The Company Holiday Party Gets a Makeover

Maybe company fun shouldn’t be limited to once a year.

As the economy brightens, more corporations will be throwing holiday parties this year—but it’s time to consider changes in corporate culture, according to Nick Gianoulis, founder of The Fun Dept., a consulting and training company.

Business holiday parties are shifting away from expensive traditional events held outside working hours in which employees worry about drinking too much or doing something stupid that could scuttle their careers.

Gianoulis—who began his company after experiencing the enhanced culture and business results of fun during his 20-year corporate management tenure with a company that embraced a work-hard, play-hard culture—explains that holiday parties have shifted away from the once-a-year holiday parties and summertime picnics. Instead, enlightened companies plan frequent and brief fun events throughout the year for a lasting effect.

Gianoulis’s other points about corporate celebration include:

  • More holiday parties are being held during working hours in deference to employees’ busy lives;
  • Attendance at holiday parties after hours has been declining over the last decade;
  • Successful companies such as Zappos, Google and Southwest built fun into their model before they became successful;
  • Observing leaders having fun instantly flattens an organization’s scale; and
  • Fun in the workplace can bridge the generational gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials.