Office holiday parties have a reputation for being awkward, obligatory functions that cost companies a lot of money although no one really enjoys them. Still, corporate holiday is a powerful method of influence on the emotional aspect of company organizational culture, the basic principle of which is positive emotional communication, a sort of emotional drug everyone needs (Kotter & Heskett, 2011). Generally, corporate holiday is seen as a powerful therapeutic tool, designed to create in employees the feeling of unity with their collectives, and therefore it would be ineffective to completely abandon corporate holiday events. At the same time, the social function of corporate holidays may be significantly improved by adapting family day more widely.
A distinctive feature of the “Family Day”¯ event is the invitation of family members of company’s employees, and thus, the main advantage of such events is in laying foundations for the continuity of generations and raising the prestige of a company in the eyes of employees’ families. Moreover, with rare exceptions, family days are held in the open air, which adds to their own advantages the benefits of out-of-town corporate events, such as the positive impact of nature and fresh air on the participants’ relaxed mood creating the necessary atmosphere of friendliness and unity, as well as wide opportunities for the organization of sport and recreational activities (Goldblatt, 2010). Properly planned celebration of this type should include both a short tour on the production or office to show the family members where and how their relatives are working, and an entertainment program (cognitive quizzes, prize draws, sport competitions, carnival, etc.) often representing itself extended “company days”¯, lasting a whole weekend in suburban holiday inns (Lindsey, 2011; O’Toole & Mikolaitis, 2002). In addition, it should be marked that family day holidays should be divided into two streams: a children and an adult program (Lindsey, 2011). Intersection and temporary fusion of these streams is not excluded and even desirable, but it is important to realize that these are, in fact, two different programs with their own peculiarities and both target groups interest should be taken into consideration.
Typically, Family Days are rarely conducted by companies, mainly, as O’Toole and Mikolaitis (2002) claim, because of their higher cost in comparison to other, more commonly used, types of corporate events. However, they tend to have a deeper task: raising the prestige of a company both in the eyes of employees’ families and in the eyes of employees as such; creating the grounds for the continuity of generations; facilitating the emergence of a favorable “family-like”¯ psychological climate in a team (Jones & Murrell, 2001; Mitchell, 2004). An inspiring example of well-organized family days is the experience of McDonald’s corporation. Understanding the importance of the new personnel inflow and retention of existing experienced staff, the company struggles to win the support of employees’ parents, who serve here as company’s allies helping to maintain the staff stability and ensure the inflow of new young employees (Kotter & Heskett, 2011).
On a whole, corporate holiday events are critical to the work of any company as they contribute to raising employees’ motivation, identifying company’s major problems, as well as strengthening the team spirit. A corporate party is a PR tool, a conductor of core corporate values, a brand style carrier and a form of organization’s communication with the environment, increasing corporate performance and reducing employee turnover. In this perspective, family days practice may be seen as holiday events applying the most ingenious mechanism of social influence. However, the advantages of corporate events are revealed only in case of their perfect organization that provides participating employees with the opportunity of free, light-hearted communication with colleagues, friends and family. Therefore, running a company, we would, above all, strictly follow the current stable tendency on the delegation of authority to organize corporate events to professional outside event-managers, especially in case of such sensitive but highly effective corporate holidays as family days.