Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes its many joys and festive traditions for all those celebrating.The universal symbol, the Christmas tree moves in, all its decorations tailing it.Workplaces and houses alike, everyone gets their Christmas tree. Something else that is synonymous with Christmas is the gifts.Christmas is the biggest annual gift exchange in the world. And there are multiple ways to do it. An evergreen way is, by playing Secret Santa.
Secret Santa is the ideal integration of what defines Christmas, gifts and games. From being conceptualized in ancient Scandinavia by knocking on someone’s door, throwing a present inside when it opens, and then running away, centuries ago, to evolving into a globally acknowledged go-to game for most gift exchanges amongst friends, fellow students and also increasingly now, colleagues from work.
Workplaces and offices around the world have hopped onto the bandwagon of Secret Santa, encouraging employees to participate, in a bid to enhance relationships between co-workers and increase chemistry. After all, the merriment isn’t to be kept at home only.
It’s to be shared abundantly!
What are Secret Santa rules?
Times have changed, customs have evolved and that crude practice of spreading joy now is shrouded in formal sophistication enabling it to be accepted as a sliver of warmth in the cold corporate world.
So what are the rules to the Secret Santa game? Simply building on anything that revolves around ‘no one knowing who’s getting whom a gift’ would be acceptable and there are numerous versions of it played worldwide.
However here’s a step by step guide to organize a gift exchange at your office without complicating it:
Put down all the names: All the participants can write their names on a chit of paper and collect it in a box.
Set a budget: Eliminates all ulterior motives or any kind of inequality from stemming and the Secret Santa game is no longer a popularity contest. This encourages employees to get creative with their ideas and work within what is allotted.
Draw out secret santas: Finding out who they get to surprise on Christmas! Let employees randomly choose chits from the box and start planning a gift for the name on their chit.
Mark a date: Choose a day for the exchange, convenient enough for employees to make it, without compromising any office work or the vacations.
Exchange: The fun part! Wait until everyone is gathered to engage everyone and liven up the occasion. Let employees receive their gifts from their secret santas, and let the emotions of shock, surprise, excitement, and joy spill out. To avoid hitches or any misplaced gifts, make sure all gifts are tagged properly.
Guess who: A must-do activity post-exchange. ‘Cos who was the sweet soul who bought Karen her favorite book, or gifted that cozy sweatshirt to Dylan? You gotta know, and so has the recipient of your well-thought out gift. Share the appreciation.
Talking about appreciation, how to make your choice of gift warrant that appreciation? Brief up employees on a few things such as, essentially, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Let there be no room for impractical jokes, make your gift worthwhile.
Nobody, no matter how well intended your humor is, would want to be the butt of ‘that Secret Santa joke’.
Consequently, there’s two ways to go about choosing a gift. One would be to play it safe.
Get a practical gift with a common use. That way, even if the recipient does not particularly like what they get, it still serves a purpose.
Coffee mugs with a sassy print, to up their cool desk points, flaunt some cheek at passersby. Or a snug premium sweater for the winter to come, a lasting gift, utilitarian.
No? Too generic? There’s a more thoughtful alternative. Ask around about your recipient, look up their social media, casually, nonchalantly inquire with them (don’t, if you’re clumsy at conversation, there’ll be time for that when you already impress them with your choice) about what they like, or what they’re into.
She might be a reader of classics, get her an ancient archive of literary masterpieces.
He has a green thumb? Get a kitchen gardening kit which will have him engrossed for days. He perennially loses his wallet? Get him one with an inbuilt GPS that can be tracked from a phone, finances secured, friendship secured.
Secret Santa gifts for girls
Feeling like your personal touch could just be a gender specific gift? Why not. So, ladies first, in true chivalrous fashion.
And in true economic fashion, the number one women dominated industry in the world as consumers, cosmetics!
Buy the latest Huda Beauty set for your coworker, or browse through Kylie Cosmetics’ famed lip products. But we all know what women really love, the universal choice.
