It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Last year I wrote this overview of conditions at the North Pole. This year, we'd like to invite the community to examine the dilemmas that face that very unique enterprise as it goes about its business.

I'll start off with 15 days until Christmas Eve - please feel free to give your thoughts as to how each day might look.

15 Days to go

We are well behind track at the factory and we are struggling to make up time. We've had 17 elves off sick with a variant of the flu that appears to be strongly linked to our communication of the revised incentive structure.

The recent currency fluctuations, due to Lapxit, mean that there is a general degree of nervousness and some tension in the workshop and we've had to revise our projections accordingly. We are also having to deal with rumours we will be shifting to the South Pole as a result.

The reindeer are debating the contract status and asking to be regarded as employees, but from our point of view we only need them for one night a year and don't really want to have to provide them with the same benefits as Patch the Master Builder, who represents the top notch of our knowledge work.

It's tougher than last year - we are doing more with less hence the issues with not being able to provide enough hatchimals - but I'm hoping the new Mission Statement ('Always be fully presents') will hope motivate the troops. Can you help continue the story...?

  • Maybe it's time to start looking at annualised hours, as the contracts the elves are working to is hitting the WTD limits, and we have barely started warming up for shipping...

    The strategy of diversity in recruitment is making production increasingly difficult as the new elf recruits at over 5' tall cannot go through the doorways without hitting their heads. Why oh why won't HR let us keep to the "standard elf" recruitment of old... :(

  • The bosses of Sports Direct and FIFA are flying in - private jet, naturally- to advise on employee engagement and business ethics. Unfortunately, an unexpected snowstorm diverts them, and the plane is ditched in icy waters with no survivors.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    8 Dec, 2016 13:42

    In reply to Nick Spindler:

    [Gulp! Black comedy]
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    With only token apologies for the rather offtopic / spiritual content and for the text length, herewith some tragicomic / ironic verse by the Cornish poet Charles Causley (1917-2003):
    Who’s that knocking on the window,
    Who’s that standing at the door,
    What are all those presents
    Laying on the kitchen floor?

    Who is the smiling stranger
    With hair as white as gin,
    What is he doing with the children
    And who could have let him in?

    Why has he rubies on his fingers,
    A cold, cold crown on his head,
    Why, when he caws his carol,
    Does the salty snow run red?

    Why does he ferry my fireside
    As a spider on a thread,
    His fingers made of fuses
    And his tongue of gingerbread?

    Why does the world before him
    Melt in a million suns,
    Why do his yellow, yearning eyes
    Burn like saffron buns?

    Watch where he comes walking
    Out of the Christmas flame,
    Dancing, double-talking:

    Herod is his name
    Mary stood in the kitchen
    Baking a loaf of bread.
    An angel flew in the window
    ‘We’ve a job for you,’ he said.

    ‘God in his big gold heaven
    Sitting in his big blue chair,
    Wanted a mother for his little son.
    Suddenly saw you there.’

    Mary shook and trembled,
    ‘It isn’t true what you say.’
    ‘Don’t say that,’ said the angel.
    ‘The baby’s on its way.’

    Joseph was in the workshop
    Planing a piece of wood.
    ‘The old man’s past it,’ the neighbours said.
    ‘That girls been up to no good.’

    ‘And who was that elegant fellow,’
    They said. ‘in the shiny gear?’
    The things they said about Gabriel
    Were hardly fit to hear.

    Mary never answered,
    Mary never replied.
    She kept the information,
    Like the baby, safe inside.

    It was the election winter.
    They went to vote in the town.
    When Mary found her time had come
    The hotels let her down.

    The baby was born in an annexe
    Next to the local pub.
    At midnight, a delegation
    Turned up from the Farmers’ club.

    They talked about an explosion
    That made a hole on the sky,
    Said they’d been sent to the Lamb and Flag
    To see God come down from on high.

    A few days later a bishop
    And a five-star general were seen
    With the head of an African country
    In a bullet-proof limousine.

    ‘We’ve come,’ they said ‘with tokens
    For the little boy to choose.’
    Told the tale about war and peace
    In the television news.

    After them came the soldiers
    With rifle and bombs and gun,
    Looking for enemies of the state.
    The family had packed up and gone.

    When they got back to the village
    The neighbours said, to a man,
    ‘That boy will never be one of us,
    Though he does what he blessed well can.’

    He went round to all the people
    A paper crown on his head.
    Here is some bread from my father.
    Take, eat, he said.

