… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Reflections on Holiday events of old

I have spent many a year planning and coordinating holiday and associate appreciation events. I’m good at event planning and it’s mostly something I enjoy. It’s nice to see your hard work pay off in such a tangible way and it’s a good creative outlet. Additionally, you can learn a lot from it, both bad and good.

Here are some notable lessons I have learned over time:

1. You will never please everyone. Just accept it now and you won’t be as disappointed later. Notice how I said “as disappointed”. It still hurts a little to hear people complain after all your hard work.

2. No one understands how much work it actually takes. I’ve had associates say tell me they wish they had my job, I get to have so much fun. Yes, fun. All those 10 hour days, early mornings, expense reports, etc. were so much fun I could barely contain myself. I’m not saying it’s not fun at times, but that does not mean it’s easy.

3. Don’t assume participation, you will have to sell it. I’ve had to develop a lot of ways to persuade, cajole, shame, and browbeat associates to participate in these events. It does not matter if it’s a boat cruise on the lake, a mini golf tournament, or a semi-formal party at a hotel, you can’t assume people will participate just because it’ll be fun or in their best interests to go. Sometimes you have to twist a few arms.

4. Employees only do themselves a disservice by not participating. Office events should never be mandatory, but you should at least make an appearance. Not only do people like me appreciate it after all our hard work, but it demonstrates that you are at least invested enough in the company to participate. You can also network, have fun, or just get to see a side of your co-workers you never see at work.

5. Always solicit employee feedback. Many an idea that sounded great in my head failed to impress others. Don’t let event planning be a one person or even one committee show. If you never ask associates what they want, how can you be sure your events are appropriate for the culture?

6. Whenever possible, delegate. Do I want to serve food? No, that’s why I have it catered or encourage management to get out there and “connect” to their employees. Do I want to put together all the gift bags? No, that’s why I am so nice and friendly to the admin staff (it’s not the only reason). I may be a minion, but I’m not stupid. There are a lot of annoying tasks that come with event planning and if I don’t want to get stuck doing them all, I need to be strategic about how I set the event up.

7. Roll with the problems and always have back-ups. Nothing will go perfectly. Things will get misplaced, people won’t show up, and food will be spilled. The better prepared and flexible you are, the easier a time you will have overcoming problems. The best events are the ones where everyone thinks the mistakes were part of the plan from the start.

In the end, remember to breathe and make sure you let yourself have some fun as well.

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