Christmas spirit can be a win-win

Christmas spirit can be a win-win

The book “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens’ comes to mind at this time of year, when the Ghost of Christmas Past comes to visit the miserly Scrooge to show him visions of Christmases in his past.

One such memory shown to Scrooge is of Fezziwig’s staff Christmas party where the cheerful staff all come together to celebrate Christmas with much joy and merriment, as the business closes for the holiday. Dickens makes the point that by spending very little, Fezziwig has made his staff feel very special.

The lesson in the story is about kindness and care, and it can be translated to running a business. By looking after employees in numerous small and not overly expensive ways, a business owner can make a sizable positive difference - to the employee, to their families, and also to the business.

Employees are people, with families, cares and plans. So when a business sets up provision for a future unknown, not only does it show care, but in practice it results in the employee’s family being looked after should something happen to the employee. The employee feels supported. The family benefits.

But it also benefits the business to have a plan in place if something happens to an employee. And for a business to have provision for contingencies, it may not require a huge cost. It could even save costs should a plan be in place, instead of the business lending or giving a lump sum to an employee or their family. It does require some foresight. And it simply makes sense.

If a staff member gets injured and can’t work, there is a chance that the business owner will be approached for funds to support the family. If an employee dies, the business owner may have to provide for the remaining family, or at the least, cover the costs of the funeral. Such a pay out may hit the business at a time when profits are down, or when other expenses are required, so it is not always the optimal way to deal with tragedy striking an employee.

In summary - if a business owner has made provision for such unfortunate circumstances, both the business and the employee and his/her family are better off.

Put that way, it seems to be a win-win for both parties.