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Posted On: 05/12/2019

The arrival of Jack Frost, an abundance of chocolate boxes on supermarket shelves and cute characters in every TV advert signifies that Christmas is just around the corner. After a somewhat turbulent year of politics it’s a relief to have the festivities to look forward to.

So, in our final HR News Roundup of 2019 we’re sharing with you some tips on how you can support your employees this Christmas and we’ll be exploring the truth behind the Secret Santa.

General Election Burnout and Brexit Anxiety

On the 12th December we will be invited to vote in a general election for the third time in four years. On top of this there’s no escaping the concerns over Brexit and the possibility of another referendum. This pressure of repeatedly being asked to vote is taking its toll on many employees and has been recognised as a genuine phenomenon called ‘voter fatigue’ [1].

Last month, David Price, CEO of Health Assured, provided some valuable tips on how organisations can support their workforce at this time.

Understanding Finances

Organisations who provide financial education programmes benefit from improved productivity, fewer anxiety related absences and reduced staff turnover levels as their staff experience a greater sense of wellbeing.

There’s no doubt that Christmas can be an expensive time and if you haven’t planned for it and prepared your finances, this time of year can indeed be a very stressful one.

According to a research study carried out by Zellis only 44% of UK employers offer financial education programmes to help their staff make better financial decisions [2].

2,000 employees took part in the survey from a variety of different sectors. Here are some of the findings:

When asked if they would find financial education useful:

Looking at these statistics it is clear that introducing such a programme as part of an organisation’s health and wellbeing strategy would be advantageous to all parties.

Gethin Nadin, Director of Employee Wellbeing at Benefex (part of the Zellis group) said in response to the survey: "Money is extremely emotive and worrying about it can be all-encompassing. When money worries cause stress, employees get distracted at work and tend to sleep poorly. This can lead to taking time off work and a reduction in productivity."

Is It Time To Rethink The Secret Santa?

In November the UK job board Jobsite announced the results of their research concerning the impact of the office ‘whip-round’ [3].

An envelope is passed around departments approximately 15 times a year asking for money towards birthdays, engagements, weddings, births, work anniversaries and more. On average, the British worker spends £6.78 per collection, totalling over £100 per year on gifts. During our working lives, this equates to around £4,667.

However, this research threw up a very interesting statistic, it revealed that employees aged 23 to 38 also recognise the benefits of giving gifts despite being on the receiving end of some of the negative side effects of contributing. Maybe, it’s time to rethink ways to celebrate in the workplace.

Alexandra Sydney, Marketing Director at Jobsite, commented: “While the act of giving and celebrating personal milestones like birthdays and weddings can bring teams together, our research shows that we should be mindful in how we approach monetary contributions to these events. For those who are part of bigger teams, or who are more junior and therefore have a lower income, it may simply not be feasible to contribute to every celebration. 

If a set company budget for celebrations isn’t an option, the best way to approach whip-rounds is to highlight that it’s a worker’s personal choice as to how much they contribute, or whether they contribute at all. When it comes to Secret Santa, again this should be “opt-in” rather than a requirement, and a budget range can be agreed from the offset to avoid any awkwardness. The main thing to bear in mind is that bringing teams together for celebrations should act as a boost to team morale, not be something that individuals avoid as a result of feeling pressured to contribute a particular amount.” 

We’re here to help

 If you need our experienced team of HR professionals to support you in any of the issues raised in our latest HR News Roundup call us on 0161 941 2426.

[1] HR Review

[2] HR Magazine

[3] HR News


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