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Are you Giving Employees What They Want for Christmas?


The Christmas party has been a tradition for many organisations for some time. But recent research suggests it’s losing popularity.

In a poll of 1,000 UK workers, Perkbox found that 29 per cent of people don’t actually enjoy their work Christmas party. These were the top reasons:

  • 34 per cent don’t enjoy socialising with colleagues at their Christmas party
  • 30 per cent find Christmas parties too cliquey
  • 27 per cent said they don’t believe in fun being forced on them

Asked what they’d prefer instead, 23 per cent said a closer-knit team meal, 7 per cent suggested a daytime activity and another 7 per cent said a night out with their direct colleagues rather than the whole company.

Given most employee rewards work better when they’re tailored to individuals, this makes sense.

In addition to the office celebrations, Instantprint found that perks such as gift vouchers or an early finish can make employees feel more valued and appreciated at Christmas.

But, if you want a happy and productive workforce all year round, you need to make sure you’re making your employees feel valued and appreciated all year round.

In another survey of what employees want for Christmas, digital platform Engaging Works found ‘more compensation’ topped the list for men; for women it was development opportunities. The desire for greater work-life balance was also a key priority for both – indeed, flexibility to achieve a better work-life balance is increasingly becoming top of employees’ wish lists. You can read more about the benefits of encouraging flexible working and steps for going about it on our blog.

Employees who feel unfairly compensated for the role they’re doing are likely to be less engaged, less productive – and probably more likely to find the expense of the Christmas party that bit more galling. Luckily, feelings of this nature can usually be avoided with a good understanding of both yours and the candidate’s expectations at the recruitment stage.

Likewise, employees who don’t feel they have the opportunity to develop their skills and progress their career are unlikely to drown all their work sorrows with a free bar! In addition to offering additional training or job shadowing, providing opportunities for employees to benefit from mentoring can be a great way to fulfil this need.

Christmas is an excellent time to reflect on whether your employee recognition strategy addresses the needs of your employees and, if necessary, make changes for the year ahead.

And of course, if you succeed in giving employees what they want all year round, you’re much more likely to be celebrating with them again next Christmas.