Press Release Archive
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., December 4, 2006 — According to the latest Spherion® Workplace Snapshot survey conducted by Harris Interactive® , more than half of adult workers (57 percent) say it is not important to them that their employer has an annual holiday party, and almost half (46 percent) do not feel obligated to attend. The survey also suggests that employers may be listening—since only 58 percent of workers report their employers hold some type of annual holiday party.
So, just who does attend these functions? Slightly more than one-quarter of workers (27 percent) say they feel obligated to attend their employer’s annual holiday party (an equal percentage is neutral). Those who feel obligated are more likely to be women than men (30 percent vs. 24 percent) and younger rather than older workers (32 percent aged 18-24 and 40 percent aged 25-29). In addition, most are on their best behavior when attending, with 86 percent saying they have never embarrassed themselves at an employer’s holiday party. Only six percent admit to having done so (with another seven percent neutral).
“With only slightly more than half of employers even holding an annual holiday party, and the majority of workers saying such parties are not important to them, the traditional company holiday party may be headed for extinction,” observed Nancy Halverson, vice president of talent development at Spherion. “The workplace is changing, and with the rise of virtual and remote workers the idea of trying to bring everyone together to celebrate the holidays can seem a bit forced or awkward.”
Halverson believes many employers are beginning to re-evaluate the holiday party in favor of considering whether funds might be better used for other, more effective programs based on employee input.
“Each organization’s approach should reflect the values of the company and overall interest level of its employees,” says Halverson. “For a company with a tradition of extravagant holiday parties, for example, stopping cold turkey could do more harm than good. However, those whose parties have been modest or held inconsistently may have more flexibility.”
Employers might consider surveying employees to gauge their interest in a party as opposed to other options they may be able to accommodate, such as funding additional training opportunities, a coffee cart in the building, a pizza lunch or cash bonuses, according to Halverson.
She suggests “The end goal for any organization is to celebrate the spirit of the season by thanking employees for their hard work during the year—and the best way to do that may come as a surprise.”
Other results from the most recent Spherion Workplace Snapshot Survey:
Younger workers most likely to feel obligated to attend their employer’s annual holiday party.
32 percent of workers aged 18-24 and 40 percent aged 25-29 say they feel obligated to attend their employer’s holiday party, as compared to 21 percent aged 50-64 and 19 percent aged 65 or older).
Employees who feel obligated are concentrated at either end of the income spectrum—34 percent who earn under $15,000 and 33 percent who earn $75,000 or more annually.
Workers with college or post-graduate educations are most likely to feel obligated to attend—33 and 32 percent respectively.
Women are more likely than men (30 percent vs. 24 percent) to say they feel obligated to attend.
Slightly more than a quarter of all workers (27 percent) were neutral on the subject.
Workers aged 25-29 most likely to say it is important to them that their employer has an annual holiday party.
30 percent of workers aged 25-29 say it is important to them that their employer has an annual holiday party, compared to only 11 percent of workers aged 65 and older.
31 percent of workers who earn under $15,000 annually feel it is important that their employer has an annual holiday party—significantly more than any other income category.
Men are slightly more likely than women (20 percent vs. 17 percent) to say it is important to them.
Almost a quarter of all workers (24 percent) were neutral on the subject.
Great majority of workers have never embarrassed themselves at an employer’s holiday party.
86 percent of workers report they have not embarrassed themselves at an employer’s holiday party—compared to six percent who admit to having done so.
Of the few who have embarrassed themselves, the largest percentage is aged 25-29 (11 percent).
The November 2006 Spherion Workplace Snapshot is based on data from the Harris Interactive® QuickQuerySM online omnibus conducted monthly by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corporation. A U.S. sample of 1,639 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, was interviewed in a poll conducted November 7-9, 2006. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting adjusted for respondents' propensity to be online.
With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 1,639 U.S. employed adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- two percentage points. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN) is a leading recruiting and staffing company that provides integrated solutions to meet the evolving needs of companies and job candidates. As an industry pioneer for 60 years, Spherion has screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs. Positions range from administrative and light industrial to a host of professions that include accounting/ finance, information technology, engineering, manufacturing, legal, human resources and sales/marketing.
With approximately 650 locations in the United States and Canada, Spherion delivers innovative workforce solutions that improve business performance. Spherion provides its services to more than 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. Employing 375,000 people annually through its network, Spherion is one of North America’s largest employers. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com. For up-to-date career tips and trends, visit Spherion’s career blog, The Big TimeSM, at www.spherion.com/careerblog.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.
To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit http://go.hpolsurveys.com/PR.