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Boss, cash to spare?

We always preferred money to office parties. Now there's confirmation from our American colleagues.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2011 21:59 IST

We know how fond human resource departments of other companies are of our advice. But this time round, we want people much closer home to heed what we have to say. It's official — at least in the United States: most employees would prefer money to parties or gifts this Christmas-New Year season. In a poll conducted in the US, 3/4th of the 2,574 workers surveyed said they would opt for a cash bonus, followed by 62% who would prefer a salary increase and 32% who wanted more paid leave. In other words, it's about the money, honey and the rousing words from the boss won't work any more.

If America needed an economic downturn to figure out that nugget of wisdom, we desis, working for cost-cutting, who-needs-quality-when-we-can-get-quantity firms for years, always knew that there's nothing called a free Diwali mithai gift box. If we're smiling that only 4% Americans in the survey put a Christmas party on the top of their holiday demand, it's only because we've had our fair share of spirited parties before a dispiriting e-mail reached our inboxes telling us that despite the great job done, it's been a hard year, so there won't be any raises, yada yada yada. Twenty-first century employee morale-boosters such as having an office gym or off-sites (not in Macau but in Manesar) or a whole day of 'fun activities' (management lessons in disguise) would be all very fine as long as the Real McCoy keeps coming. But in the absence of the only incentive that matters — money — these become frills that all of us can do without.

In India, one of the best kept secrets in all offices used to be the old veteran who helped the HR department to keep monetary aspirations artificially low by telling younger colleagues, "In my time, we used work twice as much for one-third the pay." This man functioned as an official 'shamer' to folks hankering for more. Now that he has been assigned to the office dustbin, it's glaringly obvious that cold cash or variants of it is what we, blue, white or frilly-collared workers of the world, want both on and off festival seasons. As for year-end office parties or other exciting ruses, give employees that extra money and they'll set them up themselves.