- More companies (76%) plan to celebrate the holidays with office parties this year, the largest number since 2016, a Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey showed. Plans for employer-sponsored parties rose 10% in 2019, following a three-year decline.
- The survey found that despite their confidence in the economy weakening this year, companies are extending party invitations to include employees' partners and families, with 47% planning to invite family members and spouses, compared with 30% doing the same in 2018.
- "Companies are ready to celebrate this year after a low-key 2018. It doesn't appear that companies are holding the lavish parties of the 1980s and 1990s, and post-Great Recession, and even post-#MeToo, those days may be long gone," Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, said in a press release.
The office holiday party is, for the most part, an annual tribute to employees for their contributions during the year. But these yearly events can bring on misconduct, especially when alcohol is served. In fact, Challenger last year attributed the decline in holiday parties to awareness and wariness generated by the #MeToo movement.
"Holiday parties — when they're after hours, when there's alcohol flowing — they seem to be a recipe for inappropriate behavior," Challenger previously told HR Dive. "We know it's on HR's minds. In a lot of ways, the HR team and department is in charge of creating a safe environment for their employees."
Companies may be less worried about the #MeToo movement specifically, but they still need to make sure misconduct doesn't mar the annual celebrations. This concern extends to more occasions than the winter-based holidays. Halloween, for example, is more than capable of providing employees an opportunity to misbehave.
Of course, employers can find other ways to commend workers for their contributions. In fact, the majority of employees in a Deloitte survey released in June said that they would prefer to be recognized for their daily accomplishments with just a written or verbal thank you.