Engelberg Reloaded or: Teambuilding Event Christmas Party

When the advent candle lights are already burning, it is actually much too late to think about the company’s X-mas celebration. But nobody wants to read something like this already in July. So take it as a suggestion for next year.

From Jens Kügler

Once upon a time in the Swiss winter sports paradise of Engelberg. A Munich company had reserved a little hotel for its employees. A bus hired journey—Christmas night in the decorated hotel lobby—first overnight stay—ski day from morning onwards, organized as a team Olympics—followed by après-ski hut evening with mulled wine, live music and party atmosphere—then a torchlight sleigh ride under the starry sky down from the piste to the hotel—”Olympics” medal winner’s ceremony in the lobby—long disco dance night in the lobby—second overnight stay—breakfast—journey home. Almost 20 years ago. But those who were there still talk about it today. The company did something similar every year, so to speak: Engelberg reloaded, and was regarded as a popular employer.

“We can’t afford that,” I hear some SME bosses moan. Let’s make a counter calculation: Can you afford to NOT offer your employees something of comparable quality once a year—or at least once in a while—in times of a shortage of skilled workers and the struggle to acquire and keep the best?

Recently I read an interview with happiness researcher Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Ruckriegel. He said that Christmas parties can make an important contribution to a good corporate culture. Beyond the stressful pre-Christmas time, colleagues can meet to talk about private matters and get to know each other better. And especially at an event like the Christmas party, an entrepreneur can show what his employees are worth to him, the professor continued. Because openly shown appreciation by the company contributes to the fact that one likes to go to work, feels better and is all the more committed to work more and harder.

For Christmas celebrations, the happiness researcher suggests changing the location and offering an interesting place. In addition, more should be offered than the boss’s usual speech and the always same, boring rituals. The employees should be able to look forward to a highlight. They should take a message or a gift home with them. Something that, as he says, stays in their minds and strengthens the bond to the company. In this way, the Christmas party becomes a freestyle instead of a fulfillment of duty. Or as Professor Ruckriegel calls it, an investment in a good working atmosphere.

By the way: an unforgettable celebration doesn’t have to be expensive. Last year, a small publishing house, for which the author works as a freelance editor, invited its team to its traditional Christmas dinner. That annual celebration is the only opportunity in the year where the small team from all over Germany meets. Last year, the location was a newly opened ice cream manufactory that was reserved on a countertrade basis in the publisher’s small hometown. For the introduction and at the end there was the divinely good, handmade ice cream made from creative recipe ideas including a production introduction for do-it-yourself ice making. Then: a fish platter—wonderfully fresh and varied, from the local fishing club, cooked by their best professional. And a poultry platter from one of the town’s local award-winning master butcher. I am already looking forward to this year’s celebration. Wherever it may take place.

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