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Traditional Banquets Lose Their Glitter

Published: December 18, 2013 (Issue # 1791)

  • With prices rising and attendance falling, companies are looking for new, exciting ways to celebrate the holidays.
    Photo: Pelcinary / flickr

The traditional Russian corporate New Year party is facing extinction. Large companies doubt the prudence of spending huge sums of money on them, just as employees interest in such events is also on the wane. Only 50 to 60 percent of those invited actually attend winter celebrations in restaurants while summer parties held outdoors are more popular, according to Business Class event planners.

The principal reason for the lack of interest in corporate events is the uncomfortable prospect of celebrating with their boss and colleagues; every third worker has no desire to see their colleagues drunk, according to HeadHunter research. Most employees attend corporate events out of a sense of duty, as there is often an unspoken expectation that they will show up. In some companies, absentees can count on an uncomfortable conversation with their boss, receive a reprimand or even be fined. All prospects, however, pale in comparison to putting on a brave face while the secretaries shimmy and shake on the dance floor.

Most New Year parties usually take the form of a relaxed sit-down dinner with people who are glad to see one another and have the chance to chat. If there are more than 50 people, however, it is almost impossible to organize such an intimate party and the event becomes a New Year-themed banquet. It is not always clear who really wants or needs such an event, Maria Protopopova, head of the Business Class event agency, told The St. Petersburg Times.

When an organization promotes a classless atmosphere among the staff, the employees are usually interested in participating in corporate parties. In some cases, the employees themselves take the initiative to organize events.

This is a good sign, as it shows the staff is a real team. If the workers at a company do not want to spend time together, it is a senseless waste of money to invite them to a banquet, said Protopopova.

Company leaders can use a New Years party as an event to sum up the results of the past year and offer their gratitude to their staff while inspiring them for the coming year. Any corporate events, including those held around the holidays, are useful for the development of loyalty and can serve as a teambuilding exercise, assure recruitment agency experts. Whether or not to hold a holiday party depends more on the companys culture and traditions.

Holding holiday parties is widespread among large international companies. Many employees look forward to them as it brings an opportunity to bond in less formal circumstances, Yelena Tubashova, Team Leader of Retail and HoReCa with Ancor Business Solutions, told The St. Petersburg Times.

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Sunday, Apr. 20

Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.

Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.

Monday, Apr. 21

Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.

Tuesday, Apr. 22

SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.

The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.