Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Bah humbug - don't be a scrooge at Christmas 16/12/2011
A few years ago, the office Christmas party was a no brainer. But in these times of austerity, how can you ensure your staff are motivated and engaged in the festive season?
Click to jump to section
- Annual Christmas lift
- How can you motivate staff at Christmas?
- Christmas cheer - get creative
- Say thank you
- A positive start to the new year
Annual Christmas lift
It was interesting to read that manufacturing giant Unilever has threatened to cancel Christmas parties for striking workers, as well as taking away other festive perks and treats for the unhappy staff.
A few years ago, the office Christmas party was a no brainer. Organisations threw money at the annual bash, friends compared whose parties were the loudest or most extravagant and everyone went off home for Christmas with a healthy dose of festive cheer and good will towards their employer.
Christmas in December 2011 is rather different. Following two years of tightened budgets, achieving more for less and hearing the word ‘restructuring’ being mentioned far more times than is comfortable, many are cutting back at a time when employees have never been more in need of the annual lift that a Christmas party brings.
How can you motivate staff at Christmas?
When looking to cut costs, the social budget often seems an easy target for managers and leaders. Shockingly, CMI research has shown that 41% of organisations are not planning on holding a Christmas party this year.
If you’re a boss and you have exactly this conundrum, what can you do to engage and motivate your beleaguered employees?
Christmas cheer - get creative
The first thing to remember is that your staff will understand the pressures that you and your organisation are under and should be understanding of a stripped down budget. However, what they will look to you for are creative ways to get around this barrier and to ensure that a bit of Christmas cheer stays in the office.
Cancelling Christmas all together can be a blow to people who have worked incredibly hard in a difficult climate, it also makes you look like a Scrooge. Even if the budget is conservative it is still worth investing in a low key event and having a drink or two.
Say thank you
A Christmas party is the traditional time to thank your staff for their hard work and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to show your appreciation.
Buying mince pies or offering round a glass of mulled wine costs very little but it allows your team a chance to relax and enjoy a more informal environment in the office.
A positive start to the new year
January is traditionally the time when employees tend to look for new jobs; by sending your team off for the Christmas break in a positive frame of mind, you are more likely to develop a committed team come the new year.
As a manager you need to show that your employees matter to you and cancelling any Christmas celebration is not the way to do this! If levels of staff engagement are high, then productivity and morale are too – all of this will have a positive impact on your business as you embark on a new year.
Narinder Uppal, head of awarding body, Chartered Management Institute
Narinder joined CMI in March 2009 as companions and ambassador manager. She now focuses on enhancing the quality and recognition of CMI’s management and leadership qualifications in line with regulatory and external accreditation requirements.