Rethink employee Christmas gifts (by next week)!

It’s that time of year again. People are either starting to wind down for the last few dreamy and distracted weeks leading up to Christmas or starting to ramp up to spending several weeks working at three times their normal speed, just so that they can get everything done before Christmas! For whatever reason, December is just not a normal month.

One thing though, that you can guarantee will be the same every Christmas is that employers up and down the country will be presenting their employees with a gift to thank them for their hard work over the last year.

But how much thought actually goes into these generic gifts that have come to be a normal and expected part of the predictable seasonal customs?

A cursory google search of the best gifts for employees comes back with a list of unimaginative,yet practical suggestions such as an iTunes gift card, an ‘edible arrangement’, a Starbuck’s gift card, restaurant vouchers, a bottle of whisky or fine wine or an M&S gift card……..Big wow.

So what’s wrong with that? After all, your employees have given you their all for the whole last year, surely they deserve to be lavished with at least twenty quids worth of token gestures, right?

But have you considered that they might not see it that way?  I mean, a gift worth say £20 probably doesn’t even amount to the equivalent of 1p for every hour they’ve worked for you in the last year.

Not only is it unlikely that this oh-so-well thought out gift will add anything to the quality of their life, it is in fact possible that it might add to problems they have that you have got no idea about.  Chocolates for someone who is miserable about their weight? A bottle of whisky for someone who has resolved every New Year for as long as they can remember that they are going to cut down their drinking this year?

Of course, you may be thinking that they should be grateful for whatever gifts they get. Surely it’s better than a slap in the face with a wet kipper? Unfortunately it doesn’t necessarily work like that.  Most employees see right through such tokenism and may even shrug off the gesture as being meaningless or disingenuous, especially if all is not rosy in the garden of their professional life.

So, what instead?

If you want to give your employees something that they can really benefit from this festive season, give them a gift that will change their life.  Give them the gift of wellbeing. Let them know that you actually care about them and that you are committed to finding out what they want and what they need from you as an employer and then acting on it.

All you have to do is to commit to creating a proper, workable and fully resourced Employee Wellbeing Strategy. Sit back in your chair, now. Take a deep breath and then take a few moments to imagine what your organisation will be like this time next year if you decide right now, for once and for all, to focus on this vitally important issue that you have been sweeping under the carpet for years.

Here’s what to do. Take a pen and write down, right now, the answer to this question….

“What is the first step I need to take in order to get this ball rolling?”

Is it a phone call? Is it an email? Is it to write a memo to make sure that the topic ‘Employee Wellbeing’ is on the agenda at the next board meeting? Perhaps you might decide to get on the internet and educate yourself about the topic and how it impacts on your business?  Whatever it is write it down.

Now, write down, when specifically you will take that first step. It must be sometime the next 7 days.

Done that?? Fantastic!

So by this time next week, you’ll be ready to announce to your employees that you have seen the light and that 2015 will be the year of wellbeing! How does that feel?! Happy December!

Need an Employee Engagement Strategy and not sure where to start? Now is a very good time to take action because you will receive a 20% discount on our Employee Wellbeing Strategy package if you book before the end of January 2015. We are also offering a free employee wellbeing health check to help you determine if you need to do more to improve the wellbeing of your employees.

If there’s anything I can help you with at all, email me at