Monday December 3, 2012
By Ben Buet - Business Development Manager
Christmas is here already, after such a memorable year for the whole country we are embarking on the festive period. The feel-good vibe in the UK seems to have carried on since the events of the summer. Long may that continue.
Despite a lighter feeling, many companies are exercising caution when it comes to their formerly extravagant Christmas parties. This led me to start thinking about the impact this will have on their people and how companies need to think far more creatively to reward their people. At the end of the day it’s people’s engagement levels that will affect the bottom line.
There is a chapter in our book ‘Purple Your People’ about how happiness directly affects motivation and production levels. This year has been, for us, not only fun though also stretching and exciting. We always remember to do what we can to make sure our people are happy at work. Rewarding people for the great work they have done and offering team bonding opportunities is key. It’s really important to recognise your high performing teams and a great opportunity to do this is to give something back; by investing in them. Taking away Christmas parties and other end of year rewards can really demotivate people, especially when huge steps have been made during the year. Weigh up the investment in a Christmas ‘do’ against losing a top performer or the lost productivity of the disengaged.
However it’s not all about spending lots of money. There are so many low-cost/no-cost solutions to this. A few things we do at learnpurple that really improve happiness and team building are:
· Secret Santa – we randomly pick a secret Santa for everybody by drawing names from a hat. This involves a small budget for a present and writing a poem for the person. We then open the presents together and read the funny poems to each other. The laughs and enjoyment this brings alone are priceless and all at no cost to the company.
· Spoof awards – always fun and a good way to tell people how much they’re appreciated. This involves a little effort and creativity on the part of our directors; ‘trophies’ are small though meaningful.
· Early finish on certain days – with lots of people away during the Christmas period and the phone lines generally a bit quieter, allowing people to leave an hour early to be with their families and friends goes a long way. With the enhancement of remote access to emails etc it also has little effect on business outputs.
· Christmas drinks after monthly meetings – when we have company meetings we will generally arrange a quick drink with everyone out of the office. It only takes an hour out of people’s time though gives you a great chance to see how everyone is doing and what their plans are for Christmas. Even if organising something that everyone can attend is challenging, take advantage of the opportunities to get people together informally.
These are just a few ideas that we use but there are plenty of other options out there. Even after a busy and, perhaps, stressful year, great Christmas parties or companies going the extra mile will always be remembered. Finishing the year on a high can have huge effects on how the next year starts and can really put you on the front foot.
The easy option for all companies would be just to cut back on all of these activities and think of the short term gains to the bottom line. People engagement is a hot topic and perhaps more important than ever. It really is in the forefront of people’s minds and will affect companies in the longer term. Not just on morale but also the reputation of the company and on the benefits of working there.
It would be great to hear from you on good or not-so-good experiences you’ve had around workplace Christmas parties and how they’ve affected people? Do you agree with me? Or should the celebrations and festivities stay on hold until times are better?