Santa and engagement

Oh yes, I went there.

At this festive time of year, I got to thinking about the myth of Santa, and the many different stories that have been created about him. But moreso, what would the elves be doing for their L&D?

Santa’s clearly the chairman. But he’s one of those rare people who actually gets out to talk to the people in his organisation – The Workshop. When the Elves join The Workshop, they’re clearly so enamoured to be working there, he can literally show his face once a year and they’re all made up for the year. He’ll do a Ho Ho Ho, and everyone goes crazy on the workshop floor.

He’s also the one who gets nearly all of the credit too. Although he’s good enough to make sure people know the Elves do all the hard work.

There’s got to be a Head Elf. The person who manages the actual operation of stuff. And who somehow manages to get peak performance from the whole workforce. I mean, who does that? And how? What is going on there that every single elf can contribute to such high levels of expectation?

I don’t think they have a HR department, because I don’t see that there would be any ER problems, recruitment is easy, there’s no problems with D&I, their organisational design is spot on, as is their learning and development. We never hear about Elves leaving The Workshop to work somewhere else, or raise complaints or have cases being heard by the likes of ACAS or the ECJ. It’s almost unbelievable.

I wonder how they handle finances? What’s their supply chain like? Do they even have one? How do they get all their raw materials? Is goodwill that strong, that it’s all done in good faith and for the good of humanity? Is that even possible?

What about pay? And wellbeing? I mean, the Elves are seemingly constantly working to any and all hours? Is it reasonable to expect them to do that? Who’s making sure they have a well earned break? How do they have time for their families and friends and being the lovely social creatures that they are? Not only that, but does Santa give them a bonus? Is it performance based? And what kind of dividend does he receive?

Do they have Elf Managers? What happens when a child isn’t happy with their toy? I don’t think that’s ever happened, so how do the managers know what improvements to make? What kind of conferences and seminars do the Elves go to? How do they do their market research, and learn about new trends? As the world is moving to more digital platforms, how are the Elves learning new skills to build ever better and more complicated technology?

Clearly the organisation is doing well because the kids keep believing. I mean, we can just about get people to believe in God, but belief in Santa for the under 10s is almost never ceasing. You literally couldn’t pay for that kind of dedication and commitment. And everyone seems to be bought in to continuing that narrative. You couldn’t buy that kind of PR. When you have national and international military and aviation organisations tracking Santa to ensure he doesn’t disrupt their operations, you’ve got to wonder how he masterfully negotiates with all of them.

For a mythical organisation, and a mythical entity, it’s by far one of the most successful organisations to have ever existed.


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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