Will Workers be Rockin' around the Christmas Tree or is the Party Over?

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• The Annual work bash takes a hit this year • Over 1 in 3 workers will not be having a Christmas Party this Year • 77% believe cancelling of Christmas party effects staff morale • Only 20% to receive bonus this year compared to 46% in 2007 • If employees had a choice, 91% would prefer a bonus over a Christmas party

Are the festive frolics being dampened by the downturn in our economy? According to over 1,700 respondents to a recent survey the answer is "Yes". Nearly 35% of employees have stated they will not be having a Christmas party this year and out of these, 4 out of 5 blame the downturn in the economy. For those who are having a party, 2 out of 5 respondents claim that their party has been scaled down on previous years. Although many companies have certainly taken a hit in recent months a significant majority (60%) feel employers are using the economic downturn as a reason to scale back on spending on social events. The survey carried out by RecruitIreland.com reveals whether employees will be rockin' around the Christmas tree this year or is the party over?

However, the question is, does the cancelling of this Christmas ritual actually have any effect on employees' attitudes? 77% of respondents believed that the cancelling of the annual bash had a negative effect on staff morale, divided by 46% believing staff need to be shown appreciation and 31% believe it makes employees feel worried and concerned about the future of the company. On the other side though, 68% of employees said if the party was cancelled it would have no effect on their loyalty to the company and that they understand that savings must be achieved somehow.

Commenting on the results, Rebecca Clark of RecruitIreland.com said "From the results we can see that it is important for staff to feel that their hard work is appreciated, especially in these uncertain times. So our advice to employers is to make sure to have some sort of social event to show their appreciation, even if it is only drinks after work in the office and talk with your staff to help them understand the position of the company so that they do not worry and can feel as secure as possible in their jobs"

Money seems to be at the top of everyone's wish list this Christmas. 91% of employees said they would prefer to get a bonus than have a Christmas party. However, only 20% of employees say they will receive a bonus this year, a significant drop from last year when 46% said they would receive a bonus. As for salary increase next year, 45% believe they will get a salary increase, 43% think they probably will not and 12% have been told they will not be getting a salary increase.

Employees are also planning on reigning in on spending this Christmas with 3 out of four respondents stating they will be spending less on presents this year and its no wonder when nearly 60% believe the economy will get worse before it gets better and one in every five have serious concerns about the future. So with the outlook for 2009 looking uncertain people plan to take control for themselves by making a New Years resolution. 54% said they would make a resolution, with the top resolution being to lose weight at 50% but closely followed by getting a new job at 45%. So although people are worried they are still prepared to go out and look for a new job so its all the more important for employers to embrace the Christmas spirit and show employees their appreciation.

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Una O’ Murchu
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