A Holiday Party to Remember

Is your holiday celebration going to be the same as always or are you ready to start a tradition that is truly the gift that keeps on giving? Are you ready to stand out as the best boss ever? Are you ready to create loyal employees who would never want to work for anyone else?

A couple of years ago, I shared this idea with Heather Ferrari, the most amazing American Family Insurance Regional Manager ever. Last year I shared it with the fantastically dedicated Travis Gensler of Beacon Point Insurance. (See below for their results.) This idea is simple, easy, and incredibly profound.

Step 1:

Before your annual party, get your gifts prepared. The gifts don’t have to be very expensive. It can be as simple as a coffee mug with candy, a t-shirt, a motivational movie, etc. (Hint #1: www.Successories.com has several great gifts for under $10.) If you are not very good at wrapping gifts, then employ the services of someone who can wrap them nicely. (Hint #2: the smaller the gift, the bigger the bow.)

Step 2:

Pre-think and write down positive characteristics/attributes of each person receiving a gift. (Hint #3: you should have a gift for every employee present.) Remember to list things that are controllable by that person, i.e. dedicated, hard-working, always goes above and beyond, punctual, team player, etc.

Step 3:

With gifts in hand, notes about each team member ready, and with all of the spouses/significant others present, you are ready to present. You will give each person their holiday gift and a short statement about why you like being in business with this person.

Step 4:

Call each team member to the front of the room. Thank them for working with you this year. Briefly share with everyone your short statement listing the positive qualities you see in this person and why they are important in your organization. (Hint #4: keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Especially if you have a lot of team members.) (Hint #5: even if there seems to be more to praise about some more than others, please keep the praise as equal in length as possible. This is not the time to make some people feel bad for not living up to expectations. After all, you hired them.)

Both Heather and Travis reported that their team members were profoundly impacted by this public recognition and praise. Both reported tears in the room and joyful smiles all around. Travis’ party included an outside vendor. The vendor was so positively impacted that they went back and started the tradition at their company.

Of course, praising your team and always looking for the best that is in them and verbally recognizing them for it should be a regular event in the workplace. Adding this public praise, especially in front of their peers and spouses/significant others is something that they will not soon forget and will make this holiday party one for the books.

After trying your new holiday party tradition, please post your results below. We would love to hear them!

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