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Here’s how to improve how your workplace does Christmas

From unwanted gifts to inappropriate Christmas party behaviour, end of year activities can be a minefield for the unprepared. But play your cards right and you can use silly season celebrations as an opportunity to boost engagement, foster social responsibility, and gain a new level of trust. Below, four suggestions on how to improve Christmas at your workplace.


1. Make sure your employees get merry at the Christmas party, not messy.

WorkSafe Victoria has reported that one in four workplace fatalities over the past decade occurred in the lead up to Christmas – it’s certainly not something you’d want to befall your workplace this holiday season. But how to improve your processes to keep risk to a minimum? It’s something that gets harder during the holidays.

“Everyone loosens up after a few drinks and this can lead to all sorts of risky behaviour, from falling down stairs, to telling your boss what you really think of them, to engaging in gossip that divulges confidential company information,” warns Frank Ribuot, CEO of Randstad Australia & New Zealand.

For tips on how to avoid an office Christmas party lawsuit check out our guide.

2. Gift thoughtfully

Unless your workplace is extremely close-knit, chances are that your employees haven’t the foggiest idea what to get Nicole at the front desk or Girard in payroll. Seeing that an estimated $50 million is wasted on office Kris Kringles and 72 per cent of Australians say they would prefer to see that money go towards a good cause instead, according to a study by CARE Australia, finding a more meaningful alternative is a no-brainer.

Find a whole host of thoughtful workplace gift ideas here.

3. Make your recognition meaningful

Another consideration about how you approach review season: make it count. We’ve heard a lot of chatter in recent times about ‘the death of the annual review’. However, encouraging employees to recognise one another’s achievements and think about their goals for the year ahead is a great way to foster the kind of engagement that continues long past the end-of-year awards ceremony. It’s worth thinking about how to improve the way your organisation thinks about employee recognition.

Research by employee recognition company O.C. Tanner finds 78 per cent of employees strive to work harder when they observe others receiving recognition and 85 per cent feel that seeing others receiving recognition helps improve the culture at their organisation. Why not start an initiative to encourage teams from the bottom of the hierarchy, where people tend to be more afraid to pipe up, to be empowered to give recognition – as well as receive it.

4. Annual leave: be fair and plan ahead

An employee who isn’t across the company leave policies isn’t likely to leave for the break full of good cheer, especially if their leave has been denied because they didn’t follow the correct company procedure. Not only is it imperative to lock in employee’s annual leave ahead of time, it’s also important that the company’s leave policy is clear to all – not just those willing to delve through pages of policy manuals. Ensuring that the Christmas holiday leave process is handled in a timely and fair fashion will go a long way towards a level of goodwill and trust in HR for the year ahead.

And as for those left at the office while others are snorkelling in Hawaii; here’s a helpful guide to keeping things going smoothly when you’re running at 50 per cent.



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