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The past two years have seen employees at their unhappiest. Over the past several months alone, over 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in search of flexibility and happiness. This movement — retroactively referred to as the “Big Quit” — stems from a deep dissatisfaction with existing working conditions.
Now, many employers are scrambling to find incentives to keep their workers from leaving. But are higher wages enough to incentivize employees to stay?
The short answer is no. According to one survey, 60% of employees said they value recognition just as much as money. 40% of respondents said they’d put in extra energy at work if they received more recognition.
It’s true: rewarding employees for their hard work inclines them to stay and produce more. Today, recognized and engaged teams experience 59% fewer turnovers, while unrecognized and disengaged teams contribute to an overwhelming 44% of employees changing jobs. According to SHRM, over 91% of HR professionals believe that recognition and reward make employees more likely to stay with the company.
And while recognition is one of the most important factors when it comes to sustaining high workplace morale, decreasing turnover, and motivating team-members, it’s an aspect easily overlooked by management.
A recent survey revealed that 72% of bosses didn’t buy their employees a holiday gift last year — at that, too, at the peak of the pandemic. 59% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to stay at their job if they received meaningful holiday gifts from their employer.
Sending corporate gifts for employee engagement might seem like an innocuous business strategy, but it yields lasting results in employee loyalty and overall team productivity. Not sending a holiday gift, or sending the wrong gift, for example, is then simply a missed opportunity to engage with your team-members.
We understand that finding the right corporate gifting strategy for your company can be overwhelming, and the process can lead to many new questions like: How much should you spend? Are bulk Christmas gifts for employees the best way to go? Are out of the box corporate gifts necessary? Should holiday gifts be branded with company logos?
The responsibility of providing answers shouldn’t fall on employers and management alone. This is why SmartGift created Hero — the ultimate corporate gifting platform for employee and client appreciation. Our team worked hard to perfect a corporate gift experience that rewards and motivates employees, reduces turnover, and strengthens business relationships — whether your business is remote, hybrid, or in-person.
At Hero, our mission is simple: we aim to grow and nurture your business relationships by amplifying company culture through human connection.
Let’s start by taking a look at four strategies to ensure your gifting etiquette aligns with your identity as a business.
Unique corporate gifts are key to any holiday gifting strategy, but it’s not enough to simply search “gift ideas for employee christmas party” and run with the first affordable option that is yielded.
According to findings from a recent survey, 84% of workers say they’ve received a gift they didn’t want, and nearly 90% of employees confessed they have faked a positive reaction to a bad one.
Some especially terrible gifts team-members have received from their employers include: a book on how to be better at their job, melted chocolate coins, a tourniquet, a seat belt cutter, quail from the boss’s hunting trip, season tickets to the CEO’s son’s little league, a quart of milk, old stale cookies, a toy horse, and deli meat.
Employee gifts for the holidays are an opportunity to connect with your staff, to tell them you appreciate them as workers and value them as individuals. Sending the wrong gift can have the opposite effect.
“My expectations for a corporate gift is that it is simple and kind. A nice gesture goes a long way at the end of the day,” shares Lisa Crawford, a PR associate. “For example, my team once sent me a gift card to a furnishings store after I unexpectedly had to move and that always stuck out to me. In that moment, I didn’t truly need something material, but the support from my team was what impacted me the most.”
To Crawford’s point, sending a gift isn’t enough on its own; the best corporate gifts need to be truly meaningful to the recipient.
Hero innately understands this, which is why recipients are prioritized in the process of selecting great gifts for employee recognition. Hero enables users to curate a collection from our assortment of premium corporate gifts, or select a pre-made collection — and let our Gift Genome™ make data-backed smart recommendations for you. Your recipient can then choose a gift that sparks joy for them, ensuring that the gesture doesn’t go wasted.
Remember: the best gifts for your employees are ones that hold the most meaning to them.
While giving all employees the same, fun corporate gifts might feel like a strategy to ensure workplace equality, it can often have a drastically different effect on team-members.
Lindsey from Accounting might celebrate Christmas, but the rest of her team do not observe the holiday, and sending them a box of festive Santa Claus cookies might make you look thoughtless and callous.
Many companies reserve the same corporate gifts for all employees — a food and wine basket that does not take into account an employee's dietary and health preferences, observances, or sobriety. Sending a bottle of wine to a sober employee, or sending meat cuts to a vegetarian can rightfully be viewed as a non-compassionate practice, further affecting their turnover rates.
“Company culture and recognition strategies go hand-in-hand,” says Crawford. “When DE&I wasn’t really talked about or mishandled overall, it was very uncomfortable. As an employee, my goal is to put out my best work and practice mindfulness. So when that isn’t supported or critiqued for being too diverse, it makes you wonder what the company really stands for.”
The best customized employee gifts for holidays are thoughtful and considerate of employees’ cultures and observances as well as their health and dietary preferences.
Hero ensures that every gift sent is fruitful and frictionless to each party involved. By opening the gifting experience to your employees, you can empower them to choose items that align with their observances and preferences — like being able to select vegetarian food baskets over steak, or a selection of tea or coffee over wine — instead of giving everyone the same basket that won’t be received in the same way.
Plus, Hero provides the recipient with an additional option: they can elect to regift the item to a loved one instead — this way, no gift ever goes to waste.
While cost is, of course, an important factor to consider, it’s important that you’re not sending out visibly inexpensive employee gifts for the holidays. Remember: the presentation is a part of the gift, so it’s important that the item you select meets a certain quality standard before it leaves your hands.
It’s equally vital to consider your corporate branding. If you choose to use your logo for branded corporate gifts, for example, it needs to look understated and subtle so that the recipient doesn’t feel like you’re using them as walking advertisements for the company.
Additionally, inner office gift-giving can often lead to problems and confusion. It’s best to discern whether an appreciation gift for employees should be presented publicly or privately before sharing it with the recipient.
Hero offers high-quality, recipient-choice gifts that can be shared with a single link so you can send it to your recipient publicly on a Slack channel, in a private message or email, or however else you deem fit. They can then digitally unwrap the gift and view their personalized message or greetings whenever they find most appropriate.
Unlike other corporate gifting companies, we value presentation and aim to deliver a meaningful experience that sparks an emotional connection with your recipient, thereby strengthening their relationship with your company.
Accounting for employee gifts can be tedious, but there’s insurmountable value to the practice. Tracking gifts can help you gauge your employee’s engagement with the experience, ensure whether it has been delivered on time, and it helps you avoid repeating the same gifts in the future.
An additional bonus of tracking gifts: it saves you money — The IRS rules for employee gifts state that organizations can deduct gifts of up to $25 for each individual per tax year. This applies to gifts sent to employees, clients, and their families.
When you send corporate gifts for employees through Hero, you have measurable ROI and end-to-end visibility throughout the gifting process. This grants companies access to the data, science, and insights behind a strategy that works for them.
Corporate gift giving isn’t easy. But together, we can devise a scalable strategy that gives your employees the appreciation they need to keep team morale high and the workplace productive.
SmartGift’s Corporate Gifting Series focuses on providing workplaces fun, inventive, and appropriate ways to celebrate all end-of-year holidays. Over the forthcoming weeks, we’ll be discussing ideas for corporate holiday parties, gifting etiquette, DE&I initiatives, gifting trends, and more.