Holiday party after layoffs?

Hi -- As many other employers did, we had to conduct some layoffs this year. This is the time of year we generally start planning our company's holiday party. The topic of whether we should have a party at all has been raised-- that basically we shouldn't be spending money on a party if we couldn't "afford" to keep the individuals we laid off. We're still undecided.

Is anyone else having a similar internal debate when it comes to holiday party planning?


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  • Hi!

    We did not have any financially-driven layoffs last year, but we did decrease raises and eliminate bonuses and as a result, had the same hesitations you are experiencing now.  We decided to pare back our party, held it in house rather than the usual hotel ballroom, and spent about half as much money as a result.  Of course there were grumblers, but for the most part our employees appreciated the effort we made to celebrate without breaking the budget.  Good luck with your planning!

  • Good question!  Now I'm wondering about this myself.  From a morale standpoint, it would be nice to go "business as usual" but I agree...we have been tightening out belts so much around here every which way we can, only to have laid off a handful of people.  I'm thinking when it does come up, I might just suggest that we do a potluck so we can still have a nice party but everyone contributes as they see fit.
  • We gave this a lot of thought also.  We had some layoffs in April and we froze the salaries of the existing employees.  We decided to go ahead with a scaled down version of our Christmas Party.  We have sent out a "hold the date" to the employees and so far we haven't had any negative comments.  I'm sure we will be hearing from the nay sayers as it gets closer to the date.
  • We have not had any layoffs but we did freeze salaries (and bonuses), limit the amount of pay increases to 2% for hourly employees, and stopped the 401k match.  As a management team decided not to have a holiday party because we felt like it would send the wrong message.  We are still going to give out our annual awards and service awards but during a regularly scheduled quarterly meeting.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • My response would have been similar to LauLan's except that our experience was in 2004 when we had layoff's mid-summer.  By December we felt as though we wouldn't send the wrong message by holding something but we did scale back, had a lunch event at a local restaurant that opened for us (and gave us a good deal) rather than a big blowout catered affair at night.  We've continued it since, and appreciate the modest event that doesn't require so much of our time for planning, overseeing and cleaning up.
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