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Why most companies are two months late organising Christmas

 

In July, everyone was talking about the World Cup, in December, everyone talks about Christmas. The biggest brands spend millions on sponsoring and advertising events people talk about for months in advance and intensely for two weeks while it’s happening. Most companies take advantage of the World Cup to organise parties, screenings, quizzes and motivational activity to engage with staff and make the work place a bit more fun. Smaller companies tend to do the same at Christmas, but large companies seem to let the biggest annual event in the calendar slip by.

 

Just when all their staff are talking about one thing, Christmas, most large companies fall flat on planning: they don’t organise events, they don’t engage with staff, they don’t organise parties, photo competitions, quizzes, or secret santa.  What’s the effect?

 

Everyone’s looking forward to time off, there’s excitement, chatter, drama and a big reason to engage, yet too many companies fail feed into the buzz. It’s not an issue of being non-denominational or exclusive.  The majority of the world celebrates this time of year, whether for religious reasons or because of the break in the global business calendar, and quite frankly, I’m not aware of many people taking offense because the BBC called it Christmas Day TV!

 

So what are companies doing about it?  Making a meager announcement in late November about holiday cover or finding a reason to talk about it two months in advance? Look in the shops, the cards are already on the shelves and by November 6th the retail community will be in full swing.

 

Booked your party yet? You really should have started in the early summer to get the best dates, but there is still time.  The questions which needed to be asked are, have you formed an organising committee and have you rallied staff to get involved, so they know something’s cooking? What comms tools are you using? Have you booked an enticing venue that will keep your staff smitten to look at every Christmas communication to find out where? Is there a dedicated website? Will you have an advent calendar competition with interesting/unknown facts about your company? Will it be fancy dress? Will you have photograph competitions? Did you do a survey monkey to ask staff what kind of Christmas event they would most value?  Are you reevaluating using the same hotel you’ve used around the corner for the past decade, or the value of something fresh? Has your social media started teasers?  

 

Employers shouldn’t worry about supplying alcohol, running a cash bar leaves individuals free to choose what they do, but booking a venue and organising communication is appreciated. It’s a case of facilitating and maximizing the festivity: showing you care.

 

It gives staff something to look forward to, something to be apart of.  It’s not about the degree of money spent on the party, it’s the thought behind building up to something which benefits all staff.

 

Companies spend substantial amounts of money on internal communications.  Not everything has the universal appeal of Christmas so why not place more resource on its promotion? It might just bring down the cost of Christmas and extend the benefits of existing staff communications.

Christmas is for many the busiest and best time of the year and your staff will be engaged in it – it’s a pity if you aren’t.

 

Nigel Cooper, executive director, Motivcom (www.motivcom.com)