Substantial segment of Canadian employers scrubbing holiday parties this year
December 12, 2011
As Canadian organizations strap their budgets in light of global economic uncertainty, human resource departments may be forced to bear a substantial portion of company spending cuts.
According to a report released last month by the Human Resources Professionals Association, more than two-thirds of Canadian employers - 39 percent - are not holding a holiday party this year. Of respondents who do usually have company parties at this time of year, more than half - 56 percent - claim they would understand if organizers scaled back party budgets in light of economic circumstances.
"Whether this year has been good or bad for your organization, the holidays are a key time for recognizing hard work and thanking employees for a job well done," said Claude Balthazard, vice president of regulatory affairs and registrar at HRPA. "But that doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of a lavish party. It's the thought that counts."
Nearly one-in-five respondents claimed they would be disappointed if their employer nixed this year's holiday party, and 4 percent said they would be angry. Balthazard recommends that organizations unable to hold a party consider planning something less costly but which would still engage employees, such as dinners and cocktail receptions.
Maintaining employee morale through parties, bonuses and work incentive programs is paramount during the busy end-of-the-year period, when employers are forced to update their payroll, billing and bookkeeping measures for the coming year.
However, recent setbacks in the U.S. job market have made this year particularly challenging for employee engagement. Stagnant wage growth, high unemployment and general market uncertainty have rendered U.S. workers dejected and unmotivated. A survey released last week by Glassdoor and Harris Interactive found nearly three-quarters of U.S. employees - 72 percent - would prefer a cash bonus as their top choice for a holiday perk.
Until we see the impacts of The Great Recession further recede, when it comes to what employees want, it starts with cash and other financial perks to make sure that ends can be met over the holidays," said Rusty Rueff, career and workplace expert at Glassdoor. "Now is the time to listen closely to what employees need and respond accordingly."