Mince pies, mulled wine and the Christmas party mean it’s easy to become distracted in the build-up to Christmas. We take a look at some of the things that can go wrong at your Christmas party and how you can avoid making the same mistakes in your business.
When The Christmas Party Goes Wrong
The Christmas Party Festive Fail
Every business has stories of at least one infamous office Christmas party. Most businesses don’t want the details of these events to be published. But employees? Well, they’re not so shy about coming forward. Here are a few quotes from Reddit about festive fiestas gone wrong:
“I saw a coworker complain about a recent assignment, then say, ‘Don’t tell Bruce I was complaining.’ She was talking to her boss, Bruce.”
“Our CEO got drunk and announced that he would be taking the entire company on vacation to Cancun. Ten months later, he did. Yeah, I work for one of ‘those’ startups.”
“This year’s Christmas party was $35 a ticket with no meal included, and everyone was required to bring a secret Santa gift worth at least $25. So that’s $60 to spend time with my coworkers… Yeah…I didn’t end up going.”
The Christmas Party Lesson
It’s likely that the first two tales can be traced back to excessive alcohol consumption. Which makes the moral of these stories not to drink too much at your end-of-year party. Of course, everyone wants to have a good time; just make sure there’s plenty of food to line people’s stomachs. And maybe set a reasonable limit of the firm’s contribution to the bar bill.
The second learn is to ensure that whatever you’re planning for your Christmas do, make sure it’s accessible to the whole team. Many firms contribute a certain amount per head to the cost of a party to ensure everyone can attend regardless of salary.
￼Coca-Cola Makes a Political Blunder
The Festive Fail
At a time when the whole country grinds to a halt, it’s an opportunity for businesses large and small to wish their customers merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Unfortunately for Coca-Cola, back in 2016 they managed to drop a massive Christmas clanger by wishing consumers in Russia and Crimea festive greetings. Which is fine so far. Except they decided to do it using a red and white map depicting one of the most hotly disputed borders in the world.
Cue heated arguing, fury on both sides of the border and a sheepish Coca-Cola who were forced to apologise and replace the map with a new version.
Problem solved? Not really. This simple solution resulted in a new chart that also included Crimea and Kuril Islands – another contested area. After a second deletion and another apology, Coca-Cola decided to call it quits on this campaign.
Pick how you celebrate carefully. The old advice – to avoid politics, religion and sex – is probably good guidance to live by. For businesses who send Christmas cards this might mean avoiding religious imagery or humorous cards that could cause offence.
If your organisation is Christian and all your customers are Christians, then relevant religious imagery will no doubt be fine. But for mixed audiences with different faiths or perspectives, you could be wasting your money. Instead, you could stick to something safer like making a donation instead of sending cards.
Festive Delivery Fails
The Festive Fail
With food such a focal point at Christmas, it’s a major time of year for grocery retailers. Which is why it was such a fail when Ocado (which delivers for Waitrose) didn’t deliver shoppers’ online orders on time. Or at all.
Some customers claimed they’d placed their orders way back in October to ensure they got what they needed for the festive period. Despite charging up to £9.99 for Christmas delivery slots, Ocado failed to deliver the goods. Leaving customers doing a last-minute dash round their local supermarket.
Another company that’s been called out numerous times for their festive fails is FedEx. Their festive faux pas include missing thousands of Christmas delivery dates and one contractor who ditched 435 parcels.
And then there’s one of the most widely-shared FedEx horror shows where a FedEx employee throws a computer monitor over a garden wall.
Ocado put their failed deliveries down to a lack of drivers. Which highlights the importance of getting your workforce planning right in the run-up to Christmas. Particularly if this time of year can make or break your business results.
The FedEx debacles also teach small business owners another valuable lesson. Regardless of whether your workers are employees, contractors or temps, effective training and performance monitoring should still apply.