    Nobody seemed very hungry.
    Nobody seemed to care.
    Nobody saw the God in himself
    Quietly standing there.

    He finished up in the papers.
    He came to a very bad end.
    He was charged with bringing the living to life.
    No man was that prisoner’s friend.

    There’s only one kind of punishment
    To fit that kind of crime.
    They rigged a trial and shot him dead.
    They were only just in time.

    They lifted the young man by the leg,
    Thy lifted him by the arm,
    They locked him in a cathedral
    In case he came to harm.

    They stored him safe as water
    Under seven rocks.
    One Sunday morning he burst out
    Like a jack-in-the-box.

    Through the town he went walking.
    He showed them the holes in his head.
    Now do you want any loaves? He cried.
    ‘Not today’ they said.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 689 Posts

    8 Dec, 2016 15:13

    This is serious stuff but let's focus on the positives - there is a culture of openess where the diverse workforce (elves, humans and reindeer) work together - so let's get elected representatives around the Xmas hearth, share a mince pie and discuss how they can all move forward :-)

    Otherwise they could start to look at using elf service HCM systems, perhaps use pixie or gnome contractors or elf employed freelancers... and in reality Lapsxit won't effect them as they're a truly global entity :-)

    There are positives !!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 689 Posts

    8 Dec, 2016 21:50

    Then santa made a task force that is responsible for setting quick action plan. The task force proposed the following:
    1. Implement and communicate the new incentives one month later and apply it retroactive , yet this shall be shared transparently.
    2. Town Hall Meeting to kill or confirm south pole rumor (negative vibes are one of the worst enemies at tough times)
    3. Reindeers job is an outsourced one and shall remain so, we can look to the option of free lancers or off shored ones

    Merry christmas
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    9 Dec, 2016 12:01

    All this list making is all very well, chipped in Mrs. Claus (fresh from a PR appearance for her latest festive ad campaign...) but what do the employees actually think; how are they feeling? All this uncertainty will certainly be taking a toll and it's not gone unnoticed that there are an increasing amount of 'Prancer has updated his skills on LinkedIce' type alerts popping into my in-box... Don't suppose any of you are friends with him on facebook are you incidentally? Would be useful to see if they're organising any work dos we haven't been invited to...

  • Since the Reindeers are kicking their heels until Xmas Eve, I propose they are given Annualised Hours contracts and revised job descriptions to include picking and packing duties round the year to help out the Elves Dept. Consider amended duties for sick elves where they could proof read the Xmas annuals..., they should be full of Beano and feeling Dandy in no time.
  • In reply to carla:

    .....until Dandy raises a grievance.
  • Tell the 'sick' elves that unless they are back on duty in two days they will be going to the south pole and will, as a result be made redundant as there will be a decrease in demand for their kind of work. It might also be worth pointing out there is no transport facilities at the south pole by virtue of the fact that no reindeer - or indeed no other quadrupeds in the area.

    The reindeer can debate all they want. I'd point out that they are not protected by either human rights laws or any kind of similar rights given to humans. I'd point out that a court in the USA denied chimps had any rights to the same kind of legislation because the legislation was for humans only. (I forget the case but this is, believe it or not true!)

    Further more I'd point out that there's plenty of grazing up north. This is why reindeer in Europe migrate and so do caribou in Canada so they follow the food. The grazing in the South Pole is non existant. This is why there are no grazing animals in the South Pole. They'd starve. So would the elves. Indeed it would be dishonest of me not to point out to the reindeer that it would be extremely likely that they'd be on the elves menu as there's a distinct lack of any suitable christmas fare there either.

    Ho, Ho, Ho!!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 689 Posts

    12 Dec, 2016 15:26

    In reply to David Perry:

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 Dec, 2016 15:58

    In reply to Anonymous:

    ...whispered "Anonymous" !!
  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas. Unfortunately as I don't know who you are I won't be able to arrange delivery of Santa's presents. ;-)
  • Had a bad day at work today, read this and all the comments, howling with laughter! Thank you for the re-engagement!

    Merry Xmas.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    13 Dec, 2016 08:35

    'There's a particular gripe about driver-only sleighs that's got the more militant reindeer (*cough *Dasher and Dancer *cough) muttering about a five-day strike,' piped up Santa. 'I mean, I've got to agree with them really - what if I take sick en route whilst flying over - say - Brighton, England? Who's going to get those presents to all those lovely kids in SW London? Flipping 're-structures.' Ho. Ho. Ho.'