Heartless Scrooges: Most bosses don't give holiday gifts, say employees

As the Great Resignation rolls through America, a survey offers a deeply painful picture of employer/employee relationships. It doesn't feel festive.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

It just takes a little thought.

Relations between employers and employees aren't currently at their warmest.

As more and more employees walk out on their (often low-paying) jobs, employers entertain themselves by using more and more surveillance software.

Trust has been tossed to the winds.

Yet here we are, careening toward Christmas, so you'd think that a little warmth would descend, a little spirit of the season.

Sadly, a disturbing survey has descended onto my screen. Its results are likely to bring many to tears and quite a few to update their resignation letters.

What if I told you that 72% of bosses didn't buy their employees a holiday gift last year?

Yes, almost three-quarters of the nation's great leaders didn't stop to think that those stuck at home -- or toiling in the outside world during a pandemic -- might need a little gesture of thanks.

It's not as if online shopping is all that hard, is it? But the more than 1,000 employees surveyed here insisted they got nothing.

Here's another result of this survey that may make you wonder about life. 59% of those surveyed "said they would be more likely to stay at their job if they received meaningful holiday gifts from their employer."

Oh, wait a minute. This can't be true, can it? A gift, a sign of appreciation, can be more valuable than, say, a big, fat bonus?

It was only at this point that I wondered who was behind this survey.

You'll be stunned into instantly buying everyone a sequined Santa hat when I tell you it was a company called Snappy. This claims to be "sending smiles, one gift at a time." Because it's an "all-in-one gifting platform."

Do you mean Amazon isn't? Please tell that to the majority of Americans.

Ah, but Snappy insists that it's not enough to buy your employees a gift. It has to be a gift they'll love. And that, claims Snappy, is most certainly not a gift card.

"While some companies turn to gift cards as a way to show appreciation as a default option, this solution is often viewed by recipients as impersonal," says the company. "Worse yet, 56% of respondents said that they have either forgotten to use or lost a gift card before redeeming it -- meaning that those types of investments don't always translate to happier teams."

Dear boss, this is the moment to show whether you truly love your employees or not. This is the moment to recognize that they aren't just cogs in your self-enriching machine. They're real human beings with specific needs and predilections.

So set aside some meaningful time to consider what would make your employees' eyes water just a little. 

And yes, thank you for asking; ZDNet does have a handy Black Friday gift guide.

But that's not why I'm writing this column. I'm writing it because I want to protect you from a flurry of resignations.

Humans can be emotional, you know. Yes, even in tech.

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