School just started, but step into Winco or Walgreens, and vying for rack space alongside backpacks and lunchboxes you’ll see Halloween candy. The turkeys and Christmas trees are not far behind.
It’s just September, but it’s not too early to start planning for the holidays, and that means making plans for team-building, award-giving, company-updating, morale-boosting company events and holiday parties. A banner splayed across the northwest corner of The Owyhee, which is currently undergoing major renovations, spells it out: “Holiday parties – book yours now.”
At the very least, the company holiday party serves as a thank-you to employees. Or you can step it up a bit and add award recognition, activities, annual fiscal updates and company forecasts to get everyone on board. In a 2011 Forbes.com article, Jenna Goudreau wrote that the office holiday party can also be a valuable tool for finding the perfect person for an upcoming project, or even a vehicle for getting that golden parachute promotion.
“Especially for more junior people, the office holiday party is a rare opportunity to be in a room with immediate supervisors and the big boss,” said Christine Jahnke, an author and speech coach who has worked with national leaders.
And if you are thinking of toning down or possibly cancelling this year’s company holiday party to save a little money, Aardvark Entertainment CEO Daniel Boynton says to think again.
“Right now tight budgets are forcing businesses to make cuts to boost the bottom line, and sometimes the first cuts are what’s sometimes considered an ‘extra’: dinners, travel and parties,” he said. “Why is it important for businesses to maintain a budget for parties and events? When you cut paychecks, it certainly affects the individual, but when you cut out events, you cut out a mass way to appreciate employees. Corporations don’t realize that employees look forward to these parties; they look forward to unwinding and feeling appreciated. And a happy employee is a better employee.”
Another tip: “People should take away a ‘feeling’ about the (company’s) brand as a result of the event,” said Courtney Feider, founder of Boise marketing firm Adrian + Sabine. “I think the most important thing is to consider differentiating factors and ROI above all else.”
Getting back to that Halloween-candy-soon-to-be-Christmas-tree display: Events are all about timing, says Kathy S. Sodhi, client relationship manager for Thornton Oliver Keller Commercial Real Estate. Besides being able to clinch the perfect venue before it’s all booked up, “scheduling and planning early saves money,” she said.
If you are the lucky one in your office pulling party-planning duty this year, the Idaho Business Review’s 2013-2014 Corporate Guide to Event Planning has tips, advice from professional event planners and an event-planning resource guide that lists event venue possibilities from Taco Bell Arena to The Bored Room at Thomas Hammer Coffee and practically everything in between: special event venues, hotels and restaurants with meeting space, entertainment and catering options.
This year, in addition to the print publication, which was inserted in the Sept. 6 Idaho Business Review and is also available upon request, the event guide is available in digital form on the Idaho Business Review website: http://www.pageturnpro.com/Idaho-Business-Review/53004-Corporate-Guide-to-Event-Planning-2014/index.html.
Editor’s note: The Hilton Garden Inn Boise/ Eagle appears in the digital version of the Idaho Business Review’s 2013-2014 Corporate Guide to Event Planning under “Hotels with Meeting Space” and “Accommodations.”