Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Cancelling the Christmas party

This week a survey of 1000 British firms revealed that four out of five are cancelling the Christmas party and another survey found that half of the firms asked are still undecided.

HR professionals are usually concerning themselves with making sure that no inappropriate behaviour takes place after a few too many glasses of wine, with the photocopier room beckoning, but in this age of new austerity, they are being asked by the CEO to advise on 'what it will look like if we have a do this year'.

The Forum of Private Business is urging companies to go ahead with the festivities with spokesperson Phil McCabe pointing out that a huge number of businesses rely on the Christmas festivities for survival. He pointed out that

"they are a valuable way of saying thank you to staff during this turbulent time".

Leading the way in this Scrooge like behaviour is the BBC which last year halved Christmas budgets from £50 to £25. Now staff will get nothing.

We also fear that by scrapping even a modest budget for a few peanuts and crackers will result in managers dipping into their own pockets, or worst still, fiddling an expense report to charge the party under a different cost line (which could end in dismissal if it is spotted by the Finance Department).

We have been lucky enough to spend time with Tim Smit, founder of The Eden Project. He says that "something magical happens when co-workers break bread together" and insists that teams have a meal together every few months (he calls it "working by winelight").

The HR profession has spent the last few years talking about Employee Engagement and how it can impact on the bottom line. After such a depressing 2009 for many employees, we feel they deserve the opportunity to break some bread together, have a few drinks and watch the CEO dance like your uncle at a cheesy wedding. Don't you?

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