Gary Brewer: How should employers celebrate the end of the year with staff?

As we hurtle towards the end of 2012, my thoughts go back to the celebratory events last December.

In recognition of a record year in 2011, when our company achieved sales of five million cases of Grant’s and one million cases of Glenfiddich, dispatched 10 million cases of product out of our Bellshill Centre bottling plant near Glasgow, and distilled 85 million litres of absolute alcohol at our distillery in Girvan in Scotland, a celebration day was held across William Grant and Sons. It was an ideal opportunity to say thank-you to staff for such record productivity and success.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner (as appropriate to the time zones across the globe) was laid on by the company; various charity and games activities were arranged at each site; fancy dress was encouraged around the holiday season (leading to some of the worst Christmas-themed sweaters ever seen); and various senior leaders were press-ganged into donning Santa suits to lead the proceedings.

As employees enjoyed the festivities in their respective localities, the crowning glory was a global videoconferencing link-up, led by our chief executive officer, Stella David. This was a nice touch, joining all the countries and teams together to celebrate the company’s success.

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Apart from extending the season’s greetings and her own thanks to the entire workforce, our CEO also conducted a prize draw. A number of iPads and some of the best of William Grant and Sons’ premium brands were duly distributed, as well as the first prize of a £20,000 car.

Gary Brewer is head of reward and organisational development at William Grant and Sons