Free Press Journal

Christmas 2017! Why Secret Santa is so popular in offices


The Secret Santa initiative is helping several organisations increase participation from their employees

Secret Santa comes as a saviour to mundane office routines while also changing workplace dynamics. As more and more organisations in India embrace this Western trend, Tapapriya Lahiri wonders what makes it so popular

‘Tis the season’ or happy holidays have undoubtedly become a part of major festive celebrations in India, especially among the MNC fraternities, as these organisations completely follow the holiday list of the US, UK and RoW (Rest of the World) with an extensive and collaborative employee relation programme. Most of the MNCs operating in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and many more cities are quite enthusiastic to play the most awaited Secret Santa game. The trend is catching so fast among the corporation that unlike past years, the fun and frolic graph is shooting up incessantly. In a fast-paced life, employees working in MNC’s with global connection have gracefully shifted their holiday interest in Christmas, as most of these companies observe holidays on or before Christmas till New Year.

The concept of Secret Santa is not only restricted among the MNC’s, but Indian start-ups and multi-national companies operating with a global connection have also initiated this game to energise crestfallen employees to achieve a fillip in their performance. Nowadays, most of the companies observes a five-day working week culture, which keeps employees motivated all round the year. It will not be out of the place to mention that, most of the MNC’s, start-ups and other Indian multi-national organisations have revamped their HR policies by including the mandatory play—Secret Santa— which helps to strike a good work-life balance while breaking the monotony of everyday workplace strategies.

Game-changer dynamics

The company’s human resource department are always on their toes to be creative to enhance the employee relation and at the same time to make workplace dynamic by incorporating some fun engagements. And festive season is the best time to reveal it. Therefore, most of the company HRs’ are leaving no stone unturned to see happy faces of their employees. On the Christmas eve, Head HR Dipankar Chakraborty, Sun Knowledge, a medical billing company headquartered at the US says, “At our organisation, we follow the US calendar and holidays and therefore we are always enthusiastic to celebrate Secret Santa game at our Kolkata office. We engage all the employees from every department and it is a mandatory participation to be part of festivity. If we go by the traditional concept, gifting ideas should be unusual and the identity of the gift giver should be kept unknown to the receiver. Being a head HR, I have observed the shift in change among the various employees at our Kolkata office and similarly it helps to improve their creative skills, too.”

At the same time, Indian multi-national company Larsen and Toubro, have adopted the same to see the happy faces of the employees. In Kolkata office, Christmas is celebrated with élan. Dhrubajyoti Majumdar, Cluster Manager HR says, “As the City of Joy celebrates Christmas with an extreme excitement, here at our Kolkata office, we have chalked out a plan to celebrate the traditional play which is quite popular in the US, UK and RoW. This initiative is certainly instrumental and helping us to increase the attrition level. We spread the message among all the age groups to participate and encourage consistent performance level. And the magic happens when the gifting ideas pours in from different employees.”

Gifting goals

Setting gifting goals are a tough task before organising a Secret Santa. But, at the same time it garners a lot of interest among the employees and they actively take part in it. Bengaluru is known as India’s IT hub, similarly many MNC’s are headquartered there and they consider Christmas as their main festivity. Abhishek Chakraborty, a Senior Manager at Cerner Corporation says, “Its’ been many years we are celebrating Christmas in a grand way and Secret Santa is a mandatory part of it. Our company has created a culture that all the employees should be present on the day when Secret Santa organised. The rudimentary principle of Secret Santa is simple, as all the employees of our workplace is randomly assigned a person to whom they have to give a gift. And these gifts are sometimes terrible, good and funny too. We don’t enjoy holidays like the West during these days and there is lot of pressure on Indian counterparts and these type of fun and frolic helps to lighten it.”

Swarnima Debnath, a Content Analyst from Accenture says, “It’s really a fun time for me and I don’t to miss any chance to participate in this Secret Santa game. As per Indian society, some unusual gifts are so-called censored, but once I had receiveda censored product as a Secret Santa gift from one of my unidentified colleague. But every year gifting ideas changes and here comes our creative instinct.”

Start-up talks

Even the Indian start-up ventures are also one step ahead to celebrate Christmas with a unique and funny concept of Secret Santa. A Kolkata-based clothing start-up Parama have arranged the game on the Christmas day which will draw more footfalls to her store. The Founder, Parama says, “I don’t want to miss the chance to make my brand popular and Christmas is the best time, when my store can record umpteen NRI footfalls, those who visits Kolkata annually during this holiday season. I believe, I can surely disseminate the aura of Bengal Handlooms through Secret Santa.”