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Save the Holiday Party!

holiday We face many important issues in the coming months and years. So we decided to start a movement – to save the holiday party!

Okay, maybe that’s not the most important thing we could address, but we still think that many business owners are making a bigg mistake by eliminating this annual tradition.

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A recent survey by executive search firm Battalia Winston found that fewer firms plan to host a holiday party for their employees this year. In fact, it’s the lowest number in the twenty year history of the study. The primary reason cited is the poor economy.

We think this sends the wrong message. Leaders who portray gloom and doom create an environment of uncertainty. It scares people. People today are looking for signs of reassurance, not signals of impending disaster.

Holiday parties aren’t just about having a party. They’re a great opportunity to show your appreciation to your people. They can help build your team by getting together without the pressure of work. Yet people inevitably talk about work, recalling fun times together from the past year. This builds a sense of comradery which helps get things done at work.

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If last year’s party is beyond this year’s budget, get creative. There are ways to keep the party without busting the bank. Here are some thoughts:

Look for deals

With more companies cutting back, you might be surprised to learn that facilities are more aggressive in pricing deals for those people who still plan to hold an event. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Keep it on site

If you can’t find a good deal, consider having it on site if your facility will accommodate it. Then look for a good deal on catering. You might find that catering firms offer a good alternative since they’re not paying for the overhead of a facility.

Go potluck

If that’s still too expensive, have a potluck. Ask your employees to bring a dish. Consider making it a day-long event. People can “graze” and chat. Just for one day, accept a more relaxed environment full of impromptu conversations.

Make it fun

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marylynnSanta visited us at a radio station I worked at. The employees brought their kids in to tell him what they wanted. It was a lot of fun – all for the price of renting a Santa suit since our General Manager played Santa.

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There are many other ways to make it an event, even if it doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional holiday party. Give out awards. Have an employee who’s into such things produce a fun video or audio.

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marylynnAt one radio station, our production manager put together a fun audio of all of our commercial outtakes. As the disc jockeys recorded commercials, he kept the bloopers and played them at our annual holiday get-together. It was so funny!

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georgeWe gave out gag gifts at one of the companies I owned. They reflected something that an employee had done over the past year that made people laugh. It brought up the joke again and everybody loved it.

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Hold it after the New Year

A number of companies are turning their “holiday” party into an “annual” party. Instead of competing for space during the busy holiday season, they hold it after the New Year. A lot of people really like this because we’re all so busy at the end of the year.

We have friends who turned their annual holiday party into “Christmas in July.” We were fortunate enough to get invited. They had a Christmas tree and played holiday music. It made for a fun evening.

If you do end up doing something different, don’t present it as just the result of budget cutbacks. Tell your people that you want to try something different. Get them involved in finding a good solution.

What do you think? Does canceling the holiday party send the wrong message to your people? What are you doing this year for your people?

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00259-110608.mp3

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Couples Today are Rethinking Traditional Roles

By Bigg Success Staff
07-15-08

Work – Life Balance

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If you’re half of a dual-income couple with kids, working out your work – life balance involves negotiating at home and at work. First, you and your spouse need to discuss how household duties as well as child care responsibilities will be divvied up. Who does what when?

The best solution is what works best for you, not what society has traditionally expected. If it works for the two of you and your family, it works!

Redefining roles

According to the Council on Contemporary Families, working couples have seen some significant change in responsibilities over the last 30 years. Men are assuming more duties at home and with the children.

This evolution has been a logical response. If a woman has greater career potential than a man, it may make sense for the man to shoulder more family duties. This is now the case about one-third of the time.

So if a couple decides that’s the best trek for them, the next step involves negotiating at work. For men, this can be difficult because society still often regards household chores and child-rearing as the woman’s role.

Pay vs. flexibility

One of the most effective ways to get the flexibility you need is during a review. Especially if your employer is not able to offer you the pay raise you feel you deserve. Perhaps you can negotiate greater flexibility in lieu of the full pay raise you might like.

Balance your costs with your gains. You may not make as much money as you like, but you may also lower your costs. You can spend more time with your kids rather than paying someone else to do it. That difference may almost offset the lower pay raise.

Pay vs. telecommuting

A question to ask yourself (and your boss) is – can you do more work from home? Save both the time and money of commuting. With today’s high gas prices, you’ll save a lot of money. It doesn’t even have to be every day. Any day you don’t have to drive is a plus.

Once again, it may be best to bring this item up as part of a discussion of pay raises. Perhaps a concession to accepting less of a pay raise is to let you telecommute at least some of the time. You can quickly figure out if your savings equals what you had hoped to earn in additional income. And don’t forget – more income gets taxed, saving money on fuel doesn’t. So compare the after-tax income to the savings from not driving as much.

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Who Should Stay-at-Home with the Kids – Dad or Mom?

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Who Should Stay-at-Home with the Kids – Dad or Mom?

By Bigg Success Staff
06-11-08

Work – Life Balance

dad

Young couples often both work to make ends meet. Once children enter the scene, many couples decide that one of them should stay-at-home and raise the kids.

More and more of these couples are bucking tradition. There’s an increasing trend toward "dad" being the one to stay-at-home rather than "mom". According to the United States Census Bureau, there were 143,000 stay-at-home dads in 2005 compared to 98,000 in 2003.

Assuming you decide that one of you should stay-at-home, how do you logically decide which one it should be? Here are 4 questions to ask:

Can either of you work from home?
If one of you can work from home, this makes the decision easier. That doesn’t necessarily make getting the work done easier! If you can work at home, you may be able to juggle family duties and work duties, particularly as your kids get older.

Who makes the most money now?

It makes sense for the person who is earning the most money to keep working while the other person stays at home. Don’t look at just actual pay, though. You should also consider health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits.

Who has the best chance for advancement?

It’s possible that one of you makes more money now, but the other spouse is primed for take-off. You should consider the longer term in addition to today. If one spouse’s pay will greatly outpace the other, you should factor that into the equation.

Who will be affected least by an extended leave?

With some careers, you can pick up right where you left off. With others, you may practically have to start over. Look to other people who have reentered the work force in your career as models of what you might expect yourself.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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