No lights for Philips employees

The first thing you’ll learn at a first aid course is that in case of an emergency, you should look after yourself before you worry about helping others. The idea behind this is simple: you’ll be more useful as an emergency response worker if you’re in proper health than if you’re in pain and unable to optimally give aid. There was an article in FD Entrepreneur (December 23rd, p.15: Philips Nederland schrapt kerstcadeaus) saying that Philips, the pride and glory of the Netherlands during dark days, will not be giving their employees Christmas hampers this year, but will instead donate € 100,000 to a charity. On behalf of the entire staff.

This may seem like a noble gesture, but a company that’s been on the decline for the past thirty years depends on its staff to fight the odds. What would this be like to those hard-working women and men? Denying them their traditional Christmas hamper is a discouraging disincentive.

No Christmas niceties for the staff that has to ensure Philips will remain capable of fulfilling its role in society in the future. Not due to budget cuts, and not because the staff itself decided to donate money to a charity, but because the higher-ups in the company decided to donate the money to a charity.

Supporting charities is a good thing, and I’m sure Philips does and will continue to do enough of that. But you can’t disregard your staff at Christmas in a time of crisis.

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