As October comes to a close, most HR and leadership teams are thinking of how they're going to celebrate Christmas with their employees. Whether it's a bottle of wine or a themed office Christmas party, employers want to show their appreciation to staff after a year of hard work. However, as the cost of living brings new challenges to businesses and staff, some organisations are dropping traditions in favour of financially supportive alternatives.
With an increased cost of living, many employees will feel the pinch this Christmas, with around 70% of employees already feeling the pressure of increased food, fuel and energy prices. Businesses are also facing rising costs and limited budgets, resulting in 27% of businesses cutting down on their Christmas celebrations this year.
Recognition is an essential part of the employee experience for most of the workforce with Christmas being one of the best times to show your appreciation to employees. With the cost of living in mind many organisations may have to change how they recognise employees this Christmas and focus more on how employers recognition can both celebrate Christmas and support employees financial wellbeing.
Office Christmas Party: What's the verdict?
One-third of employers still haven't planned their office Christmas party, yet with many employees struggling financially, should businesses even start? The costs and hassle of finding the right balance of fun and comfort for the team can be a monumental task and enough to deter many employers from the idea. The pressure of the cost of living crisis also challenges whether a Christmas work do is needed this year. So with such high costs involved, why would you host a festive Christmas party?
End of Year Morale Boost
An extra boost in morale is what everyone needs at the end of the year, especially one as challenging as this. Bringing the team together for any event is beneficial for morale, and Christmas is no different. Christmas parties are great opportunities for employees to come together, socialise, relax and build better bonds with team members.
Improving employer-employee relationships
Often there is a disconnect between employees and their superiors within organisations. A company Christmas party is a great way to communicate with staff and colleagues and get a better understanding of your employees. Showing an organisation's informal and relaxed side can reduce barriers between employers and staff and build closer relationships.
Work Christmas Party And The Cost of Living Crisis
Despite the benefits, an average work Christmas party will cost an organisation over £40 per employee. Depending on the size of the organisation, this can be a considerable deterrent, especially considering the state of the current economic climate. On top of employer costs, new studies show that even staff want to give Christmas work dos a miss, with 90% of staff admitting to favouring other recognition over a Christmas party this year. This leaves organisations questioning whether it is worth it and searching for alternatives that suit employees' recognition needs whilst keeping within the Christmas budget.
How Will The Cost of Living Impact Employees This Christmas?
The cost of living crisis brings new challenges to employees. Many employees are struggling to pay for essentials with less disposable income each month. With the financial burden of Christmas creeping closer, do employees need to worry about another potentially expensive work event?
Employers must consider their employee's financial wellbeing before organising an extravagant Christmas party. Although an office Christmas party will cost a business a considerable amount per head, there are also high costs for employees. For example, if the venue is far away, staff will have to pay for transportation. Staff may also feel pressured to purchase alcoholic drinks due to drinking culture, which can lead to further costs.
Not recognising employees' financial wellbeing and hosting an expensive work Christmas party can bring employees extra financial anxiety as they feel pressured to attend. The costs of these events are unnecessary for employees and could affect their financial position before Christmas.
Financial stress brought on by Christmas and the cost of living can demotivate staff, lower their engagement and damage their mental health. Therefore, it's no surprise that workers are choosing alternative ways of celebrating, and employers are looking at ways to support their team's financial wellbeing over Christmas.
How to Celebrate and Support Employees This Christmas
Recognition is essential for employees throughout the year, but Christmas is a great time to show your employees that you appreciate the work they've done over the past year. Recognising employees increases motivation, encourages engagement, and brings happiness to employees. This is crucial for motivating staff to come back in January ready to work hard.
To support employees during the cost of living crisis, employers may look towards other one-time benefits to recognise employees and appreciate them whilst acknowledging the challenging financial situation employees currently face.
One Time Bonus
Worker bonuses are a popular way to recognise employees for outstanding work over a long period of time, usually annually. They provide a slight boost of financial relief for employees and allow them to spend more on what they want. One-time bonuses are becoming increasingly popular this Christmas, with the cost of living crisis affecting everyone. This Christmas, some companies are supporting and recognising employees by offering bonuses up to £2500, whilst others are offering a pay rise. John Lewis even offers free food from October to January for employees to help cope with the cost of living. Obviously, not every business can afford to offer each employee a bonus worth thousands, so this may never be an option.
Some even argue that one-time bonuses aren't the best way to provide financial relief to employees this winter. Union leaders argue that bonuses are not substitutes to pay raises and that staff should receive more sustainable and valuable support. Offering bonuses can also have long term consequences for businesses. Although organisations believe they are lending a hand to employees, they could leave employees anticipating regular annual bonuses and leaving staff demotivated when expected bonuses don't materialise.
Cost of Living support
Alternative ways to celebrate Christmas this year must focus on providing employees value during this difficult time. One way to recognise employees this Christmas is by offering a wellness and discount scheme to support financial, mental and physical wellbeing.
Wellness and discount programs can help reduce financial anxiety over the Christmas period. Supporting employees' financial wellbeing can be just as significant as providing a one-off bonus. Wellness programs offer employees the chance to learn about budgeting and tips on saving and gaining financial freedom. Whilst discount programs can help spread the cost this Christmas by stretching money further. This recognition is valuable as it continues after Christmas making the benefit sustainable and useful for struggling team members.
Help for employees offers employers the chance to provide financial savings on essential spending and wellbeing support for employees. The government-backed scheme saves employees money on everyday shopping at supermarkets and high street shops. Along with motoring discounts and leisure discounts, so employees get more for their money every time they shop.
Employees can also access a huge range of discounts, information, tools, tips and tricks on how they can look after their physical, mental, financial, nutritional and social wellbeing, which is essential for struggling employees this winter.
Related: The Cost of Living Crisis: What Must Employers Do
Staff Christmas Gifts
Staff Christmas gifts are a great way to boost workplace morale and motivate staff over the holiday period to ensure they come back ready to work in January. Christmas gifts such as Gift cards and luxury products can show how much you value your employees and will bring the same morale boost a staff Christmas party may bring.
Employers need to get the gift selection right. Not every employee needs a luxury gift hamper or bottle of wine; some employees may value an experience or gift vouchers more than a luxury gift. Letting employees to choose their Christmas gift this year is an effective way to bring staff satisfaction. Terry Berry's employee Christmas gift solution offers employees to select their own gift from a range of luxury and essential gifts and experiences.
Gift vouchers are always popular as employees can choose what they can spend on. This year gift vouchers are more necessary than ever, with essential supermarket gift vouchers becoming a popular gift for employees this Christmas. Relieving the cost of a Christmas food shop can be as important as any other type of recognition this Christmas. Our gift selection includes a range of essential gift vouchers for Tesco, Asda, M&S, John Lewis and Love2shop vouchers that can be used in various high street shops. These vouchers and more are available to employees at each of our set budgets. Budgets start from £25 per employee to £100 offering everything from hampers to once in a lifetime experiences.
Christmas Gifts also support employers as any gifts under £50 are known as a trivial benefit and aren't required to be declared to HMRC, providing they meet the required criteria.
Related: How To Recognise Your Staff This Christmas
Although there may be the demand for an office Christmas party this year, employers must evaluate if the cost of a Christmas party would be better spent in other ways to recognise and support employees this Christmas. Contact us to learn more about how you can recognise and appreciate your employees the right way this Christmas.