Cold hard cash that can be banked or spent – that’s what nearly three quarters of the workers surveyed in a new Harris poll said they would prefer as a holiday gift from their employers this year. That’s in stark contrast to a mere four percent of people who said a holiday party was their most desired gift.
Whether it’s bah humbug or a sobering reflection of economic hard times, what is clear is that corporate leaders should rethink the holiday party and divert that money directly to the paychecks and bonuses of employees.
“What I hear from clients is that they don’t feel like they have enough time,” says Michele Woodward, a career strategist based in the D.C. area, who was not associated with the survey. “They come in early, they stay late. They don’t see enough of their family and friends. A holiday party feels like just another demand on their time, spent with people they already spend too much time with. Money, on the other hand, can be saved or spent as the employee sees fit.”
Of the 2,574 workers who answered the Harris poll, cash was most popular as a gift idea, followed by a salary increase (62 percent) and more paid time off (32 percent).
“What people are really asking for is a break from the rat race, or at least compensation for putting up with it,” Woodward notes.
“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,” Rusty Rueff of Glassdoor, the jobs-listing firm that commissioned the poll, told Reuters.
Gift cards from grocery stores, being able to work out of one’s home for a year, and company stocks or shares were almost among the most popular items listed, according to Reuters.
Other desirable goods or services mentioned by those who took the survey: a health care subsidy (10 percent); a gym membership (8 percent); and a commuter subsidy (three percent). A gold watch or other item or accessory was mentioned by a miniscule 2 percent of those surveyed.