this December, surveys and our anecdotal reports indicate that
many businesses are forgoing the annual year end celebration or
holiday party. We all know the standard reasons why- no money, not
thoughtful to have a party when other employees lost their jobs,
wrong signal, not everyone celebrates during the holidays, someone
might not behave, we might offend someone, etc. Somehow this
blessed recession has made it okay to let employees head out for a
few days off, to spend time with their friends and loved ones, and
ring in the new year without so much as a fruit cake from their
employer. The pendulum has swung from wretched excess to
workplaces that would make Ebenezer Scrooge proud.
No doubt, it has been an extremely difficult time for our economy
and our industry, and there are few forecasts of a quick
recovery. However we do see signs of the bottom being
reached, and know that when the turn comes, we are just as likely
to get caught unprepared as we did in early 2008 when the slide
started. Our workforce has been stretched at every level of the
organization, from the front desk to the corner office. Fewer
employees, with fewer resources, are working harder to help their
organization become healthy and profitable. Compensation has
either declined or is flat. Rewards are scarce.
Recognition should not be equally scarce. We simply cannot
take for granted that the employees who are with us today will stay
with us once their options increase. Talent always has
options. At the recent Conference Board Senior HR Executive confab predictions were made for the perfect
storm of 2010; created by low employee engagement, boomer
retirements, the growing skills gap and a recovering
economy. That storm can cause a huge wave of exiting
workers in the years ahead; workers who have no reason to stay, who
have no long-term incentives, or workers who were treated poorly or
just ignored when times were tough.
Send the Grinch and Scrooge packing; do a service project
together, have a potluck dinner, have a Bake-off (real men really
do bake) go bowling, have a Secret Santa exchange, order pizza, go
buy a box of cards and write some personal notes, just find a way
to say THANK YOU. It matters just as much in December as it
does any other time of year, maybe this year more than ever.
Share your frugal but thoughtful ideas here - we promise not to
send you a fruit cake.