The Philippines is known to have the longest Christmas season. This may be good news for some but it certainly is of concern to business and industry. A slowing down of workers’ enthusiasm for getting tasks done can lead to loss of productivity. Focus on preparations for family reunions, selection and shopping for gifts, arrangements for balikbayan relatives and friends could divert attention from office activities.
The need for funds increases as companies deal with paying half of the 13th month pay (other half given in June to meet tuition fees). For some, expectations for a 14th month or some form of Christmas bonus have to be met as well as enterprise-wide Christmas party or separate unit parties. Yet funds inflow could slow down as clients, also beset with their cash flow issues, decide to settle debts next year. I remember an instance when we were frantically trying to collect, only to find out no one was answering their office phone. We later discovered that the whole staff had gone to Thailand for their Christmas holiday. Even the expected Christmas revenues may be lower as customers had used their funds to meet the high cost of living due to inflation in the previous months.
Given this scenario, should corporations adopt the Filipino attitude of “bahala na” with the hope of squaring finances in the first quarter of 2019? Should top management lead by hieing off to holidays abroad? To me the Christmas season is a good opportunity for the corporation to strengthen the workforce’s commitment to company goals and strengthen the corporate culture, especially when there is an ongoing effort to change such for the better.
The various units can be encouraged to review their operations and instead of contests on best Christmas decorations, they can post in displays at their office entrances, the best practices they are rightfully proud of. The office-wide Christmas celebration can have a portion recognizing both the units with high returns and those that have embedded the appropriate values of good governance. Instead of having the staff come either in red or green, the Christmas colors, they can come in the color of the company logo and present tableaus illustrative of the enterprise’s tagline. The endresult is a reaffirmation to the company values and goals; a solid foundation for the coming year.
Enterprises have outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives coordinated by a unit or through a company foundation. Regretfully, many of the company’s employees are not aware of the good that is being done. The Christmas season is an appropriate occasion to highlight these efforts through photo exhibits or scheduling some activities during this period with the involvement of the staff. It is also the right time to inform the public of the company’s CSR projects.
The Christmas season is the best time to reinforce the bonds of unity and cooperation of management and staff. Visiting the various units to wish them, “Merry Christmas!” will be deeply appreciated by the employees. A Christmas letter to far flung units spread all over the archipelago will lift spirits and reinvigorate all to meet the enterprise objectives.
Christmas should be more than a celebration; it should be a time of renewal. All for the best interest of the enterprise and its stakeholders.