DEAR HARRIETTE: My office is going through a serious downsizing right now. We normally have a big holiday party, and I am sure that will not happen this year. I was thinking it would be nice to put together a potluck dinner to show our loyalty to our employees during this tough time. Do think this is a good idea? -- Lift Employees' Spirits, Cincinnati
DEAR LIFT EMPLOYEES' SPIRITS: Coming together in a spirit of unity is most important at this time of year, even more so in your company's case. By all means, put together a potluck. You might call upon each of your company leaders in advance to let them know your plans so that they can support a buy-in for the entire company. Take the time to make the event special. Create fliers and signs to promote the event. Make sure that you provide some specialty items, such as alcohol if you are serving that and/or meat dishes that may be pricey.
Be sure to make a speech of some kind at the dinner that acknowledges your staff for all of their hard work. If everyone already knows you are facing downsizing, let them know that this has been a tough year and some hard decisions are on the way. Be mindful not to let anyone go during the holiday season, if at all possible. Strategize so that the pain will be the least impactful. You might give people time to know when their positions will be phased out, giving them a bit of time to look for work.