Thanks to Bruce, a management revolution has taken place at Joe’s Crab Shack.
Ray Blanchette, President and CEO, Au Bon Pain; President and CEO, Joe's Crab Shack (2007-2015)
Dec 17, 2013

Holiday Parties
Do you like them? Does anyone?

Well, it turns out, yes! We asked our research panel about some common workplace holiday traditions and here’s what we found out:

An overwhelming percentage of respondents from all generations are fans of the office holiday party and would like to have one this year with their current coworkers.

What if the company isn’t meeting its goals – should there still be a party? Most say “Yes.” Although a majority (62%) of the youngest people in the workplace (Generation Z, those born 1990 to 2000) said “No.” The majority of those from other generations said a simple party is fine even if the company is not meeting its goals. According to one respondent, “Holiday parties are about building camaraderie, which is needed even more if business is not meeting goals.”

Among those who like holiday parties, Generation Z is on the same page with the oldest most experienced people (pre-Boomers, born before 1946). While a majority of all generations were in favor of holding them away from the workplace during non-work hours, there was a notable generational split on that question. Boomers were almost equally split on the question, whereas, the oldest and the youngest overwhelmingly prefer a holiday party off site during non work hours.

Those who don’t like office holiday parties are, not surprisingly, very vocal in their opinion that if a party is on the calendar, management should not assume everyone wants to attend. They don’t want to feel pressured to go at all or participate in any planned activities. One respondent said, “Don’t single out those who don’t want to participate. Be respectful of their decision.”

When asked about office party Dos and Don’ts, more than half of the respondents wrote warnings against mixing alcohol with business, “Do not get drunk!” and “Coworkers never forget when an employee slips and drinks too much.” A significant percentage went so far as to say alcohol should be limited by management or not served at all.

The number one office party Do was “Have fun!” So, how? Specifically mentioned again and again was to take this time to get to know people you don’t see every day and to celebrate those you do. “Do connect with somebody you normally wouldn’t talk to at the office” and “Do take time to laugh and appreciate each other” were two of the comments. And while talking business is a big no-no, people would still like to have their efforts acknowledged. “Do provide some positive feedback on something, even if goals haven’t been met. Surely the team did something right.”

“Do celebrate accomplishments – there are always some.”


Holidays in the Workplace: Our
Parties and Gifts Survey Results

Top Three Best Secret Santa Gifts:

  • Gift Cards: Can’t go wrong.
  • (Good) Food: Make it yourself if you’re a good cook, otherwise buy gourmet chocolates.
  • Wine/liquor: Make sure your recipient drinks.

Top Three Worst Secret Santa Gifts:

  • (Bad) Food: fruitcake, really!
  • Office supplies: I can get post-its from supply.
  • Jewelry: You can barely buy jewelry for your spouse, don’t try it for a coworker.



Many thanks to our newsletter subscribers who participated in our Holiday Practices online survey! We have come to realize we should be including more of you in our ongoing research. We are delighted that so many of you took part. Thank you! Double thanks to those of you who agreed to join our online research panel!! As you probably know, our survey research has been ongoing since 1993 and we want more of our newsletter subscribers to participate going forward. If you haven’t joined already, please consider it. Please sign up here and please forgive me if we keep inviting you to join in the regular course of ongoing research. We want to know what you think…….

Thanks again. Have a strong and happy holiday season!



Have You Seen Bruce’s Regular Column in Training Magazine?

Learning Just in Time

September 18, 2013

Motivating Great Employees

July 15, 2013

Back to Basics: What’s missing in the repertoires of 9 out of 10 leaders is consistent practice of the old-fashioned basics of management.

May 16, 2013

Why Training? When it comes to the business of training making the business case for training is key.

April 4, 2013

In Search of “Sticky” Management Training: Creating a command-driven social media system that provides management oversight.

February 22, 2013

Fostering Behavior Change: What are the best practices for creating and delivering training that results in lasting skill and knowledge uptake and permanent behavior change?

February 22, 2013

How to Manage and Compete in the High-tech…

February 1, 2013

From “The Office”

Pam Beesly: You do realize we can’t have liquor at the party.

Michael Scott: Yeah, I know… damnit. Stupid corporate… wet blankets. Like booze ever killed anybody.


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