The guiltiest of them all, all things cocoa. Pick a box of the very best gourmet chocolates from Lindt, cadbury , or the evergreen ball of goodness that is a Ferrero Rocher.
Don’t be surprised Something a bit more essential? Shop for a smart outfit, formal enough for office use, and add to their wardrobe.
Maybe ask around for her favourite colour, and buy a dress along those lines. Handbags are an all-time favourite too, watch them sling it on their shoulders and stride through the next day.
For a lower budget, a hand mirror can be a handy choice to facilitate on the move touch-ups.
Secret Santa gifts for boys
Need to gift the gentlemen at your office? Start with a corporate gentleman’s necessity, a suit. Preferably obtain said recipients measurements, and get a suit made to fit. Because the fitting is key.
Opt for darker hues, don’t go lighter than grey. After all, the targeted occasions for use are formal. A white shirt to go with the suit is an immaculate choice. What if the gentleman is already an accomplished dresser?
A pair of leather Oxfords won’t harm. Alternatively, let’s dive into the world of classy accessories. A leather wallet, or a belt, as brownie point additions to their tip-top attires are great choices too. Many men also love smelling the best.
A premium cologne for the men to spruce up their office wear. And just to break away from the monotony of the corporate life, by considering the increasing number of sneaker-heads everywhere, gift a pair of Yeezys, Jordans, or Air Force Ones and watch him go bonkers over the new toy.
Secret Santa gifts for everyone
While we’re at it, why not discuss the best gender neutral gifts too?
A phone case, a subtle design to blend in with the office.
A key holder to organize the house keys, car keys, and other important keys. It’s very easy to get some customization done to it too.
A stationary organizer. To keep all the desk tools in order.
A luxury pen. Butter smooth ink, and a premier grip and feel, to make signing every cheque a great experience.
Perfumes. Scents galore, make the office smell heavenly. Win-win.
Just like this tradition’s boomed in manner, the digital boom has also been overwhelming in the past decade. And of course, it’s like you guessed it, we can use it to our advantage.
Why go through the old school hassle of writing down names and shuffling through a hat or box, when you can just punch away at a keyboard!
A simple Google search will reveal multiple websites that help you set up a draw for your Secret Santa. One such website, with an extremely user-friendly interface is drawnames.com (not sponsored).
It allows you to register all the participants, link their email-IDs or WhatsApp numbers to send out customized invites, and helps randomly choose a gift (or two) per Secret Santa. Convenient enough, isn’t it?
That’s not all; you can also name your exchange, set a date for it and specify a budget with any currency in the world. All within a few minutes, and you’re all set up.
Secret Santa generator Apps
To begin with, by far the best reviewed app to help in organising a Secret Santa event, and deservedly so, is Elfster.
Apart from letting you name the event, customize rules, set budgets, Elfster’s best part is it allowing the participants to also draw up a wish list to help Secret Santas in choosing a gift which their recipients would want, themselves.
Just sign up after downloading the app and you are good to go.
Second on the list is, Simple Secret Santa Generator. A clean, non-intrusive user interface for a zero-bug experience when organising the event. Why should you download and use this app?
It has no screen covering, or annoying spam advertisements to distract you, firstly. And also allows you to send invites through every major Android or iOS messaging app.
A well organised app, except that you cannot set a price budget. Surely, passing that on through word-of-mouth or a simple text does not hurt.
Talking about clean user interface designs, how about a cool one? Secret Santa Service, is where it’s at. A super-cool interface, which on a different note, lets you assign roles to each participant.
It’s only drawbacks being, it does not support email invites. And that you have to pay up for an upgrade to maximum users above four, albeit a sum of Rs 75 to Rs 100
A very wholesome alternative application is, Santa’s Secret Keeper. A literal limitless app, which implements zero restrictions on the number of groups you can create or the number of participants you can involve. Also allows you to toggle between a minimum and a maximum budget to set. But this app’s niche feature is it allows the user to prevent potential matchups when randomising the secret santas.
