Joona Puurunen | 21.12.2018
Reading time 3 min

“Dear Santa”

With these words, I started my annual letter to Santa Claus. Then I started thinking. Year after year I’ve received gifts containing mostly socks and the occasional woollen gloves. Childhood anticipation and joy has been replaced by disappointment and bitterness. Have the letters, to which I put my heart and soul to, been shred to pieces, or is Santa not interested in customer satisfaction? This year, instead of a letter, I’m writing a public outcry in a blog format. Or maybe you can call it constructive criticism. You reap what you sow, many of you might be saying. Be nicer. Don’t cry, don’t pout. However, I feel that the amount and quality of gifts in relation to my naughtiness/niceness has gradually decreased as I’ve grown older. Could poor well-being and impossible deadlines at Santa’s workshop be the reason for this decline? We go through company business regularly and transparently at Zure. Everyone has the opportunity to give feedback and influence the work environment and working methods. We fill employee surveys, give feedback on our teams, and have face to face discussions with our management. Do Santa’s helpers ever get to sit on his knee and discuss work? Is everything ok? Is there too much pressure?Besides Christmas gnomes, customers should also be given the chance to give feedback. Zure gathers monthly feedback from its clients. With Santa, feedback comes once a year in the form of gifts. Without verbal feedback, it’s impossible to know whether the socks I receive are a sign of miscommunication or an expression of Santa’s passive-aggressiveness. I think the minimum requirement in today’s world would be some sort of real-time meter of naughtiness/niceness. Maybe in the form of a mobile application. Anyone could review their score as car bumpers clash in Christmas traffic. Preferably the app would come with some gamification and social media integrations.
Salary is also an important part of well-being at work. What is the compensation model for Christmas gnomes? According to Wikipedia, gnomes get a little bit of food, a right to residence, and in case of sauna gnomes, the final heat of the sauna. Is this kind of treatment even legal? It’s certainly not ethical. According to the new EU Privacy Policy (GDPR), it is not legal to store naughty/nice databases either. And I’m not even gonna go to the year-round spying of children part. But it’s hard to blame the gnomes since they really don’t have a lot of career choices to go with. In addition to being a Christmas gnome, a gnome can specialize in being a forest gnome, a house gnome or a garden gnome. There are no professional gnomes for our office game room or Microsoft data centers.

For me, and I’m sure for most of us at Zure, one of the biggest motivators is self-development as a professional. In addition to feedback and working habits, the self-improvement is supported by Zures policy to pay for coding projects outside of work. Training and various in-house guilds are also advocated by our company. In the case of gnomes, self-improvement rises to new heights, since the life expectancy of a gnome is hundreds of years (Poortvliet and Huygen, Gnomes, p. 39). There’s no pension for unpaid work, so the work will continue until it’s time to kick the bucket. Keeping your head together while working for hundreds of years demands motivation. Is Santa sponsoring seminar days? Are the gnomes introduced to new spying technologies, and do they get the proper training for it? If Santa would approve drone usage and face recognition while spying on the children, the increase in efficiency would spare some workforce to the Santa’s workshop.

In this way, the true meaning of Christmas, i.e. the gifts, could be put back in the center of attention, and I would finally get something other than socks.