Many companies treat their employees to a year-end party to reward them for their hard work and celebrate the start of a new year.
With performances, concerts, drinks, snacks, and lucky draws, it seems like the perfect chance to go wild with joy.
But annual year-end parties can be more “official” or formal than you may think. Career experts advise everyone to behave accordingly.
“Remember that for most companies, especially the foreign ones, an annual office party is still a business function,” said Ren Zhijiong, 26, a deputy director at Aceona.com, a recruitment website in Shenzhen.
“It may be presented as an entertaining, fun social occasion, but it’s a type of business event.”
According to Ren, others will remember your behavior at the party when considering you for other business or social events, such as taking a client to lunch or attending a charity dinner to receive an award on behalf of the company.
In fact, year-end parties can be a “burden”. Employees may be invited by their boss or colleagues to perform in a show together, such as singing or dancing.
“You need to sacrifice your personal time after work or even on weekends to rehearse for such programs,” said Su Xiaomei, 27, an HR manager at Shanghai Handi Trading Co Ltd. “It can be difficult to escape by making excuses as your manager may be rehearsing with you.”
In this case, a performance is also an assignment. But the good news is that you may well be able to use such occasions to advance your career.
They can be a great opportunity to demonstrate your ability to work hard in a team, say HR managers.
Often, annual parties are an invaluable opportunity to meet CEOs and other senior executives whom you may not have met before or seldom have the opportunity to speak with.
It’s also a chance for you to let your co-workers know how much you appreciate their support and assistance.
“Never be late for rehearsals and respect others. Being supportive and patient in any role leaves a good impression,” said Su.
Career experts and professionals had further suggestions on making the most of year-end parties.
The first step is to seek out all the individuals you want to talk to, either during rehearsals or at the party itself. This can include your colleagues, clients and supervisors. You could thank your boss, for instance.
“Prepare topics, such as their department’s newest product release or their favorite sports team,” said Gao Liankui, 29, a product manager at IBM China Procurement Company.
“You can talk business, but don’t talk about it too much. After an appropriate time, excuse yourself and move on.”
It’s also important to pay attention to your personal behavior. Zou Xiaofei, 25, a client service executive at China Electronics Shenzhen Company, once saw a colleague get drunk at an annual party – he harassed a female co-worker, insulted his boss and then passed out under a table.
“After that, he hid himself until he resigned,” said Zou.
“Few companies can tolerate such behavior and it may cost you your career.”