This eliminates biases, repeats from last year’s event and gives a different twist to things. And all this, for no upgrade costs or premium charges at all, on Android and iOS. Just take your time to understand it, might take a while.
And if you want more organization, there’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange. This app lets you format your participant list in a PDF file, to help print it out when needed.
A basic feature but you never know how handy it is, until you use it. Also allows you to freshen up how your app looks with multiple themes to choose from depending on the nature of your celebration.
So if your red ever gets too conventional and ugly, there’s always a jumpy blue to click on and brighten the lights!
Out of these 5 apps, with all their pros and cons, we would recommend getting Santa’s Secret Exchange (not sponsored) for a seamless, hassle free experience when planning out your Secret Santa party.
However, if you have time on your hands and want somewhat more of a challenge, you can opt to go the Microsoft Excel way! List down the names of participants in a column, and then create a list of random numbers using the RAND function. Next, rank the numbers using the RANK function.
Lastly, use the VLOOKUP function, in a third column to lookup the name of the person who was randomly assigned each number and ascertain every participant’s respective giftes. If in case, someone is assigned their own self, just hit F9 to rerun the function and remedy the problem.
With such ease of organization, much benefit to be availed, a Secret Santa this Christmas at your office is a must-do! Plan, give thought to your gifts and spread the love. Because ‘tis the season to be jolly. ‘Tis the season to gift.
Startups in India are on the rise, with many earning accolades of praise and appreciation all over the world and growing to become unicorns and decacorns even within a few months of being founded at times.
With so many startups and the demography of the youth in India being at an all-time high, choosing whom to work for and deciding where they might find their peak and continuous growth as well can be a bit confusing. To make this process easier, we have created a compilation of the fastest growing startups in India.
What are some of the best startups to work for in India?
1. OYO homes and hotels
One of the world’s largest hotel chain, OYO homes and hotels was founded by Rishabh Agarwal as an 18 year old in 2013. Amongst several such awards, OYO has also received Startup of the Year, Financial Express, 2015. OYO has come a long way, from being a start-up, to becoming a unicorn and to now being a decacorn. It is aiming to become the world’s largest hotel chain by 2023. It currently manages 515,000 rooms in 10 countries.
OYO offers a range of employee benefits for a satisfactory work experience, such as –
Competitive Market Compensation
Employee Stock Options
A mobile app, Cure. Fit, has brought together the various aspects of healthy living – from physical fitness to nutrition and home delivering food to mental well-being on a single platform in a manner that makes it fun and practical.
Cure. Fit has adopted a revolutionary work system that makes working there a unique, and fantastic experience. Some of those are –
No hierarchy – their belief in action instead of position creates a work environment that affords a satisfactory amount of freedom to employees to work and lead on projects that drive them.
No ‘leave policy’ – because mental and physical wellness is their mantra above all
Perks such as food allowance and certain privileges over their own services and products for all employees.
Flexible working hours – employees have the freedom to decide time and duration for their working hours as best suited to them.
This is a system to empower professionals to interact and learn from experts in their domain. They can also work with businesses and organizations across the world and aggregate their personal brand online. It is a simpler and more effective way to network, work and learn online.
Employment perks at TapChief
Unlimited vacation days
Pet-friendly HQ and an open to all pantry to boot
Growth and learning opportunities with skilling sessions and monthly meetings with experts from TapChief community.
Founded in 2014, Razorpay is a payment gateway in India integrating several payment modes like debit cards, credit cards, net banking, UPI and prepaid digital wallets.
