HR Zone editor Charlie Duff looks at the personnel issues that arise at this time of year and asks whether companies are using the recession as an excuse to act like Scrooge this Christmas.
The recession has forced companies to consider how they spend their money. In a recent Chartered Management Institiute (CMI) poll over half of managers (58%) questioned said an expensive party could damage their organisation’s reputation.
The survey also found that half of managers believed that a team lunch was better than an organisation wide party. Employers were cautious about the amounts spent on festive parties: 41% indicated they were happy to set aside time for a Christmas party, but made no financial contribution; a third put aside up to £40 per employee to subsidise the celebrations.
Two-thirds of those questioned said Christmas parties were important way to engage with their people. During the autumn, the CMI reported that recession had caused a 42% decline in employee engagement..
Of the 1,337 UK managers questioned in the survey, 66% said the office Christmas party was vital to recognise the hard work of staff undertaken throughout the year. A slightly higher proportion of managers (71%) felt end of year celebrations should continue in spite of the recession: three quarters of managers argued that a warm approach to Christmas “is good for staff morale”.
“Our research shows that end of year festivities are clearly still of great importance to the UK workforce but the survey raises an interesting dilemma for UK organisations. How can employers say ‘thank you’ without incurring the wrath of the wider public?” said CMI chief executive Ruth Spellman. “The answer is that employee engagement has never been as important as it is now, but it must come hand-in-hand with a tighter grip around the purse strings.”