Would you believe your boss if they told you they were giving you a house for Christmas?
That’s the reality for many of the employees of Savjibhai Dholakia, an Indian diamond exporter who gave 1206 cars and 400 flats to his employees ahead of the Diwali festival this year.
He says the rewards were in recognition of the outstanding performance and dedication shown by employees in the last five years.
“Our aim is that each employee must have his own home and car in the next five years. So we have decided to gift cars, homes and jewellery to employees,” Dholakia, owner of the Hare Krishna Exports, told Agence France-Presse.
It’s not uncommon for bosses to give their employees gifts during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. However, they’re usually a box of Indian confectionary rather than a car or flat.
In Australia this year, Qantas and Blackmores both announced large bonus cash payments for their staff in recognition of a year of solid trading and healthy profits. But these days bonuses are usually linked to performance rather than just an end-of-year pat on the back to boost staff morale.
The idea of offering monetary bonuses didn’t occur until the start of the 20th century, as demonstrated in this handy infographic. But in recent years, the trend has been towards doing away with bonuses completely at some major operators.
For example, in the UK this year, Woodford Investment Management said it was cutting all bonuses to staff after their research revealed that bonuses had no effect on performance. Where bonuses do survive they tend to be linked to the annual pay review rather than tied in with end-of-year Christmas festivities. The days when a company provided a Christmas hamper for its staff seem as nostalgic as holly and mistletoe decorations.
Nevertheless, it’s the personal touch that many employees seem to appreciate, even more than cash. In discussing best practice ideas at Christmas, FindLaw Australia says the idea that someone in the company appreciates and values their employees, even by the giving of a small token, can serve to motivate individual employees and increase loyalty.
Although employees might say that they want cash rewards, this has the least incentive when it comes to performance, according to BI Worldwide, a company that helps businesses to motivate and engage their employees. Tim Houlihan, vice-president, says what works far better is a luxurious gift, something that an employee wouldn’t usually buy for themselves. Dholakia was clearly on the right track.
But perhaps what Australians appreciate more than anything is the chance to party. According to a Bank of Queensland survey in 2011, 86 per cent of small to medium-size organisations host Christmas parties for their staff and 65 per cent of them invite partners and family members as well. Incidentally, those businesses that do offer staff a bonus, three-quarters of them will offer a cash bonus rather than a gift or extra days off.