Should HR Plan the Holiday Party?



It is that time of year. The end-of-year holiday party. And the elephant in the room is who should be in charge. 

I have been an advocate of leaving HR out of the equation even though many believe this is part of HR’s role.

A few years back, I saw a presentation at a SHRM conference where the speaker made a compelling argument that it was strategic for HR to be involved in the planning and coordination of end of year celebrations. Her point of view has stuck with me the past few years, however, I have an adjusted take on the best way to dole out responsibility as well as maintaining harmony in all your respective organizations. 

So, let me present my blueprint on how to best manage this sensitive, but important activity.

An organizational event that brings employees together at the end of the year should be a joyous and important occasion. Everyone should benefit and participate. With that said, I also propose that no one department or person should own the responsibility of oversight. It should be a shared responsibility.

There are several ways to approach management and logistics.

Here are some ideas for all of you to ponder and potentially implement:

The first idea is to have a committee with representatives from your organization. HR can play a role in creating it and then pass the baton. Create an employee working group and let them manage the process.

Next is a shared responsibility model. HR and Marketing can share the responsibility to create a working group and establish roles. Want an example? Here you go. Let’s have participation from folks in your facilities/operations group, finance, marketing, HR, and other departments based on your specific business. HR can be the facilitator. Marketing can influence the ideas and assist with communication about when and where, finance can handle the budget, facilities can manage the locale, and everyone can participate in the actual activity.

Lastly, rotate the responsibility between business functions on an annual basis to manage the entire process. Every function gets to play a role and be an active participant.

All these ideas will have some HR touchpoints, but none put the responsibility squarely on HR’s shoulders. In the end, it is always a business decision.

I did not go into HR to be a party planner and many of you would agree, however, this is an annual event and discussion.

So let's offer some great alternatives that all have beneficial results.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season….




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