How to get the office Secret Santa/Kris Kringle right
With Christmas around the corner, many offices will be looking to organise the gift-giving tradition of Secret Santa or Kris Kringle.
It can often be a source of worry for some business owners, as some staff can be offended and it could erode trust instead of building morale.
For example, an overweight worker in America got diet pills as their present – how upsetting! And one manager received edible underwear from a subordinate – very inappropriate!
HR tips to make your Secret Santa/Kris Kringle a success
We’ve put together have a few tips on how to make the most of it and some common pitfalls to avoid!
- Don’t force people to take part. Not everyone has extra cash around the holidays, especially those with children or those who care for someone.
- Set a price limit. It’ll differ for each industry and company, but keeping it reasonable will let more people join in.
- Get staff to fill out a little profile about themselves. Staff may learn a bit about their colleagues they may not have previously known.
- Suggest a list of generic gifts such as chocolates or drinks and let a staff profile give an option for a present idea or any dietary requirements.
- Gently remind people that HR policies still apply. Nobody wants to watch the boss’ face as they open up a very rude present!
- Set a date for buying and wrapping and ask people to pop them under the tree. It’ll make the office feel even more festive.
- If you’re worried it might all blow up, why not swap Secret Santa with a Christmas baking competition and ask everyone to contribute a dish.
Have clear policies in place before the festive period and ensure staff understand that any party is an extension of the workplace. For advice on having a successful and incident-free Christmas celebrations, contact your local HR Dept.
Avoiding the fireworks: Workplace mediation
According to research from the publishers of the Myers-Briggs personality test, over 60 percent of employees have never received conflict management and dispute resolution training. But almost all of those who did reported being able to navigate conflict more positively.
Working with colleagues, managers and contractors often sees different types of personalities clashing. Workplace mediation can help.
How can workplace mediation benefit my business?
Mediation can be an alternative to the costly and time-consuming process of grievance procedures. It offers a space to air out misconceptions and miscommunications which can often be the root cause of workplace conflict. Workplace mediation is a positive opportunity for people to resolve practical problems and personal issues.
Does my business really need workplace mediation?
Hopefully not! Conflict can be healthy and constructive. It can help teams develop creative ideas and find new ways of doing things.
Mediation may be needed when healthy competition and a challenging exchange of ideas turns into bullying, harassment and undermining of colleagues. This can have a negative effect in a number of ways. For smaller businesses in particular, the impact can be significant.
What can my business do to avoid conflict?
Conflict is a natural and normal part of the workplace. But identifying at which point to intervene and manage conflict can be difficult. The best way to avoid conflict spiraling out of control is to set an open and honest culture that encourages competition, but also a healthy respect for each other.
To find out how mediation and grievance management could work for you, get in touch with your local HR Dept.
How to manage employees when temperatures soar?
It can be hard for staff to concentrate in the sweltering conditions, especially as summer approaches.
Here are some tips to help you get through summer:
In this season, you need to carry out a risk assessment. Look at the environment, type of work being carried out and any staff with needs – such as a pregnant employee or someone with medical conditions. You should then address any issues. For example, could outside workers start earlier or later to avoid the midday sun?
It is time to relax the dress code a little, but standards of decency must be maintained. We suggest casual, smart, loose-fitting clothing. However, wear protective clothing to keep cool. It is not cool to land in the hospital! High factor sun cream for those working outside seems a sensible approach.
The warm weather generally increases the risk of sickness, especially sunstroke or hay fever. As we always recommend, you should carry out a return-to-work interview.
Although some employees may believe a bit of sun relaxes the workplace rules, you need to manage consistently and fairly.
If you require support, The HR Dept is here to help. Contact your local office today.
Don’t let Black Friday cast a shadow over your productivity
Black Friday is almost upon us. If you are a retailer, Black Friday is likely to be one day you do not have any productivity issues with staff. But for businesses in other sectors, you may have real issues.
If you have concerns, you can adopt whether you run a tight ship or prefer a more relaxed approach.
The strict approach – Before the day, send out a staff email reminding people of your internet policy and the risk if they breach it. If you want the option of monitoring employee internet use, it is wise to give them advance notice to avoid encroaching on their privacy.
The flexible approach – For crazy shoppers on your payroll, you could softly suggest they take a day’s holiday to let them get their fix. You could even permit some flextime for them to get their shopping done on the proviso that they make it up before or after.
Whichever approach you choose, it is important to be consistent. Ensure all staff are treated the same.
We are here to help. Black Friday might show you it’s time to get some proper written policies, give us a call.
How to handle the ‘sickie’ over the festive period?
For businesses that are open across the holiday season, it’s likely to be a skeleton staff. But if someone phones in sick, it can cause havoc and unanticipated service gaps.
Tips on managing sickies
- Be mindful that most people are genuinely unwell – Sick staff don’t make productive people, especially when Covid-19 is still a major factor.
- Remind staff before the holidays of how to report sickness – Make sure there’s a clear policy of who they should report to and how to inform them they are sick.
- Book in a ‘return to work’ meeting – If staff are off sick, check in when they return and see if there are any adjustments needed to help them ease back into work.
- Check social media – Seeing if they went out for the day or suddenly felt well enough to go out partying can go some way to provide evidence for an investigation.
If you need help on how to investigate or discipline staff that might be faking it, get in touch.