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Most managers consider getting a gift for their employees a common thing they need to do at the end of the year.

However, according to employee satisfaction surveys, it takes more than a bottle of wine to show your employees that you appreciate them. Gifts for employees should be part of a more complex program for rewarding achievements and reinforcing good performance.

So let’s discuss the importance of offering thoughtful gifts to your employees and help you choose the best ways to reward their hard work.

1. Corporate Gifts Equal Recognition Gestures

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, almost 70% of HR professionals and managers admit that employee recognition & awards have a highly positive impact on retention and talent recruitment. When it comes to employee satisfaction, surveys show that workers don’t necessarily want more money.

Other factors contributing to employee happiness at the workplace include:

  • regular employee recognition,
  • respect,
  • empowerment,
  • positive management,
  • genuine interpersonal relationships,
  • above industry-average benefits, compensation, and rewarding,
  • career-pathing and growth,
  • lifelong learning opportunities, and so on.  

When you design a corporate recognition and rewarding system, you should begin by fostering a positive, transparent, open environment for all your staff members and then build on it. 

Corporate gifts for employees are one of the best choices when it comes to offering benefits and perks as rewards. The trickiest part is to choose the right ones.

2. Gifts Show Employees You Care about their Professional and Personal Happiness

When you budget the employee gifts in your recognition & reward program, forget about the branded coffee mug, notebook, or pins. Research shows that half of the employees receiving such items secretly hate them. These are thoughtless, impersonal gifts that only perpetuate the status quo of poorly chosen, generic presents that companies buy year after year. So what can one do about it?

The first thing you need to break this cycle is to choose unique gifts for your employees, which are original, serve a need, have an immediate and practical use, and are memorable.

The best gift for an employee is one that will further save that person money, time, and effort. You should choose gifts that are tailored to an employee’s personal preferences, wishes, needs, hobbies, etc. The more thought you put in these corporate gifts, the more successful your recognition program will be and continue to grow. 

Is one of your employees always talking about wanting to spend more time with their loved ones? Recognize the hard work and reward the achievements with a vacation voucher for the entire family.

Is anyone in the office suffering from back pain as they clock in endless hours in front of a computer? Buy them a new chair with proper lumbar support.

Offering individualized, customized gifts means you paid attention in and out of the office.

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3. Corporate Gifts Build Reciprocity and Trust

Small gifts presented at the right time and in the proper context come with tremendous psychological benefits for the receivers. Besides feeling appreciated and rewarded, your employees will engage more with the organization. Gift-giving builds trust, reciprocity, stronger interpersonal relationships, and a sense of belonging to the group.

For this reason, you should also encourage gift-giving among employees on certain occasions. You could even create your company’s made-up holiday and foster an environment of goodwill, honest socialization, gift-giving, and entertainment for that day. All of these are contributing factors to employee happiness, loyalty, and retention. 

4. Gifts for Employees Create and Strengthen Your Corporate Culture

When it comes to creating the recognition and reward programs, one of the first aspects to consider is building a system that is in line with the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals.

Corporate gifts should align with what the company says is essential and with the works the company deems rewardable.

Generic branded calendars and key chains will not cut it.

  • Instead, if your company supports technological advancements and digitalization, you should consider gifts from this area.
  • If ecological awareness and sustainability are among your organization’s values, potted plants, and charity certificates to environmental causes will work better than branded plastic beach accessories for their kids. 
  • Similarly, if your company values human talent and performance, consider flexible hours, work from home, more straightforward commuting solutions, help with childcare, etc. For an organization focusing on people’s real-world problems, branded notebooks are obsolete.

Read 15 New Years Reward Ideas for Employee of the Year

No matter how much funding you allocate to your corporate gifts, make sure they do not make you look insensitive, thoughtless, insulting, or a hypocrite. There is nothing employees hate more than a company that does not deliver on its promises. 

5. Employee Gifts Teach People Some Lessons on Meritocracy

When you have an event, a holiday, a company’s benchmarks, or other celebration, you should give gifts to all the people involved. However, when it comes to recognition & rewarding programs, your gifts should be appropriate to the level of achievement gained, and the efforts put in those achievements. It is tricky for managers and HR specialists to offer gifts to employees in this context individually, but it is not impossible.

As long as you foster an environment of full transparency, objectiveness, fairness, and justice, you can reward exceptional people for exceptional achievements without making other employees feel like they are underachieving. Inevitably, when someone receives praise and gifts, the others might feel a bit demoralized. Make sure that each of your employees gets their moment of glory throughout the year.

Since employee happiness has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and business growth, it is worth giving your recognition and rewarding program more thought than you did before.

Offering thoughtful, meaningful, appropriate, and practical gifts to employees – monetary or otherwise – builds a healthy corporate culture and nourishes the talent of your employees.

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