Archive for October, 2010

Too Party or Not To Party?

October 14, 2010

It seems every other employee you talk to is NOT looking forward to the Holiday Season this year. Well, at least not in the office. As many companies faced what will undoubtedly go down as one of the most challenging 24 months in history, its seems the Office Holiday party is dead. But it seems to have been killed by those unaware of the importance of non-work oriented office gatherings to build camaraderie. AKA: the people that think Organizational Communication is important only when times are good and then wonder why morale is down JUST WHEN companies need employees to push the extra mile.

The office party is not a “fete” as we say in the Caribbean. It is more than a social gathering. It is an opportunity for colleagues to see each other in different lights – to realize that these “creeps” you “slave with” daily actually do have lives and reasons for working beyond simply to torture their colleagues. In these holiday events, we are often FORCED into non work conversation and, guess what? That’s a VERY important aspect to team building. Conversations like about children, camping, vacation, holiday plans, family traditions, retirement plans, traffic, house hunting, changes at home/government/store locations, shopping and gosh darn it even convos about how awful holiday parties are help employees LEARN ABOUT EACH OTHER. The more we know about each other, the more effectively we communicate. Our shared experiences improve communication (Schramm, 1955 – shared experience model). Improved communication = improved efficiency. Improved communication can equal happier employees. As the happy cow theory teaches us, all animals produce more when they are happy.

So, what if as a communicator you are faced with a company that has already cancelled their holiday gathering? Wake up light spark! It’s time to prove your worth! Organize an “in office” celebration – hell it could be a pot luck breakfast where everyone makes a dish. Or contact a local restaurant or bar to arrange an open bar for a cost and ask people if they are willing to have an unofficial celebration. Remember, organizational communication IS YOUR JOB (or WOK – as we say in the Caribbean). If the leaders don’t see the importance of a holiday gathering (or, maybe actually just can’t afford this year), work with your colleagues to make one happen – employee style!

Good luck Communopeeps! Oh and for those of you wondering why we are talking holidays so far from Hanukkah, Divali or Christmas – Communicators need to act early to make things happen. Most holiday parties are planned in the 2nd quarter of the year! 🙂