It seems that many budget lines have felt the wrath of the delete button over the years, but the Holiday Party remains.  From social drinks and meal to a couples dance and annual awards – the holiday party is holding strong. That being said, as a forward thinking manager you can utilize the holiday party budget for some team development.

Team building is inspired by one of 3 F’s – Fun, Fast Forward and Fix.  Fix is when we have a super tuff group with dynamic issues and is not functioning at their peak – and that’s not something we are going to work on over the holidays – we’ll have plenty of that with our in-laws visiting (LOL).

But Fun and Fast Forward are totally fair game spaces for team development to meet the holiday party.

nov-fastforwardFun is just like it sounds.  These team learning objectives are to celebrate each other, have a few laughs together, and get to know each other a bit better on a personal note.  Some businesses spend their holiday parties doing just that with dances, drinks, and delectables.

Fast Forward is the gold that is not often considered around holiday season. It is perfect for your Holiday budgeted event because it has the “feel good celebration” as well as makes the CFO happy because there is some learning value too.  Here we integrate real business learning objectives into a fun filled team event.  Team’s not only get to know each other a bit better, have fun and all that good stuff – but they also get to learn valuable skills for work.

For example, say your business is challenged with an influx of new hires entering into a mentoring program.  Do some speed teaming or speed mentoring, and set up your room with small cafe tables and have one person stay stationary at the table while the other person is the “floater.”  Have everyone sit two to a table and then instruct them that when you ring the bells the one person will move to the next table and the other will remain.  Each group will stay together for two minutes and have a list or card deck of questions.  They will continue to draw questions and talk about the answers for the entire two minutes.

Questions can include:

  • “What was the most important educational development you received for your current career?”
  • “What is your favorite part of your job?”
  • “How do you create work life balance?”
  • “Who inspires you?”
  • “What is your favorite work achievement?”
  • “If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?”
  • “What is one place we could improve our business?”
  • “What industry trends do you think will shape our business in the next year?”
  • “What do you think are the most important qualities of a leader?”
  • “Why is our business poised for success?”

The Speed Teaming continues until everyone has rotated through the group.  The message here is, if you are getting everyone together to “celebrate” be deliberate about integrating some team activity to improve function.  You are investing allot in the celebration, be a champion and show that there can be learning too.

Top 10 Tips for a Great Gathering

Setting up a team event over the holidays can be a tricky affair.  The pressures of money, time, family and more ring true for so many.  Here is a list of 10 things that you can do to make your party inclusive, inspiring, and interesting.

    1. Instead of a “secret santa” where you have to buy gifts, instead get people to make weekly festive holiday cards that their partner can mail to family and friends.
    2. Call peoples homes and thank their partner or parent for the hard work and excellence that the employee has given the company.  Be sure to be able to provide real examples.
    3. Ensure that you make your holiday parties conducive to all people to join.  Remember some people have children and older parents they are caring for.
    4. Organize and sponsor a community supper and have that as your holiday party, and spend time together helping the less fortunate.
    5. Be inclusive of many religions and celebrations over the holiday season.  It is easy to forget that we are a diverse and multicultural society.
    6. Ensure that people can come and go safely to and from your events.  Arrange with a cab company or set up designated drivers.
    7. Instead of an office party, have a client appreciation party.  Have employees invite them to celebrate with you.
    8. Put on a mock talk show and have your staff interviewed about the most shocking and hilarious customer experiences they have had.
    9. Go caroling with your staff around your office building and in the front entrance, and raise money for a local charity.
    10. Have a wine and cheese and instead of an office party give each person in your employ a gift card to the grocery store so that they can buy their family “turkey.”
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