How to Throw a Thanksgiving Party at Work

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP
November 15 2018

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at InfoMart. It’s a day to come together with people we care about, give thanks, and, of course, eat amazing food. We’ve had thirty years to perfect our office Thanksgiving. Here are some of my tips for throwing a great Thanksgiving party at work.

Get Started with a Great Cause

Tis the season for being thankful and giving back. At InfoMart, we like to get excited for Thanksgiving by participating in The Big Thank You. We send handwritten letters to troops deployed outside of the United States to give them a little taste of home on Thanksgiving Day.

Get your employees in the giving spirit by participating in a local food drive, organizing a volunteer day, or join InfoMart in writing letters for deployed troops. Rallying behind a cause creates unity in the office, and everyone loves doing something good for their community.

Bring Them Together…with Food!

Potlucks are great for your workplace culture and your budget. Everyone can contribute a dish that represents them and share that with their coworkers. This ends up creating a unique result: your workplace culture is put on a plate. It also sparks conversation about who brought what, where they got the recipe, and which dishes are crowd favorites. It’s easy on your budget as well; since workers cater the event themselves, all you need to provide is plates, cutlery, and beverages (though you can certainly pitch in some extra food!).

Potlucks are easy to arrange. I’d recommend creating an office-wide signup sheet so that everyone can see what others are already bringing or you risk having dozens of bowls of cranberry sauce. If you want to get extra festive for your Thanksgiving party at work, spring for some fun autumn-themed decorations or provide on-theme drinks. Who doesn’t like hot cocoa and apple cider?

The More the Merrier

If Thanksgiving is about coming together with people we care about, why limit your celebration to just your office family? At InfoMart, we encourage our employees to invite their spouses, children, parents, and friends to celebrate with us.

I love doing this each year for a couple of reasons. We often keep our professional and personal lives separated. Special occasions like this are a great way to bond and see a different side of your workers. I enjoy learning more about my employees and hearing funny stories from their families.

Opening your Thanksgiving party at work to guests is a great way to form stronger bonds between employees and show your staff that you care about their life beyond the workplace.

Give Thanks Together

When I was a child, my family had a Thanksgiving tradition that many of you probably experienced, too. Every year, we would stand around the table before dinner and say why we’re thankful. Now that I’m grown and a business owner, I try to keep the spirit of gratitude alive at InfoMart.

One tradition we have around this time of year is our “You’ve Been Caught” notes. When an employee notices their colleague doing something particularly helpful or kind, they are encouraged to put a notecard on their desk. This note tells them they’ve been “caught” doing a good deed in the workplace and shows them that people are appreciative. Studies show that employees are more engaged if they feel that their work is recognized and valued. Thanking your employees is an easy way to get them in the Thanksgiving spirit and give them the boost they need to get through the holiday rush.

Showing employees your gratitude doesn’t just have to be limited to your Thanksgiving party at work. Many companies, InfoMart included, have an Employee of the Month. We read all the nominations at our monthly luncheon so even those who don’t win get to be recognized. Engaging with and being thankful for your employees is something you should do all year round, not just during the holidays.

Thanksgiving jumpstarts the rest of InfoMart’s holiday season. It’s a busy time in our office; we have events and raffles planned for the next month. Our potluck is Day One of Santa’s Workshop, an anonymous adopt-a-family event that allows our team to help a family that would otherwise struggle this year. It’s just another one of the things we do here to keep ourselves involved in the community. As you plan events for this year’s holiday season, remember: it’s a time to be grateful for what we have and give to those who have less!

For more great ideas on employee engagement, keep an eye out for my upcoming Holiday Guide to Employee Engagement here and on my LinkedIn.

What is your workplace planning to do for Thanksgiving? Share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn or Twitter or check out my Pinterest.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

Pin It on Pinterest