What staff really want for Christmas

A study of 1,000 UK workers published in the Most Generous Time of the Year Study by Perkbox, revealed that 30% of employees haven’t received any gift from their boss or manager at Christmas.  Of those who do get a token gift, more than 1 in 3 (35%) said they received a team meal out.  This was followed by more traditional gifts, with 29% receiving a drink related gift such as a bottle of wine or alcohol, and a further 23% who said they receive a food related present like chocolate or a food hamper.

The survey also found that 86% of organisations will host a Christmas Party and that seven in 10 employers plan to relax rigid hours over the festive period by offering flexible working.  For employers, offering additional flexibility at this time of year can be an affordable and impactful way to show appreciation for their staff, which can boost employee satisfaction all year round.  This arrangement may also suit businesses where there is a lull in work over the Christmas break.  The survey results suggest that this may well be the case, with 48% of employers saying that they will be actively encouraging employees to take them up on their offer of increased flexibility over the Christmas period.

When staff were asked what they would actually like to get from their employer at Christmas, monetary gifts were favoured – 1 in 4 (25%) revealed they would like a money-based bonus such as cash, a bonus payment in their salary or a gift card/voucher.  Meanwhile, a similar number (23%) said they would like to receive a pay rise at Christmas. 

The popularity of a money-based bonus such as cash, a bonus payment, or a gift card is hardly surprising, given that Christmas is an expensive time of year.  The monetary savings or ‘perks’ passed on to employees can make things a little easier and can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, not just at Christmas but all year round.  However, just 36% of employers offer bonuses, commision structures, or prizes for employees who exceed year-end targets, leaving almost two-thirds (64%) setting no incentives during the time of year when motivation and productivity can wane.

Finally, whilst there’s always likely to be a disconnect between what employees want and what employers can give, the survey highlights one simple step that 60% of employers fail to do, which is to ask their employees how they would like to celebrate the Christmas period.   To avoid spending at Christmas on things that do not motivate your staff in the way you had hoped, If there are corporate or departmental budgets set aside for the Christmas festivities, involving your employees in decisions about how these budgets are spent, is likely to mean that you get the most from your investment.

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