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    Employees make it clear that they prefer money to gifts

    Team-building events, company Christmas parties, Christmas vouchers, gifts for employees, and Santa bonuses. December is full of opportunities for employers to show their gratitude to employees. Unfortunately, the time of economic crisis and rising inflation is not conducive to the employee-employer agreement in this regard. Subordinates who are really affected by inflation expect additional gratification, while entrepreneurs are increasingly inclined towards austerity and rather symbolic expressions of gratitude.

    “This is not the season for lavish team-building events, company Christmas Eve and for spending money on token gifts. It’s a very expensive pastime, and employees are speaking out: instead of company meetings, we prefer vouchers or money,” says Anna Sudolska, labour market expert.

    Entrepreneurs are making savings

    November’s inflation reading is just over 17%. Although officially the unemployment rate is not rising, uncertainty is already felt in many companies. Workers in construction and factories, as well as those in corporations or the creative sector, are afraid for their jobs. The year 2023 is still unknown. So, it is unclear whether company meetings, Christmas Eve parties and integrations are a good idea.

    “The company Christmas Eve in many corporations has always been a celebration. It is a time for employee appreciation, integration or team-building. However, there is no denying that in uncertain times, spending tens of thousands of zlotys on a single get-together seems like a bravura act. Many companies are abandoning such practices simply because of the need to save money,’ says Anna Sudolska.

    Is the lack of organisation of company Christmas Eve a great loss for companies? 

    “Integration is always a positive factor for teamwork. Reducing the budget for company events, including Christmas Eve and holidays, does not necessarily mean immediately that such a meeting will not take place. It all depends on what the company culture is and whether employees will want to attend a more modest meeting. We can certainly conclude that December 2022 is another season when there will be very few events of this type. Just like in a pandemic,” says Anna Sudolska.

    Do you want to appreciate an employee? Give him or her money, even if it’s less than last year

    So, what do employees expect for Christmas? The vast majority will simply choose gratification in money instead of meetings, integration or gifts.

    “If an employer wants to buy gadgets, gifts, and souvenirs for employees, it is not a very good idea this season. It is worth mentioning, for example, one of the supermarket chains that decided to present its employees with coffee, sweets and wallets. ‘Leaving aside the quality of these products, it is certain that employees would prefer to receive a modest bonus rather than a basket of sweets,” says Anna Sudolska.

    “It’s important to understand that many businesses can’t afford hefty Christmas bonuses or vouchers, but on the other hand, employee motivation is important and the lack of extra treats at Christmas can be seen as ignoring the needs of employees at a difficult time for them. When inflation is increasing any support is invaluable and a bonus will certainly be more appreciated than gifts, which also cost money,” he adds.

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