Anthropologist Don Schmincke is popular as a speaker and coach in the business world. The Baltimore-based leadership specialist has developed some theories on how communities and organization function. And the COVID thing is disrupting some of those processes, a development that many business leaders are going to have to rebuild.
The corporate Christmas party is one of those.
Schmincke says any community – from your town to a church congregation to a business – has some common characteristics. One of them is rituals. Parishioners coming together on the Sabbath to worship is highly visible example. In the business world, the annual Christmas party is a similar activity. It’s a way to say thank you to employees and, often their spouses or significant other, at an employer-sponsored evening.
It is also tool for team building but there is a good chance this ritual will disappear this year, given the restrictions on the size of social gatherings.
However, the underlying purpose – sponsoring a sense of team or kinship among employees – has not gone away….but how organizations express that is about to change. And we’ll see how creative these teams can be in finding alternatives.