The year is coming to an end, and with that comes the festive period, which is ushered in by Christmas and led out by the New Year. This period is always accompanied by a mixture of emotions – gaiety, anxiety, sadness, anger and so on. These feelings arise as a result of the heavy money-spending culture associated with the period. But then, as a lot of people have so much to spend, some have nothing at all. In-between these two extremes are those who wish to manage the little they have so that there will be enough to see them through the first month of the New Year. Consequently, this period is always the best time to show appreciation to all your employees.
Most employers overlook creating atmospheres of festivity in their offices believing that it is trivial. Some see it as a way of wasting resources. And then, there are those that feel that such practice may lead to the breakdown of order in the office.
However it is looked upon, workers need to unwind every now and then, even if it is once a year. This isn’t just a case of all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but also the case of Jack becoming an angry bird.
It is also true that some employers feel they have done all that is needed to appreciate workers because they pay them salaries. They, however, need to understand that salary is not a form of appreciation. Salary is payment for work done.
There are different reasons why employers need to appreciate their workers especially during this on-coming festive period. These include:
- Motivation: Workers are easily motivated by exhibitions of gratitude, especially when it comes from their employers.
- Assistance: The gifts received by workers within this period help them in their celebrations. For example, when workers know they will receive bags of rice for this Christmas period, they will divert the money for rice to something else, say meat, for the celebration.
- Fulfilment: What most employers didn’t know is that these workers expect “something” from them as Christmas gifts. By the time they received nothing from their bosses, they go home grumbling about how they are not appreciated for their efforts during the year.
Now, here are ways bosses can show their gratitude to their employees as they close shop for the year:
- Parties and Picnics: This method is usually applied if the boss wants to spend some quality time with his workers. It mustn’t be something elaborate. It could be done within the office premises and simple menu could be ordered for. The best way to make this party or picnic fulfilling is to ask the workers to invite their family and friends.
- Prize-Giving and Awards: This method motivates hard workers and encourages the slackers. But then, if this is not well handled, it could create friction among workers. The best way to give awards and prizes is to be neutral in selection. If non-recipients of awards suspect foul play, or partiality, they will be discouraged from giving in their best when they resume in January. It is, therefore, advised that companies set up modalities for presentations of awards and prizes at the beginning of the year. This is to enable all workers to judge themselves worthy or not of the prizes.
- Allowances and Bonuses: Some offices pay End of Year Allowance, popularly known as Thirteenth Month Salary. Most times, companies that pay these 13th Month allowance do not bother organising parties and award-giving ceremonies for their workers. But those that can afford it can still go ahead and do it. As for bonus, it all depends on how much the office was able to generate within the year – it is usually not a regular thing (unlike 13th Month allowance).
- Gifts from Employers: It is actually common in many parts of Nigeria for employers to give their employees food stuffs such as rice, vegetable oil, tomato puree, and, sometimes, bouillon cubes, for their Christmas celebration. But a lot of companies have either not subscribed to this beautiful tradition, or they have unsubscribed from it. There is need to re-invoke this tradition because it has saved a lot of people from the humiliation of not being able to celebrate the Christmas season with relish. Note that you mustn’t buy 50kg or 25kg rice and 20L vegetable oil as gifts for your staff. Just go for the much you can afford; they will appreciate it. In as much as people appreciate food stuffs more, especially those that have dependents that need it, there are still other gifts that can be given to staff members. The choice of gifts to be bought and shared depends on the make-up of the staff members. For example, if there are more married women and men, kitchen utensils and food stuff will be good options. If the staff make-up comprises of more bachelors, neck ties, cufflinks, belts and mugs should be considered too. As for spinsters, household items (such as buckets), kitchen utensils (such as smaller pots, vegetable cutters, and so on), small packs of foodstuffs and cloth (such as Nigerian wax) will suffice.
- Early Closure: Closing early from work gives the feeling of holiday. Employers may decide to close a day earlier (say on 23rd December) or a few hours before closing time. Works can also be scheduled within the week of festivity (27 December – 2nd January) in such a way that each worker has a day or two days off from work. It will be better if each of them is asked beforehand to state the days they wish to work within that period.
It is still too early to plan for the best way you can show gratitude to your workers for helping you grow your company within this year, 2019. Energise them now so they will make your 2020 a better and more fruitful year.