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10 Rules of Fight Club...Otherwise Known as the Christmas Party

As a business owner, I totally understand how the Christmas Party can quickly turn into your worst nightmare! I mean, nothing could possible go wrong when you get a bunch of recruiters together that love to party…

With many years of Christmas partying under my belt, here are my 10 golden rules for a successful recruitment Christmas party…

1. Don’t Start Too Early

Drinks before 11am? Not a good idea. I’m all for knocking off early and encouraging everyone to share some cocktails but the aim here is to actually get everyone to the party!

There have been occasions where the non-Glaswegian employees found out the hard way just how much born and bred Glaswegians can drink, and still manage to string coherent sentences together. Yes, it truly is a skill! But for the benefit of everyone, don’t start things too early as sitting beside a drooling colleague is certainly not pretty and just embarrassing for them come Monday…

2. Get Someone Else to Organise It

Shockingly, your idea of fun may not be the same as your employees! Yip, that 5-star restaurant experience with champagne to wash it down after a totally banging year… lost its sparkle when my employees confessed (after being wined and dined!) that lots of beer and a well stacked burger at the local pub would have been much better!

The lesson? Delegate! Let an employee coordinate the evening based on what their colleagues would like. 

3. Prepare A Few Words 

The only serious thing that I do recommend is a speech. Christmas and New Year are a time for reflection and everyone expects a few words from their leader. You know the stuff; what’s worked, what could have been better, and the exciting plans for the coming year.

Keep it short, upbeat, and focused on your employee’s successes. I always finish this up by announcing the ‘Fish of the Year’.  Everyone at Firefish votes on the employee that lives our values and has gone above and beyond for our customers. Everyone is genuinely excited to hear about who has won their colleagues’ hearts and minds. It is quite rightly a big deal and one that deserves to be done early in the evening when you have everyone’s attention.

4. Start Traditions

Mixed feelings about ‘organised fun?’ Yip, me too. But in a big group of people that don’t know each other well it’s a good icebreaker. Jumble everyone up and encourage people to socialise with colleagues they might not normally talk to. Secret Santa, the office Quiz, or an award for the best Xmas jumper can create little traditions and amusing stories to be shared for days after.

5. Book Enough Taxis!

AAGGGGHH… the most stressful part of the evening if you are going from one place to the next! Every year you get let down so book double the amount of taxis and hope that the right ones turn up and keep the party rocking… You don’t want to leave anyone behind!

6. The Seating Plan…

Okay don’t worry I am not suggesting you have one… but if you can see that somehow Employee A has landed a spot beside Employee B... and well let’s face it they don’t always see eye to eye, it’s time to sober up, kick in to gear and figure out a way to mix the tables or seats up for the benefit of all.

7. Turn Water Into Wine

Well, not literally. But make sure there are enough bottles of wine and fizz to go around, and keep them coming too BUT when the third or fourth round of shots arrives, draw a line - the party’s in their hands now!

8. Be Sober Enough to Pay the Bill

Never a good sign if you are too drunk to pay the bill and definitely not good practice to make someone else pay for it and say just get a receipt!

9. The Witching Hour

Yip, it will happen and generally around 11 – 12pm. Now if you have been good as Santa says hopefully all the ‘employee chats’ that start around this time will be positive. It’s a time that employees tend to want to tell you that they ‘love you and they love working for your company’ but be warned, it might be a grumble… My rule these days is to drink early, encourage a fun atmosphere, and then start sobering up from 10pm onwards so I am on my game and ready for the Witching Hour…

10. Taxi For...

Lastly, make sure everyone gets home okay, or at least ensure there’s someone semi responsible left standing to lead the party on after you depart. Keep an eye on anyone ‘in need’ of assistance during the evening and if you do indeed ‘need to’ assist them to exit the building you can! Actually put them in the taxi and pay the taxi man to take them home. Otherwise they may surprise you by boomeranging back in to the party!

So if you’ve got your night still to come, stay safe, enjoy yourself, and make sure everyone has an excellent time!


About the author: Wendy McDougall is the CEO of Firefish Software. With just under 20 years experience in the recruitment industry, Wendy is on a mission to inspire the next generation of recruiters and help challenge the traditional recruitment agency model of doing things. In her spare time, you’ll find her enjoying some down time with the family, playing squash and feeding her inner geek with all the latest technology!