Here’s a story of two Christmas parties. The first, a lavish shindig thrown by Atlantis Creative Group, a strategic marketing company in Toronto, featured a red carpet, limousines and, if you can believe it, a live tiger. The second, held the following year, after Atlantis had been sold, couldn’t match the glitz.
“I thought, How can we have the same effect without the big budget?” says then CEO Paul Marchildon (now an independent “leisureologist” specializing in employee satisfaction). His solution: to have his staff create a Christmas celebration at the local YMCA for single moms with young kids. Atlantis brought a tree, a Santa Claus, presents and a whole team of motivated employees who, it turned out, much preferred the experience to a swank soiree.