Executive Search Firm’s Study Reflects Economic Improvements
New York, NY – December 11, 2012 More companies will revisit their tradition of holding holiday parties this year, according to the 24th annual survey of corporate America’s holiday party plans conducted by Battalia Winston, a leading global executive search firm.
An astounding 91 percent of the companies polled will have parties this year, up from 74 percent in 2011, 79 percent in 2010, 81 percent in 2009, 81 percent in 2008 and 85 percent in 2007.
Holiday parties were held by 95 percent of companies in 1988, the first year of the survey, and an all-time high of 97 percent was recorded in 1996 and in 1997, all years when the economy was robust.
“From the beginning the study has been a reliable barometer of both prevailing economic conditions and corporate confidence,” said Dale Winston, Battalia Winston’s Chairwoman and CEO.
“Despite the challenging economic environment, it seems that companies are moving back to a state of normality,” said Winston. “Parties are still the last vestige of company sociability.”
2012 Survey Findings:
• Who is partying? We surveyed 105 companies and saw a significant increase in comparison to last year’s results (in 2011, 74 percent of companies hosted parties). This year, 96 out of 105 (91% of companies polled) will have some kind of holiday party.
• Why have a party? Nearly half (42 percent) are doing so to build employee morale, while about a third (33 percent) are holding a party to celebrate 2012 as a good year and 7 percent to show employees and clients that they are optimistic about next year. 18 percent of companies selected “other”, and the breakdown for “other” is as follows: 10 percent are hosting parties because of tradition, 4 percent are hosting parties simply because they like to, 3 percent say it’s just “the right thing to do”, and 1 percent are doing so to honor their retirees.
• Why no party? Of the 9 percent of companies not holding a holiday party this year, 1/3 (33.33 percent) said they had employees in several different locations, 1/3 (33.33 percent) said their employees were simply not that interested in attending corporate parties and 1/3 (33.33 percent) will give their employees something else in lieu of a party (2 days off, destination trip, etc.)
• Who will be invited? More than half (64 percent – 1 percent will include retirees) of the parties will be for employees only, while 29 percent will be held for both employees and their families (1 percent will allow the employees spouses only) and 7 percent will host employees, their families and friends of the firm.
• The budget: Conservatism still rules; 100 percent of surveyed companies said that their party will be the same as previous years – as opposed to more modest or more lavish.
• When and where? Of the companies holding parties, slightly more than 1/3 (34 percent) will be held in the evening, 43 percent will be held at lunch and 14 percent selected “other”. Some companies indicated what their “other” entails: a 4-day trip, brunch, weekend trip to Vegas, company children’s party, afternoon party and the choice of a $100 gift card or one day off. Nearly half (40 percent) of the celebrations will be held in a restaurant, 29 percent at the office, 17 percent at a hotel and 14 percent selected other (20 percent will be a surprise, 20 percent will be in a “remote break area”, 40 percent will be in an external location/functional space and 20 percent will be at a country club.
• Drink up — if you can: Drinks will be served at most (79 percent) of the parties, but nearly one-in-four (21 percent) will be alcohol-free.
• Holiday charity efforts: While about half (51 percent) of the companies are donating money or goods (up from 39 percent last year, 47 percent in 2010, 66 percent in 2009, and 74 percent in 2008), employees at 16 percent of the firms will be doing volunteer work. 28 percent of the companies are not involved in holiday charitable activities. Some of these activities include Toys for Tots, Blood Drives, etc. 5 percent indicated other charity efforts will be made, such as sending holiday cards and matching funds.
• Employee morale: A majority (69 percent) of the companies are taking steps to boost employee morale for the year to come (e.g. flexible work schedules, performance incentives, pay raises, team building/training, etc.), leaving only 12 percent of companies that have no such plans. 19 percent were unsure. Last year, almost half (48 percent) of the respondents planned morale boosting actions, which is a 43.75 percent increase.
The survey also asked, “How do you expect your company to perform in 2013?” A majority of companies (66 percent) report they are on track to grow and hire; 24 percent anticipate staying the same and 10 percent are uncertain. None of the surveyed companies are expecting or planning to consolidate. Last year (2011), only 48 percent of companies were on track to grow and hire.
Has optimism replaced much of last year’s caution? “We believe this year’s increase in holiday parties reflects stabilization as opposed to a positive outlook for 2013,” said Winston. “Boosting employee morale is also a driver in the increase of holiday parties.”
The 2012 Battalia Winston nationwide survey was conducted among a cross-section of 105 companies.
About Battalia Winston:
Battalia Winston has been successfully meeting client needs in executive recruitment for almost 50 years and is currently ranked as one of the nation’s 12 largest retained executive search firms, as well as one of the world’s largest woman-owned search firms. Headquartered in New York City, the firm also has offices in New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Battalia Winston is an agile and uniquely flexible firm and their culture is focused on providing highly personalized, responsive client service.