It’s getting to that time of year again where every HR blogger talks about how to deal with Christmas Parties and what to do when Dave from Sales pinches Sally the receptionist’s bum. But this year is the first year I’ve had to actually discuss Father Christmas with my daughter, and I blame the nursery for this. Last night she told me, on the way home, that Father Christmas was bringing her “lots and lots of presents”.
She’s two. I was hoping for at least another year of blissful ignorance, to keep costs down. So much for my scrooge-like approach… it looks like there will be a Christmas in the Cartman household!
So I’m going to be making Father Christmas even busier than he thought he would be. I’ll have to write a letter on my daughter’s behalf, and that letter will doubtlessly be processed and presents will be made and dispatched. I wonder how many people work for Father Christmas, given the workload. What’s he like as an employer?
Is Father Christmas a seasonal employer?
We have this rather rosy image of Father Christmas and his elves making the presents, bagging them up, and Father Christmas himself delivering the presents all on the same night, around midnight. And of course, this is exactly what he does. But is he just a seasonal employer or does he manufacture presents all year round, perhaps taking advantage of the lucrative birthday market (without us knowing?)
The elves are surely employed on seasonal contracts, which means that they would be free to seek alternative work during the spring and summer, ahead of the Christmas rush. This might mean that they don’t get a Christmas bonus, of course…
Does Father Christmas consider wellness?
There are several issues here. Firstly, as one of the most northerly employers in the world, Father Christmas makes his elves work in some of the darkest conditions possible – at times for 23 hours a day. Surely, they’re susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder? If so, he needs to allow the elves access to natural daylight, especially if it is only available for an hour a day.
Secondly, the workload must be enormous. Not only does Father Christmas cover the lucrative UK market, but he has the rest of the believing world to consider. This is millions of children requiring many more millions of presents. However, even in Lapland, there will be laws requiring that the elves only work a certain number of hours per day, and that they are entitled to a minimum number of breaks.
The stress of preparing millions of presents for Christmas must take its toll on the elves, so I’m sure that Father Christmas has an EAP or a wellness scheme that not only helps pinpoint stressed elves, but prevents stress becoming an issue in the first place.
Father Christmas must have a talent strategy
While it’s true that Father Christmas doesn’t have any rivals in the Christmas industry, elves are hard to come by, and good elves need to be nurtured and brought through the ranks so that they can be retained for the following Christmas.
When considering recruitment, Father Christmas probably advertises in the Lapland local newspaper, but he could broaden his reach and go online, of course. His HR department are surely on the lookout for talented elves, but I’m hopeful that their internal promotion ratio is on the rise.
Is employing elves discriminatory?
Finally, a consideration for Father Christmas. While we are unaware of the precise legislation regarding recruitment in Lapland, we would have to question Father Christmas’s policy of only employing elves for the production of Christmas presents. While he may be sticking to tradition, the world has moved on, and advertising a job role with a specific height in mind can be discriminatory.
The last thing we want is for Father Christmas to end up in a tribunal case because he refused to employ someone who was not an elf, despite having significant experience in the present-manufacturing industry.
And maybe, just maybe, wondering whether Father Christmas has an HR department takes a little magic away from Christmas, and maybe, just maybe, I should put my hand in my pocket and accept that there’s no way out! Now how do I go about asking HR for a pay rise, hmm?
About the Author
Gareth Cartman is a blogger with a particular interest in HR, outsourcing & marketing.