We hired a crack team of elves from the research division of St. Nicholas's Lapland HQ to survey 600 UK-based employers to examine the levels of Christmas spirit alive in the workplace today.
Their probing questions and sophisticated algorithms sought to give HR managers a benchmark for Christmas planning, here’s what they found.
Over half (53%) of UK companies are putting hefty budgets aside for an end of year blow-out, with a further 33% intending to throw one budget permitting. That means just 14% of organisations are abstaining from the festivities altogether.
Event planning platform Eventbrite puts the cost of these parties at a substantial £42.48 per head, with london based organisations forking out £56.49 per employee. What’s surprising, then, is how few organisations are capitalising on the chance to earn some of this spend back by putting on employee performance incentives.
Just 36% of respondents offer bonuses, commision structures, or prizes for employees who exceed targets, leaving almost two-thirds (64%) setting no incentives during the time of year when motivation and productivity wane.
Effectiveness over the Christmas period is often a good litmus test for overall performance – pressure is on for annual targets to be met and customer contracts renewed. Both, of course, require motivated workforces.
Seven in 10 employers plan to relax rigid hours by offering flexible working during the period, with 48% actively encouraging employees to take them up on the offer. Almost a third of employers, however, are having none of it.
For HR managers looking for an affordable and impactful way to show appreciation, flexible working over Christmas is an ace up the sleeve. This could mean anything from work from home options to reduced hours – whatever is practical for your organisation.
A third of employers intend to treat their teams to a odd bottle of plonk or box of chocolates, while 22% will push the boat out and offer personalised gifts and vouchers. The remaining 45% don’t offer staff as much as a discounted lump of coal.
While relaxing work hours isn’t procedurally possible for certain industries, gift-giving is a more feasible gesture, and still one that can go a long way in the minds of employees.
Whether it’s through quarterly meetings or real time feedback, the vast majority (71%) of businesses reward and recognise the behaviour they seek. That said, it’s a shame to see 29% have no reward and recognition programme in place to encourage high performance.
Promoting a culture of reward and recognition is perhaps the best way to reinforce company values. Empowering managers to reward their teams and also enabling peer-to-peer recognition aligns efforts and focuses workforces.
If you’re struggling to work out how to keep everyone happy this year, there’s one simple step that 60% of employers fail to take: ask your employees how they want to celebrate it.
Crunch the numbers and work out your Christmas budget, then send out a survey or bring it up in a company meeting – whatever works for your organisation. Involving the end users (your people) is surely the best way to ensure there’s value in your initiatives.
Some 18% of organisations never share company performance updates with their employees, while a further 31% do so inconsistently. Fortunately, over half of UK businesses consistently deliver end-of-year performance reviews and share their ambitions for the year ahead.
Transparency and visibility are integral to mobilising employees to engage with organisational goals. Giving feedback – especially after milestones such as the closing of a year – helps staff to recognise the positive contribution they make to the business.
But what, you might ask, was the research elves' final verdict on workplace festivities? How, it might have crossed your mind, do I match up against the rest?
Well, they found that 41% of offices have 'fully embraced the Christmas spirit', 21% are 'feeling festive, but more can be done', while 38% are 'workplace Grinches'.
Which category do you fall under? Take our quiz now to find out.
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