More Employers Will Throw Holiday Parties in 2012

Dec 10, 2012

Alexandria, Va. – Roughly three-quarters of surveyed employers (72 percent) will hold holiday parties in 2012, compared with 68 percent in 2011 and up from 61 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively, according to a poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Only 10 percent of employers said they had to cut back on holiday parties this year due to financial challenges, down from 20 percent in 2009.

The poll also shows that more employers will hold their holiday parties off site (68 percent). Fewer will hold them on-site to save money (seven percent) in 2012 than in previous years. Nearly a quarter of employers will continue their usual practice of holding their parties on site, down slightly from previous years.

“At the height of the recession when employers were operating on very lean budgets, events like holiday parties were among the first to be cut,” said Evren Esen, manager of SHRM’s Survey Research Center. “An increase in this area may be a sign that more organizations are resuming their pre-recession business practices.”

A majority of organizations (61 percent) plan to serve alcohol at their holiday or end-of-year parties. Half of employers (51 percent) will regulate alcohol consumption through methods such as providing drink tickets or a drink maximum (57 percent), serving only certain types of alcohol (42 percent), or having a cash bar (25 percent).

Year-round, a third of organizations (33 percent) have either a formal or informal policy that allows drinking alcohol at work-related events, while slightly more (41 percent) do not. Most employers (90 percent) have not had to discipline employees due to drinking at work-related events in the last 24 months.

Other key findings include:

  • Most employers (74 percent) participate in charitable donations or drives during the holiday season.
  • Nearly a third of organizations (30 percent) give all employees non-performance based bonuses, yet most employers (66 percent) do not offer such bonuses.
  • Over half of employers participate in a holiday activity such as an employee gift exchange or White Elephant — 41 percent within departments, 11 percent company wide, and five percent in both.

For more information about poll findings, visit Follow SHRM’s Research Department on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 260,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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