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What Really Counts as Employee Appreciation?

by Contributing Writer,  Johanna Goossens

The holidays are right around the corner and we are all thinking about parties. So this poses the question, what are we going to do for the company party? In the midst of a still troubled economy and cut backs, employees know they are lucky to have a job.

There is no need to turn the festivities into a work-is-wonderful sales pitch or a stodgy, sad affair. The holiday party should be about appreciating the people that spend all year making your company successful.

Here are some great ideas about how to keep your employees engaged and feeling appreciated.

1) Consider having your employee appreciation during working hours. We get that a business needs to capitalize on productivity, but it sure would lift spirits if one day or one afternoon was dedicated to making your people feel special and playing work-hooky. That alone is a gift.

During the holidays everyone has 50 different parties to attend and obligations to meet. Overall, when choosing where to spend their leisure hours, most employees, no matter how dedicated, will prefer to spend time with their friends and loved ones. Not their boss or their colleagues.

2) Think locally for your holiday party. People like to be a part of their community and we live in a great one! Plan your event close to home or work. Going to a big fancy place 50 miles from where the general population of your guests live can be a bit draining. Think about all the great country clubs, restaurants and venues we have right here in Prince William County.

3) While thinking about your community, choose a charity to champion. If there is a local charity that your company already helps or one you think that you and your employees would benefit. Good deed are great for the soul and company morale. I highly recommend this being done in conjunction with a “fun” event. For example, spend the morning helping the local food pantry and then reward the group with a relaxed and festive “cocktail hour” at a local restaurant.

4) Think fun. Your employees would love to feel like there is joy emanating from the company they work at. Sit down dinners can be great, but consider an event with heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Activities really help bring levity to an event and the White Elephant gift exchange has been done many times. Other ideas include a group trivia challenge, Scavenger Hunt or a Murder Mystery event. These will engage even the most solemn employee.

Johanna Goossens is the owner and president of Simplicity Events by Johanna, planning both corporate and social events in Northern Virginia.  With over 15 years in the Hospitality and Event industries, Johanna brings a wealth of logistical knowledge and creative flair each event.  She is a member of several local organizations, a CTA with the Journey Through Hallowed Grounds, a member of the Prince William Chamber and a Board Member with the HGBA.  In her free time, she spends time with her family, loves to cook and as a “transplant” to the area, loves to explore VA.  www.johannagoossens.com

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