SHRM Poll: One-Fifth of Employers Cancel Holiday Parties Due to Economy

Dec 1, 2009

SHRM Poll: One-Fifth of Employers Cancel Holiday Parties Due to Economy

Small and medium-sized organizations are more likely than large ones to hold holiday parties

Alexandria, Va., – One in five surveyed employers will not hold a holiday/end-of-year party in 2009 due to economic cutbacks, according to a poll released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The majority of organizations (61 percent) still plan to hold an office holiday party for employees, SHRM’s Holiday Party and 2010 Holidays Organizations Plan to Observe Poll” found. Small (72 percent) and medium-sized (67 percent) organizations were more likely than large-sized organizations (48 percent) to hold 2009 end-of-year/ holiday parties.

“Employers recognize the role of holiday parties in boosting employee morale, especially during a tough economy, when it is more important than ever to acknowledge and reward employees with a holiday gesture,” said Steve Williams, SHRM’s director of research. “Holiday parties are a way companies can show employees gratitude for accepting more responsibilities, increasing productivity, and keeping businesses running during a difficult economic climate.”

The SHRM holiday poll also shows trends in workplace policies regarding alcohol consumption. Roughly 22 percent of surveyed employers have a formal policy that does not allow drinking alcohol during work-related events while nine percent have an informal policy that does not allow it. Another 11 percent of HR professionals report having a formal policy that addresses and allows drinking alcohol during work-related events while 18 percent have an informal policy.

Work-related events include holiday parties, co-worker lunches, job interviews over a meal, happy hour, client dinners, and most company-sponsored events and celebrations.

The poll also highlights holidays organizations plan to observe in 2010. Numbers remain consistent to those holidays observed in 2009.

The top five holidays employers will observe in 2010 are:

  1. New Year’s Day – January 1st – (98 percent);
  2. Thanksgiving Day – November 25th– (98 percent);
  3. Labor Day – September 6th– (96 percent);
  4. Memorial Day – May 31st– (95 percent); and
  5. July 5th (July 4th falls on Sunday) – (82 percent).

Reporters may read the complete SHRM poll, and other surveys, at:


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 250,000 members in over 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

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