Why This Year Will Have the Lowest Number of Holiday Parties

Despite the recovered economy, holiday parties aren't top-of-mind for companies.
By: | November 21, 2018 • 2 min read

Do you plan on throwing any holiday ragers this year? According to research from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 65 percent of companies plan to host a holiday party, the lowest percentage since 2009 (at 62 percent). The global outplacement consultancy has been conducting a holiday survey for more than a decade and finds this year’s results to be less than joyous.

This year, approximately 27 percent of companies said they never throw holiday parties … last year only 11 percent said the same.

“The low number of corporate celebrations does not appear to be due to economic reasons. Companies are sitting on tax savings and generally report a thriving economy,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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He added that in the years since they’ve conducted this survey, they’ve never seen so many companies report that they never have holiday parties.

“The number could be due to several factors, including potential liability following the #MeToo movement,” he said.

Among the companies that plan on having a party, more than half (58 percent) have either already addressed or plan to address unacceptable behaviors in the wake of #Metoo. Nearly 40 percent, however, have no plans to address it.

“Other reasons for fewer holiday parties could include that a company’s workforce is primarily remote and it’s too difficult to gather for a holiday party, or perhaps companies are having parties at other times of the year,” said Challenger. “However, the fact that nearly 60 percent of companies that are having parties have real concerns about inappropriate behavior shows that HR departments nationwide are responding to this particular issue.

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The response to these concerns may be eliminating the party altogether, he added.

Of the companies planning to host parties, nearly a quarter plan to increase the budget, and more than one-third will have it on-site. Fewer than half will serve alcohol (48.5 percent) and only 30 percent will allow their employees to invite a partner or family.

“The holiday party should be a time to celebrate the accomplishments of your workers as well as unite and gather as a team,” said Challenger. “Hopefully, for companies that are not having holiday get-togethers this year, they have other ways to recognize their people, so crucial to building morale and a positive culture.”

Danielle Westermann King, staff writer for HRE, received her bachelor’s degree in English from Temple University. She has written and edited articles for various print and online healthcare publications and is now setting her sights on human resources. She can be reached at [email protected]

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