Employee benefits –
Flexible working hours
MacBooks for everyone
Food and snacks
10 lakhs accident insurance (employee)
5 lakhs medical insurance (family floater)
Based in Bengaluru, a bike renting app, Bounce is the perfect app for the introverts, the recluses and the ones feeling generally non sociable for it has done away with the keys as well as the interaction with humans. Download the app, pick a location and a bike, ride to your destination and move on. No keys. No responsibility. No communication. Within a few months of launching dockless scooters in Bengaluru, the firm has completed over five million rides, covering 30 million km. The founders of Bounce – HR Vivekananda, Varun Agni and G Anil – who started with bikes, bicycles and kick scooters are now looking to convert their entire fleet of vehicles into electronic vehicles.
According to employee reviews, Bounce is a fun place to work at offering free healthcare, pension and mentorship
Founded by IIT KGP/Guwahati 2013 grads, Playment is a data labeling platform which helps machine learning engineers build high quality ground truth datasets for training and validating machine learning models.
Of the perks of working at Playment, some of them are –
Flexible working hours
Rivigo provides express surface logistics all over the country. The startup was founded in 2014. Logistics unicorn Rivigo was recently granted patent rights by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its relay truck model, which allows truckers to drive 4-5 hours at a stretch and return home the same day.
Benefits at Rivigo according to employee (current and former) reviews –
Health care and Insurance
Stock options or equity
Maternity and Paternity leave
Job Training and Tuition
Founded in 2016, ACKO is India’s first InsurTech company. ACKO makes buying and using insurance a seamless, safe and hassle-free process.
Employee reviews acclaim benefits such as free lunch and breakfast, work from home options and great working environment.
This startup is an AI powered online doctor platform that provides instant online access to doctors from the best hospitals. Employee reviews attribute great learning experience to working here.
This is a platform that teaches you most of everything you need to know for a technological job. It is one of the leading interview preparation websites. Some of the many employee attested benefits of working at InterviewBit are – Healthcare and life insurance, sick leave, free lunch or snacks and reduced or flexible working hours with work from home option as well.
This startup is a network centric business that brings buyers and sellers from across the country easily accessible on a single platform. Some of the job benefits according to several employee reviews are –
Healthcare and Insurance, pension plan, stock or equity options, performance bonus, maternity and paternity leave, work from home options, child care facilities, sick leave, bereavement leave and free lunch or snacks.
12. Little Black Book
It is India’s biggest platform to shop and discover independent brands and retailers. Based in Delhi, there workforce is 65% women, and 60% of the leadership is constituted by women. Media, Communication, Marketing and sales form their largest job functions with digital marketing, social media marketing and creative writing as their most common skills.
Client reviews have attributed benefits such as free coffee and the opportunities to learn, grow and meet high end clientele.
This Bengaluru based, google backed concierge service platform prides itself in its super quick deliveries, from groceries and pet food to medicines and most of whatever else you may need delivered. Programming languages such as SQL, C ++ and C form its core skills in operations, engineering and sales. They offer wellness camps, medical coverage, monthly Dunzo cash on the app, Parental leave for mothers (6 months) as well as fathers (15 days).
A further education online platform especially curated for working individuals, upGrad with its expanding business, is on the lookout currently to hire more than 150 employees. It is focusing on education, engineering and business development. The skills most likely to get picked up are SQL, JAVA, Analytics for jobs in sales, marketing and career support.
Employee reviews suggest job benefits such as – work from options, flexible environment, learning opportunities, great company culture and work-life balance, Healthcare and Insurance, free snacks and maternity and paternity leave.
Meesho is one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in India. From homemakers, teachers, and students to boutique owners, professionals and businessmen and women can resell on Meesho. Resellers get the opportunity to earn margins more than 25,000 monthly, get bonus upto 6000 weekly and earn commission upto 5000 per referral. They also cover various insurance plans, offer maternity and paternity leave, work from home options as well as a free lunch or snacks.
18. Digit Insurance
They call themselves ‘the simplifiers’ for how easy and user friendly they make the process of getting an insurance. Their largest job functions are in business development, finance and engineering. Their most common skills are SQL, Business Analysis and Java.
