Holiday Office Party Rules to Abide By
Every environment is different and each company makes its own rules. It’s up to you to intuitively figure out what is appropriate and what will have you in front of the HR Director. That said, there are baseline rules to follow such as drink wisely and keep conversations professional.
Ultimately, you don’t want to be hoping for a new job underneath the Christmas tree. You do want to build beneficial professional relationships.
Follow these dos and don’ts, and be a good boy or girl at the office holiday party.
Party Time: It is a career killer to miss out on the staff Christmas party. Do put aside your gripes about your colleagues and try and get into the spirit of things. Act as though your behavior is being observed every minute.
Limit Exposure: The holiday office party is still work, which means less is more. Don’t walk into an office party halfway after through and don’t leave a Christmas party too early. However, don't overstay by partying until the keg is done.
Look the Part: The party is still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum is a must. This applies to language, attire and general actions. Do follow the dress code. Ask if needed. It’s always better to be overdressed then underdressed. Do leave the club shirt in the closet.
Say What: Do keep conversations positive and don't complain, whine or ridicule. Don’t discuss controversial subjects such as religion, politics and sex. Also, don't spend all evening talking shop. Wasn’t 8 hours enough? And remember, tis the season of giving. Do show interest in others and be gracious and thank coworkers for all their contributions.
Drink and be Merry: Do have one alcoholic drink and then one bottle of water, soft drink or juice. In addition, make sure you have a meal first before you start drinking. Moderation is key. Do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening. Smile and monitor your breath.
Food for Thought: Much like the booze, regulate your intake. That paycheck might be slim, but don’t ease the grocery bill by busting out the zip-lock bags at the buffet line.
Plus One: This means a husband, wife or a long term girlfriend or boyfriend. Don’t consider the office Christmas party to be a first date venue. Furthermore, spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. Don't bring an inappropriate person as your guest, such as a therapist or escort.
Mistletoe Manners: If you are rolling solo, do keep your hands to yourself. Don't flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. Sexual harassment rules still apply at the office Christmas party. Remember, you have to go to work the next day.
Skilled Schmoozing: This is a chance to speak to the decision makers of your company in an informal setting. Sidle up the boss and make an impression (a good impression). Network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships.
Holiday Wrapping: Thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. Do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party. The office party is a reward, so enjoy what could be the bonus you may get from the company.
Safe Sleighing: Don’t end up in the newspaper the next day for an alcohol-related mishap. The authorities will connect the dots and figure out you attend the company sponsored office party. Do know how you are getting home before you start drinking. Grab a taxi voucher, arrange to sleep over a colleague’s place or catch the TTC home. Do appoint a designated driver. Don't drink and drive.
Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed: A sick day after the work party or turning up late after the Christmas party is a major faux paux. If your bosses can make it on time, then so should you. Plus, chances are a select few will have an office pool on who won’t show.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.