A Guide for Millennials: How to Throw a Successful Office Party

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This is a guest post by Zara Lewis, a regular contributor at Highstylife Magazine, a writer and traveler. Originally from Chicago, she found her place in the sun in Perth, Australia. Passionate about creating a better world for the generations to come, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others.

Being tasked with organizing the office party is kind of a mixed blessing.

On one hand, sure, it’s yet another chore to add to a very large list. On the other, it can actually end up being really fun and do wonders for your reputation at the company.

Imagine being the hero that made an unforgettable party that people actually enjoyed, and weren’t forced to attend simply because it was a company event and they have little choice.

So, how do you do that? How do you organize something that’s both exciting and office-appropriate? Well, we’ve got a few tips.

1. Know your crowd.

What’s the average age of people in your company? Is it a younger crowd? What do they enjoy?

Use the bonds and friendships you have with other employees to gauge how others feel about office parties and holidays. And use them to pick up suggestions about what they’d like to see.

And don’t worry, making a party for a mixed group of people is still going to be successful. It just might require you to bring more variety to the table.

2. Start planning on time.

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Plan everything as early as possible, and then when a problem arises (and it will), you’ll have time to solve it. This will also make sure you don’t waste all your energy on last-minute panicked details.

Pick a venue, pick a theme, and send out invitations well in advance. You want people to be notified on time so they can plan ahead.

3. Bring the fun booze.

And by this we mean cocktails! Beer, wine, and spirits are great, but cocktails are where the colorful fun really starts. Take inspiration from professionals with a good reputation like the masters of mixology in NYC, and pick a bright, tasty drink that people will be eager to try.

Why not pick a cocktail and introduce it as the official company cocktail? Make sure to create a non-alcoholic version of it as well, for all of those who don’t enjoy booze or simply have to drive home.

4. Make sure the food is varied.

Someone’s a vegan, someone doesn’t eat pork, and someone’s allergic to peanuts. While there’s no way you can make a menu that will satisfy everyone (not if you want to stay within budget), do make sure that there are at least a few different options there on the table.

If you hire a good caterer, they’ll do all the work for you. Otherwise, you can involve a few other employees who are good cooks and have them bring something homemade. Feed-a-crowd meals are an excellent choice for this.

5. Involve others.

Don’t let the party planning overwhelm you and make you stress too much. Involving others is totally allowed, even encouraged.

One, it will make them feel important to know they helped. Two, you’ll get a better idea of what people want to see at the party.

Assign roles to everyone. Someone could be in charge of bringing the baked goods, someone who’s good at drink-mixing could be the bartender.

6. Figure out the entertainment.

Make your own mixtape or hire a DJ, but make sure that there’s good music that people can dance and sing to.

Another thing we recommend for an office party are simple board games. Pick the ones that can be played by a lot of people, like Dixit, Resistance, Mafia, Monikers, or similar ones, and leave the option for people to simply watch if they feel too shy to participate at first. Board games are a good way to break the ice, to get people to interact and stop just sitting in the corner and nursing their drinks awkwardly.

The last step to a good party? Make sure you enjoy it yourself. Don’t spend all the time worrying about something going wrong, just relax and lift the atmosphere with your good mood. The others will be sure to follow your example.

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8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

Why are there so few female CEOs? It’s a commonly discussed topic in the Australian business landscape, and often highlighted as an issue in society.

This has been made evident in the inaugural Robert Half CEO Tracker, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half to identify common traits amongst the leaders of the ASX 200-listed companies. The research found the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the majority of ASX 200 CEOs are men (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the current C-suite employment market, with women underrepresented in top positions – a fact that applies to not only ASX 200-listed companies.

Despite this, it’s well known that diversified boardrooms with women represented across leadership positions bring enormous value to organisations and the wider business community. This is not just because of their wealth of experience and knowledge. But also because of their diverse perspective applied to business strategy that’s required for any organisation to succeed.

Whilst looking at the low percentage of female CEOs, within our Executive Search branch, we’re seeing a strong push for diversity from companies looking to hire at the C-suite level. Organisations are actively specifying diversity in their recruitment agendas, and not only just based on gender, but on an all-inclusive approach.

While there still is a long way to go for women to be represented equally at the boardroom table, it’s encouraging to acknowledge just how far Australian women have come and actively promote steps they can take to further their careers in the business world. More can always be done to empower women within the workplace. And understanding the common professional characteristics of top Australian CEOs is a great place to start their C-suite journey.

For women looking to hone their personal attributes, CEOs need to be clear communicators who are capable of both giving direction and accepting expert opinion. And as with all leadership positions, exceptional people skills are essential. By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts.

How Women Can Grow Their Career

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1. Know what you really want.

Think about what you want to achieve in your career – and why. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • As a senior executive would you be willing to work long hours and take up extra responsibilities?
  • Do you like to solve complex problems?
  • Are you comfortable as a leader?
  • And, crucially, how do your family feel about you pursuing a career as a business leader?

2. Develop a career plan.

Determine what you want to achieve, and work out a detailed career plan. This will be a blueprint that maps out your journey to the top of your organisation, allowing you to focus on your ultimate career goals.

3. Work continuously on your leadership skills.

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process and an essential element for women pursuing a management position. By developing your technical, managerial and social skills, you are more likely to climb the corporate ladder – and be better prepared for the challenges you face along the way.

4. Communicate (more) directly.

Well-developed communication skills are essential for all managers. Yet men and women often have different communication styles.

Women usually take on a more modest tone, and often tend to communicate in an assuming way (“wouldn’t it be better”, “could we perhaps”, etc.). However, for a male audience – who usually communicate in a more direct way – this style of communication can suggest you lack confidence or are unsure about the matter at hand.

5. Take risks.

Women are usually less inclined to take risks than men. Yet this is part of being a leader. If you can prove you are willing to take calculated, carefully considered risks, you’re more likely to assume a managerial position.

6. Offer to take on certain tasks, even those nobody else wants.

A willingness to take on additional projects or raise your hand for tasks that others are sidestepping, can showcase your skills beyond your normal job duties. This is a great way to demonstrate you’re a team player, who is willing to go the extra mile for the company.

7. Do not be afraid to stand out.

All great leaders stand out from the crowd. As a manager, it’s likely you will have to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions, so be prepared to set yourself apart from others in good times – and in bad.

8. Build your network.

People like to work with people they know. So do not underestimate the possibilities offered by traditional and online networking. Building your network can be important to getting ahead.

About The Author

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors.

By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts. Here are 8 tips to help women grow their career