News update – Homebase spruces up Christmas for staff

Festive gifts for staff are high up employers’ Christmas lists this year.

Notably Homebase is providing a pine tree for all employees.

Homebase is to give each of its 18,000 employees a 1.5m, authentic Christmas tree this year. Melody Hull, reward project manager at the DIY retailer, said it wanted to give something to staff that they could share with the whole family.

“We wanted to use Christmas as an opportunity to show staff around the business how much we appreciate all their hard work and effort during the last year,” she added.

It was designed to follow on in the tradition of the Christmas bonus that staff received when the company, which is now part of Gus, was owned by Sainsbury’s.

Hull said: “We felt this would be a fun and festive way to say ‘thank you’.”

The firm also made sure it announced it early to make sure staff didn’t buy their own trees.

Staff donating gifts to a children’s charity instead of colleagues buying each other a secret Santa gift prompted charitable trust bosses to rethink giving gift vouchers to staff at Christmas. SPDNS Nurse Care has dropped its regular gift voucher offering in favour of gifting staff a goat to be used in the third world. SPDNS’s scheme will be facilitated through the Send A Cow organisation, which provides farm animals to developing countries.

Rosalind Matty, care director at the trust, said: “Christmas isn’t just about nice presents; it’s about thinking about people who are a lot worse off than we are.”

She added: “It will be interesting to see how staff react.”

It will also be interesting to see how call centre employees at online bank ING Direct will react to being given a box of chocolates with their face imprinted on them. Jennie Monon, HR director, said: “We’re going to do champagne and chocolates for all the staff, but we’re actually branding the chocolate so each is a member of staff wrapped up in a picture of [themselves]. We have a lot of staff parties and take photos; the best we’ve put on the chocolate.”