It’s a bit gloomy at the moment, let’s face it, but some of us are always in the mood for a party and we’re open to suggestions.
It seems like only yesterday when if you uttered the word “party”, people looked at you in frozen horror, hurriedly tightened their face masks and withdrew a few extra metres. Unless you worked in Downing Street of course, where the word was pronounced more like “partaaay!” and would be met with yelps of delight; although nervous laughter was more prevalent in the press room.
Now, economic gloom and “declinist language” (as Liz Truss characterised Rishi Sunak’s critique of her tax plans) has replaced Covid as the barrier for getting down and shaking it. Some of us have had heavy colds, however, which meant they couldn’t attend what is surely the greatest party of the season, the Personnel Today Awards, this week.
A lighthearted take on HR
Well, some HR departments are probably a bit out of practice when it comes to organising the annual do, what with everything going on. So, sensing an opportunity, more than a couple of PR agencies have been sending out feelers on behalf of their party planner clients with a few suggestions.
The days of the debauched office party are of course a thing very much of the past, so how about a virtual wine experience to tickle your tastebuds? Party firm Sommsation apparently can organise this with online sommeliers ready to help you select your chosen plonk.
I know what you’re thinking (“Lots of people don’t drink alcohol” – in case you needed it spelling out). But fear not. These sensitive souls will also consider any group members who don’t drink wine, whether it’s for religious or other reasons and can plan things for them to do at the party. We wonder “what are these things?” Pray, perhaps?
The true HR pro will like this part: the sommelier “will help to keep the party going by keeping the conversation flowing and educating the guests about the wine. As a result, people feel closer after attending a virtual wine event holiday party.”
My understanding has always been that wine will achieve this. But Sommsation feels the need to plug into HR thought mode: “Wine is the perfect follow-up to remind guests that they’re still appreciated well into the following year.”
Then, confusingly: “But this isn’t about wine. Holiday parties are about bringing people together. It’s about connecting with coworkers, rewarding employees, and coming together as a team to help strengthen culture.”
Great, drinking wine is about culture! HR has a lot to learn from this approach to employee engagement.
But, sarcasm aside, after yesterday’s grim news on the economy and many companies’ prospects, I’d imagine there might be plenty of interest in a wine party, virtual or face-to-face.