The first company that I worked for spent $4,000 on the annual Christmas party. It was usually enjoyable and posh, but forgettable. It was forgettable was because it was usually held at a nice restaurant and it rarely brought out people’s jovial side. They were reserved, ate their meal, had a few nice conversations then left. No personality. Just the same old thing you can get at any company Christmas party. We should have had it at the office with all of us bringing a dish – a little pot luck to create a friendlier work environment. We would have spent virtually no money and we could have used that $4,000 to create a fun work environment throughout the rest of the year.
Let's pretend that we stopped spending money on a boring Christmas party and we could use that $4,000 to create 12 parties a year. If we divide the budget by 12 we'd have $333.33 per month. We can use that $333.33 to celebrate the end of each successful month. Your company might have less or more depending on its size, so take whatever you spend on your Christmas party divide it by 12, and that’s your monthly budget.
In this article I will give you 12 ideas that you can use to celebrate the end of each month. They should get the employees talking and stimulate their interaction with each other. They will probably tell their family and friends about this new concept and your company may get a few good resumes from the positive publicity.
You may want to implement these ideas all day long, during lunch, or direct the phones toward the answering service one hour before closing, so all the employees have time to interact with each other. The key is to get as many employees as possible together so they can hang out. At the beginning of each month you should always let them know what the end of the month celebration will be to create anticipation.
Your company may be too small or big for these ideas, so you’ll have to do some creative adjustment. If you’re a large corporation you may want to separate the celebration by department, or if you are a small company you may want to scale down the celebration to fit your size. I would be glad to help you personalize these ideas to fit your company if you want to contact me here.
January – Pizza Bash
Most people love Pizza and why shouldn’t they? It’s perfect for a group of people to hang out and eat. You may have some money left over, so buy some silly party favors or games that get people moving and making noise. A loud group stimulates interaction.
February – Thank You so Much
Buy small thank you cards and distribute them to your employees. I suggest that you give them five cards each. If you only have ten people in your organization then only give each person two thank you cards. Assign every employee one co-worker that they must write a thank you for and allow them to use the other four cards for whoever they want to send a card to then have them distribute them by inner office mail. You can also split this up by department because accounting may not know anyone in sales and vice versa. In this case have a small group gather the cards and distribute them to the employees. With the money that is left over you can buy a few snacks and keep them in the lunchroom for any hungry employees. At the end of the month you can have a small “awards ceremony” to recognize all of the “thank-yous” on behalf of the company.
March – Cupcakes and Caffeine
Supply cupcakes and caffeine (coffee and Soda) to everyone in the company. There is nothing like a good sugar and caffeine rush to stimulate the crowd. You will probably want to do this in the morning or for lunch, so as not to throw people off their routine.
April – Small Token of Appreciation
Divide the money that your company would spend during the month of April’s celebration by the number of employees and purchase something that everyone can use. It might be a Visa gift card or a framed photograph of everyone in the company. It's important that everyone gets the same thing, otherwise people get jealous and this will create division instead of teamwork.
May – Charity Giveaway
Everyone in the company picks a local charity to donate the money to, then someone posts it on the intranet or sends an email out to everyone. Every employee must vote by the end of the month. The winning charity gets all the money. This is also good PR, which is great for the company's website, but that’s just an added bonus.
June – Raffle Off the Money
Create three prizes of things that the employees would like or three gift cards and raffle them off to your employees. Make sure everyone gathers in the room, so the tension builds and everybody shares in on the fun.
July – Water Gun Battle
Send everyone outside and have a water gun battle. Depending on your budget you may want to buy towels, preferably with your logo on them so people don’t go back to work or home all wet. You should make sure that people who don’t want to participate don’t have to, but try to encourage them to join in. The more silliness the more laughter. This creates memories.
August – Pool Party
Rent out a pool or have the pool party at someone’s house. Provide snacks and tell people to bring their own drinks and food. If your company is too large or can’t afford a pool then alter the party to the theme of cool off and have fun. You can give everyone little fans and buy ice cream with all the toppings.
September – Musician to Play During Lunch
Hire a professional musician to play during lunch. Live music is always a treat for people because they can just sit back and relax.
October – Employee’s Choice
Ask the employees what they would like to do with the $333 and the person with the best suggestion gets to pick two co-workers to help them bring their ideas to life. Give them a Visa Gift Card with the money on it or the cash. Remind them to keep the receipts so you can keep track of what they do with the money.
November – Karaoke
Karaoke might not be a perfect fit for your company, but you’ll definitely get people interacting and joking with each other.
December – Pot Luck Holiday Party
Get people together by having them cook a dish and the company will supply the rest of the entertainment and supplies. You’ll be surprised that when you have a pot luck your company will really create a family atmosphere. The employees will be more relaxed and willing to have fun.
Be consistent with your monthly celebrations. Consistency is the most important part to this plan. When you start skipping months and just telling yourself that you’ll create a better party next month, you are falling into the trap of throwing money into a bigger party instead of creating a consistently fun environment.
Always gather people together so the employees can hang out and learn about each other. People who know each other treat each other like family. They may yell at each other during a heated meeting, but they are also more likely to forgive each other.
No matter how much they make fun of the monthly parties, don't stop doing them because everyone likes to complain. It's the nature of a crowd. A monthly celebration will create a reminder that the company wants to create a fun work environment no matter how stressful things become.
Do you think your company would implement a monthly celebration?