Employee reviews attribute benefits such as onsite parking, gym and creche, coverage of brokerage/relocation costs if moving to job location, healthcare and life insurance, pension plan and performance bonus, employee discount as well as free lunch or snacks.
19. Karza Technologies
Based in Mumbai, Karza Technologies specializes in Banking Applications, Credit Assessment, Loan Monitoring, Fraud Analytics, Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence. They have no fixed time for their employees nor a minimum number of days to clock in just as long as they get their job done. Their required employee skills are most commonly Python, SQL and Java with largest job functions in engineering, research and business development. Employee review has avouched working at the start up to be a great learning experience.
A privately held company in the financial services, StashFin is a digital lending venture with its headquarters in New Delhi. The company’s most common skills are SQL, MySQL and Web Development with their largest job function in Engineering, Information Technology and Business Development. They offer perks such as Job training and tuition and performance bonus.
Accreditation and Awards for best companies to work for
The merits of a company and their standard of quality are accredited every year through the means of several professional awards decided by a panel of experienced businessmen and big wig companies of the corporate world. These awards are especially bolstering for start ups since it can raise their credibility and also earn them visibility in the corporate world of corporate function. They also serve as morale boosters for the employees and affords individual recognition to the exceptional workers. Mentioned below are few such nationally and internationally acclaimed awards.
A List of awards that identify good companies to work at
1. Best Company Award by Small Business BC Awards
This is given to the company that displays applaudable leadership. One that empowers its employees, motivating them and making them efficient with innovative HR practices, as well as showing a proven track record of growth profitability for at least the last to fiscal years and must have less than 50 employees.
2. Employees’ Choice Award
Winners for the 2019 Top CEOs and Top CEOs at Small & Medium Companies determined using Glassdoor’s algorithm indicate how good a business is to work for an employee by displaying the approval ratings of existing employees of the company on their CEO.
3. 50 best workplaces in India.
Identified by Global management consulting and research firm Great place this compilation represents the 50 best places to work for in India. The businesses taken into consideration constitute between 100 to 500 employees
4. LinkedIn Top Companies
Where India wants to work now. They take into consideration three things – job application, engagement and employee retention.
5. 100 Best Companies for Women in India
The AVTAR Group and Working Mother joined forces to select the 100 best companies that are facilitating women in thriving at both, work as well as home life. workforce profile, flexible work, women’s recruitment and retention, benefits, paid-time off, company culture and safety and security, as provided by the applicant companies.
6. SHRM India HR Excellence Awards
This award recognizes businesses that put people first. Businesses that recognize the importance of employees in the achievement of their goals.
7. Mercer-NDTV Employer Excellence Awards
Award introduced in collaboration with Mercer and NDTV, this award recognizes the businesses that put considerable effort in making their workplaces diversity friendly, encourages a healthy work life balance and puts their people first. This award is given out in 10 categories – Excellence In Work Life Balance, Employee Recognition, Capability Building, Digital HR, Workplace Diversity, Connected Organization, Career Development, Innovative Hiring, Employee Well-Being, Innovative Benefits
8. Employer Branding Awards
Businesses that realize the importance of creating a proper brand experience for the employees just as much as the customers are the ones recognized through this award. Companies that are contributing to the ‘Talent Management, Talent Development and Talent Innovation’ are who form part of the employer branding status.
9. India’s Best Companies To Work For
Several companies apply to Great Place to Work® Institute in order to get their companies assessed and benchmarked for their workplace culture. They also recognize – Best Companies To Work In Employee Wellness, Best Companies To Work In Employer Branding, Best Companies In Utilizing Analytics To Drive Great Place To Work® Initiative, Best Companies in Workplace Transformation Case Study Competition and Developing People Managers etc.
10. The Aon Best Employers Study and Award
This is one of the most prestigious awards in the corporate world. The companies are finalized on the basis of characteristics – Engagement, Leadership, Performance Culture, and Employer Brand.