The countdown to Christmas has begun, and HR people are no doubt busy writing their list for Santa.

Here’s what we at Cezanne HR think they’d probably like to find in their stocking on Christmas morning:

A crisis-free Christmas party

‘Tis the season to be jolly – but while employees are letting their hair down at the festive corporate bash, HR people are nervously crossing their fingers and hoping the Christmas party passes without incident. There’s the ever-present possibility that: 1) Karen from accounts will be found in flagrante delicto with David from marketing in the stationery cupboard; 2) an alcohol-fuelled employee will tell their manager what they really think about them; 3) someone will photocopy their bottom. Dear Santa, a New Year without the prospect of a disciplinary hearing would be very nice thank you!

Peace and goodwill among employees

It’s Christmas and joy is all around – well at least that’s what HR practitioners would like anyway. Staff spats take up inordinate amounts of HR time. Managers come barging through HR’s door demanding someone be instantly sacked – or worse, announce to HR that they have just told someone they’re sacked. Employees come knocking on HR’s door complaining their manager is giving them too much work/not enough money/a hard time. And we won’t even talk about the colleagues who let a personality clash get the better of them and end up having a screaming match in the office. Dear Santa, if everyone could get on just for a few days it would be so nice. PS. Please also give all managers a copy of the staff handbook with the disciplinary procedures page highlighted in red.

Technology with tinsel

How much annual leave do I have left? When is the next round of appraisals due? How much time off sick have my team had in the last month? The list of questions from employees and managers is endless. HR people are drowning in paperwork, struggling to get their nose out of numerous spreadsheets and are running out of time to go and buy the turkey. Dear Santa, please can we have an on-line HR system with all the (jingle) bells and whistles so that we can streamline the people processes and spend time next year concentrating on the strategic stuff.

Wise man (or woman) status

All year round, HR has been turning up at the board’s (stable) door, bearing gifts. May we present you with this talent management strategy? Please accept the HR data you need to inform your business decisions. Here, with our compliments, is an employee engagement programme designed to help the business get the best out of its people? And is HR appreciated for the long journey it’s been on and the offerings it brings to the table? A lot of the time – no. In fact, poor old HR often struggles to win the respect in the business and has come in for an awful lot of flak this year. Dear Santa, if you’d like to bring us some Christmas cheer, how about organising some senior management support and a better understanding of the value HR can bring?

A less Scrooge-like budget

When the money’s being handed out, the HR department is often pretty low down in the queue. Marketing gets the big bucks, IT rarely has to argue for investment, but HR tends to be fall into the Bob Cratchit category and has to scratch around with a budget that’s frankly lacking in Christmas sparkle. Scrooge is alive and well in the finance department and although HR can always hope, he’s unlikely to turn up on Christmas eve with a bag full of gold coins. Dear Santa, we know everyone’s had to tighten their belt this year, but things are looking up and we’d really appreciate it if you could find a bit extra next year.

The Cezanne HR blog will be back in January. In the meantime, a merry Christmas and happy New Year to all our readers!

Erika Lucas author image

Erika Lucas

Writer and Communications Consultant

Erika Lucas is a writer and communications consultant with a special interest in HR, leadership, management and personal development. Her career has spanned journalism and PR, with previous roles in regional press, BBC Radio, PR consultancy, charities and business schools.