Passing the hat at work

More than 80 per cent of executives say employees are asked to contribute to workplace celebrations
||Last Updated: 04/17/2006

Canadian employees are regularly being asked to raid their piggy banks in the name of workplace celebrations, according to a new survey by staffing service OfficeTeam.

The survey asked 100 senior Canadian executives just how regularly employees are being asked to give money to workplace events.

Four per cent of executives said their employees are asked once every week for a monetary donation, while 21 per cent said the hat is passed once a month, 25 per cent said it happens once every quarter and 31 per cent said it happens only once or twice a year. Nineteen per cent of executives said their employees are never asked to contribute their own money.

“Employees often pool resources to plan informal events to acknowledge personal milestones like staff birthdays or weddings,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “No one wants to appear a poor sport for not contributing, but when requests are made too frequently, employees may feel tapped out.”

Companies can help by leaving room in the budget for recognition events, said Domeyer, but it won’t prevent co-workers from wanting to chip in to buy a gift for a colleague.

OfficeTeam has these tips for celebration organizers:

•Be selective. Only ask those who are familiar with the person receiving the special attention to contribute.

•Keep it reasonable. Instead of specifying a dollar amount that everyone should contribute, ask employees to make a voluntary contribution of any size.

•Take a low-key approach. Send a general e-mail or circulate a donation envelope for anonymous contributions.

•Consider group celebrations. Bundle together recognition activities into quarterly events. Your organization may be willing to budget dollars to support the events to encourage team building.

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