating the perfect atmosphere where employees genuinely feel appreciated takes a precise mixture of branding, fun, and relaxation. Some of the most innovative and successful employee appreciation parties to date stay true to what employees already love about the company. For example, a cool theme for a foodie brand is to have a tasting party of all the latest ‘it’ ingredients. Or, a trendy marketing and design firm to hold a rooftop sound meditation retreat.
Of course, you already know you should always be mindful of HR rules. And that might mean limiting your alcohol, but it certainly DOES NOT mean limiting your fun!
Ready to throw an instagram-worthy office party your employees will love? From gift ideas for staff to small details that express employee appreciation—you’re going to want to check out this roundup of the best tips on the market.
Always Stay On Trend
We have to agree with WeWork in their 5 Tips for Throwing an Awesome Office Party when they say “Nothing’s going to make you look more out-of-touch than bingo, karaoke, and a boring buffet.” If you truly want your employees to enjoy the party, then you want to design your party to be fun and trendy! They recommend opting for food trucks, personal chefs, or even puppy therapy to show employee appreciation.
When it comes down to employee appreciation events, the bottom line is genuinely showing how much you care. And, just like American Express suggests in their article on 7 Ways to Throw A Great Company Party Without Going Broke, that means getting personal. Throw your party in a personal setting like a home, or your favorite local restaurant. If that’s not an option, toss some table cloths over conference room tables and create (or have made) handwritten place cards for all of your employee to create an intimate setting. These small touches and attention to detail are an easy and budget-friendly way to show employees how special and valuable they really are!
Opt for Experiences
Giving an employee a new and memorable experience is one of the best ways to show you appreciate them. In an article from The Muse, they mention one of the best options for a work event is choosing an inspirational theme or location. The change of pace from the day to day grind is a great way to stimulate creativity, boost morale and buld team relationships. Think: a private curated tour at a museum or a day hike to a high lookout point with breathtaking views.
Give Your Attendee A Memento
In 15 Ways To Ensure Your Company Holiday Party Doesn’t Suck one of the top tips they offer is to give your employees something to take home. Whether your party is during the peak of the holiday season, or a random Saturday afternoon, a small party favor is always a thoughtful gesture that lets attendees know their presence at the event is appreciated.
Giving party favors is a great way to memorialize the event and buying them doesn’t need to be expensive. Instead of picking out several filler items, select one small gift that is tasteful, useful and long lasting, such as a decorative candle with seasonal scents that they’ll use year after year.
Keep it Classy
From employee appreciation gifts to the party location, Plan Your Meetings says there is no other way to put this, don’t be cheap. While you don’t need to rent out the Oriental Ballroom at the Mandarin Hotel, it does need to feel like somewhere you’re employees would actually want to spend time, especially if the party is after work hours. It also means if you’re serving food, the company should pay for it. Ditto for drinks. And, if you’re giving gifts for staff, skip the tired tchtockes in favor of something bespoke and useful; an item they may not splurge on for themselves.
Tip: If you don’t have the budget to give every employee a gift, choose a few well curated gifts and have a random drawing or award them as prizes (see below).
Have Unique Employee Gifts and Door Prizes
One of the best perks of an employee party is the prizes. However, as mentioned in How To Throw a Holiday Party Employees Will Be Excited To Attend, $5 gift cards and company mugs just won't do. Step up your door prizes a notch and really show appreciation by giving beautifully wrapped unique gifts your employees will love to keep and use at home or the office. Be mindful of the packaging, presentation, and how the employee will transport the gift from the party. If most of your employees ride a bike or take the subway, keep things lightweight and easy to carry in a bag. If giving a larger item, consider having the gift delivered to their home.
Have Great Food
Just as with every other party, the food is kind of a big deal. As mentioned by Quill.com, matching the menu to the theme is of utmost importance. However, it is just as important to have food that is of quality as well! Skip the cheese tubes in favor of organic, local, and unique. If the party is held during mealtimes, ensure there is enough food to make a meal. And, don’t forget about any dietary restrictions, such as vegan and gluten-free, to make everyone feel welcome.
Throw Your Party In the Office
If you are on a tight budget, we couldn’t agree more with this tip from Business Insider on How to Throw An Office Party on A Budget which suggests throwing an employee appreciation party in your office. Not only does this save on the cost of renting a venue, but it makes travel for everyone rather easy as well. Make the office feel more festive with decorative table cloths, plants (that can be re-used or given as gifts), and a way to place music. If it's possible, adjust the lights and move tables to the side of the room to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
No matter what type of theme you choose for your office party, the cardinal rule is “Don’t be boring.” Your employees shouldn’t cringe at the thought of attending, and neither should you! If you want to up your office party game, consider hosting your event at unique intervals throughout the year, not just on traditional holidays or employee appreciation day.