By Daniel Hunter

A Christmas bonus came top of bosses’ wish list in a poll published today (Friday) by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), though 79% of managers said they weren’t actually expecting to receive one this year.

In a survey of over 1,500 managers, 38% said a bonus would be the best Christmas present they could get from their company. A promotion was the second choice with 15%, followed closely by more staff (13%) and more training (12%).

“Whilst a promotion offers a longer term benefit for managers’ careers, the gift bosses are hoping for is a bonus, despite most believing they will not get their wish," Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, said.

"It’s an interesting conundrum for organisations in these straitened times: how to reward staff for a job well done whilst being careful with the coffers, and how to look to long-term, sustainable growth rather than short-term rewards.”

Meanwhile, with nearly two thirds (62%) of offices getting ready for the work Christmas party, the survey found that a fifth (20%) dread their workplace celebrations and almost a third (31%) of managers worry about the possible fallout following the festive party.

Topping the list of their concerns are: team members drinking too much (72%); colleagues becoming aggressive and arguing (38%); and attendance in the office and productivity suffering the following day due to hangovers (29%). Almost two fifths (38%) of managers are expecting to see a drop in productivity in the run up to Christmas, with many noticing their colleagues seem more stressed (24%), distracted (28%) and tired (24%).

One in 10 (10%) managers said they had disciplined staff members after the Christmas party due to inappropriate behaviour in the past and, when asked about the most inappropriate types of behaviour, they cited:

1. Saying something rude / offensive to another member of staff (94%)
2. Shouting at the boss (83%)
3. Removing items of clothing (76%)
4. Bringing up work-related differences of opinion (50%)
5. Dancing on the tables (44%)

Managers don’t appear too concerned about colleagues getting overly friendly under the mistletoe, with ‘kissing a colleague’ ranked at the bottom of the list of inappropriate behaviour (37%) and just 13% of managers expressing concern about it.

Just 29% see the Christmas work party as an opportunity to let their hair down and enjoy themselves, while a sixth (15%) view it as the chance to get the ear of their boss and network with senior colleagues. Almost half (49%) saw the Christmas party as a chance for employers to thank them for their hard work.

“Having a Christmas party is a milestone event in the office calendar; however, it can also be a minefield for managers," Charles Elvin continued.

"Not only do they have to walk the tightrope of being seen to let their hair down while remaining in a position of responsibility, they also need to be ready to deal with any problems that may arise and respond quickly and effectively.

“Research we recently carried out found a definitive, positive correlation between happiness in the office and productivity levels amongst workers, and the festive season brings this challenge to managers — to show their appreciation for a year of hard work, while keeping the team motivated and enthused in the run up to the Christmas break.”

When asked what one present they would buy their boss, over a quarter (26%) said they wouldn’t want to give them anything. Amongst those that felt more in the giving mood, 42% said they would buy their boss a drink at the bar, 11% opted for flowers and 9% chocolates.

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