Guest Author Blog: Be a Scrooge: 'Cancel the Company Party' by George Cloutier author of, "Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing"
Crain’s New York Business recently compared me to a certain squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old miser who always turns up at this time of year. To quote Crain’s: “Does the name Ebenezer Scrooge ring any bells?”
I don’t really mind the comparison—as a small business owner, Scrooge has a lot to recommend him. But they’ll probably be calling me the Grinch when they hear my advice for business owners who are planning a holiday party for their employees.
My advice is: Cancel the party!
Don’t get me wrong—I don’t say that because I’m hard-hearted and stingy. There are practical reasons why the company holiday party is a bad idea.
1. It can actually hurt morale. When employees see a significant amount of money sunk into one evening’s entertainment, they’re going to wonder why those same funds couldn’t be applied to bonuses and salary increases instead.
2. It can lead to embarrassing problems for everyone involved. The company party frequently creates an atmosphere in which employees get carried away and say or do something regrettable. Spare them the embarrassment, and yourself potential HR or legal issues.
3. It is seen as an obligation rather than a perk. Most employees don’t even enjoy the party but feel compelled to go. Poll a few trusted employees--you’ll find the last thing they want to do is socialize with the same people they work with all day.
4. It sends the wrong signal, especially in these difficult times. The company’s focus should be on making money, not on frivolities.
5. It is simply a poor use of time and money. If you feel compelled to do something for your employees, give them something they’ll really appreciate. A modest bonus or a little extra time off generates more good will than an expensive, awkward social event.
Let your employees handle their own holiday partying. The best thing you can do for them is to focus on making the business as successful as it can be. That will ensure a happy new year for everyone.
George Cloutier is the author of Profits Aren’t Everything, They’re the Only Thing: No-Nonsense Rules from the Ultimate Contrarian and Small-Business Guru.
Cloutier has worked to improve 7,000 companies across 400 industries, so he knows how to fix what’s broken.
For more information, you can visit http://turnaroundace.com.
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