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Are staff Christmas parties worth the spend?

Iain McMath, CEO of Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services, a leading provider of employee benefits and reward services in the UK, looks at whether staff Christmas parties are worth the spend:

It’s important to encourage group activity during the year, but there is a danger for the festive season to become a forced entertainment fixture which may not suit all employees, whilst also proving very expensive for the company.

To get around this, some companies have started & lsquo;celebrating success’ in more quiet periods, outside of Christmas. For example, Sodexo has two events every year – as opposed to just the one at Christmas - across a range of venues to appeal to all staff. In addition, opting for a different time of year means businesses are able to make significant savings that can be invested back into employees via individual gifting during the festive season.

In addition to the cost, Christmas parties should be considered as part of a broader reward strategy. Employers must ensure they individually tailor rewards to each member of staff, allowing employees to take a role in shaping their own benefits by asking them what they’d really like for Christmas. With such diverse workforces, there will always be those that don’t celebrate the festive season, so Christmas should really be seen as an opportunity to say & lsquo;thank you’ to staff, rather than just & lsquo;Happy Christmas’.

Christmas parties can be a good opportunity to bring teams together and thank them for their hard work throughout the year. However, employers must question whether they are & lsquo;giving back’ to employees in the most effective way, or if the expense could be better spent on an alternative form of reward.

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