SURVEY SAYS Workplace Holiday Parties

PLANSPONSOR NewsDash readers share their opinions about holiday and other options.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “What do you think of workplace holiday parties?” I also asked, “Is there something else you’d rather your employer do instead?”

Nearly six in 10 responding (57.9%) readers said their company hosts a holiday party every year, while 42.1% said their company does not.

More than one-third indicated they feel holiday parties are a somewhat of a reward and morale booster, while 10.5% said they definitely are, and 21% said they are not. Twenty-nine percent indicated company holiday parties are a morale booster but not a reward, and 2.6% said they are a reward but not a morale booster.

Asked what they would rather their employer do for the holidays, other than a holiday party, 43.2% chose “give employees bonuses,” while 32.4% selected “give an extra day off.” Only 5.4% said give employees gifts, and 8.1% said they’d rather their company host an employee gift exchange. Nearly two in 10 (18.9%) chose “bring in food to the office,” and 13.5% indicated there’s nothing they’d rather their employer do. Several responding readers who chose “other” said companies should offer a budget for separate departments or teams to do their own activity. Donate funds to charity and “almost anything” were also listed.

In verbatim comments, a few responding readers shared what their company does for its holiday party; several expressed how much they enjoy it. Others said the socializing is awkward for them, or warned about how certain behavior can get out of hand. There’s no Editor’s Choice this week.

A big thank you to all who participated in our survey!


We’re a large company but still have a holiday party at a large hotel, with a program where significant promotions are announced and there’s a buffet dinner. We also receive a gift from the president & CEO. It’s great!

It is always difficult to reach all employees for a specific holiday event when the organization is open 24/7. Someone will always feel left out.

Just give me the money instead of the forced socializing

No holiday party where I work now. I’m just as happy without it. I feel that most employees would prefer some additional time off—even an afternoon—to help them find time for all the things that need to be done during this busy time of year. Also cheaper for the employer and avoids liability issues associated with excessive alcohol consumption.

Just be careful you don’t do something stupid that could damage your career.

They are dull beyond words, because people are “networking” and brown nosing rather than relaxing and having a good time. Need to keep up their personal brands. 🙂


I’m an introvert who would rather have dentistry without Novocaine than go to a company-sponsored holiday party.

We have offices all over the U.S., so one holiday party is not practical. Each office can do as they wish, and ours generally does a lunch on a Friday and take the rest of the day off.

The larger the party, the more political it becomes between cliques, power-plays, and similar social constructs. Having smaller (department-sized or smaller) parties are far more effective and actually give co-workers a better chance to gel outside of the office.

No. Just say “No.”

I have attended lavish and expensive parties and the cheapest (sharing a ham). And extra day or even a couple of hours off would be most appreciated.

Should be used to celebrate the diversity of the holiday season and not be limited to Christmas celebrations.

We use to have a holiday party, but as we grew it became too difficult and the stories of the inappropriate behavior at said parties are the reasons we don’t have one anymore. Now each department does their own thing, but it would be nice if the company actually gave us a budget to fund it, instead of everyone chipping in.

Holiday parties are a great time to socialize with co-workers outside of work. For large organizations, it is also an opportunity to get to know employees who you do not work directly with. Lastly, it is nice to get to know the spouses too. We look forward to our holiday party every year.

Our holiday party comes at the end of a busy season. Everyone is ready to eat well, have a few drinks, dance and blow off some steam! It always feels like a great celebration.

While it is an extremely nice gesture for the company to provide a holiday party (they could just as easily eliminate it and save several thousand dollars), it is during the week and employees only attend and can cause more stress than necessary. I guess it is all in how you view it.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.