There are many dimensions to this. Compensation, work-life balance, communication, demonstrating that you act on feedback: these all matter. But if you really want to make people believe that they are heard, seen, and appreciated, a good gift-giving strategy can be a subtle and invaluable way of organically developing those feelings in your team.
Here are five ways a good gift-giving strategy can help you keep the best people on your team by making them want to stay there.
Add a Personal Dimension to Work Relationships
At the end of the day, business is business, and we all do our best to be dispassionate when doing the cost-benefit analysis of working here vs. there. But just like back in high school or university when we were doing group projects, we all prefer working with people we know and like.
And the fact of the matter is that our working lives, on average, take up about half of our waking hours. That’s a long time. For employers, that’s an enormous window of opportunity to build a stronger, more personal relationship with their employees. Personalized, thoughtful gifts are a great way to do that.
By bringing a personal element into your professional relationship, you add another pillar to it, making it that much stronger. So, if and when people consider other opportunities that may be out there, they’ll be taking their relationship with you and your organization into account as well. As we’ve written before, the right gifts can make people feel more valued, which can make all the difference if they’re wondering where they want to spend so much of their valuable, and limited, time.
Make Them Feel Good About Where They Work
We’ve also written about how important it is that people feel they’re working somewhere that aligns with their values.
Today’s employees expect their employers to be active and vocal when it comes to social issues. This isn’t always easy for businesses to demonstrate at a high level, or for businesses without some kind of clear social impact. If you’re a company that builds widgets used in industrial printers, well, it’s not always easy to tie that back to a meaningful improvement to society. But it’s still important that employers show they aren’t just talking the talk and they are, in fact, walking the walk.
A well-chosen gift can show your team that you’re committed to values and goals that matter to them, that you are committed to making the world a better place, and that you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is. For example, a subscription to fair-trade coffee deliveries, notebooks made from recycled paper, or even a donation to a worthy cause can show your employees that their work matters beyond just getting products out the door or meeting their quarterly goals.
Break Up the Routine
Humans thrive on routine. But it can’t just be the same thing, day after day.
Remember, there’s a reason it’s called the daily grind: you go into work, grind away on what’s broadly the same task, go home, sleep, rinse, and repeat. And that’s the thing about grinding: both things involved get worn away, even if one’s getting worn faster than the other. This is even true for people who like what they do and feel that it’s important.
That’s why it’s worth breaking up the routine. People thrive on the unexpected, in measured doses, and small tweaks here and there can help your daily schedule feel fresh and interesting.
A well-placed and thoughtful gift, perhaps to mark a holiday or some kind of personal or professional milestone, not only makes employees feel noticed and appreciated but it also helps break up that routine. By injecting new, different experiences into their working lives, you help employees keep their work from becoming rote and repetitive, which is good for everyone.
Show You’re Listening
In a time when your company culture is arguably more important than ever, employees don’t just want to feel that they’re working somewhere with a good culture. They want to believe that they’re helping to shape it.
But it’s not always obvious that you’re implementing feedback or listening to what your employees need, even if you are. Sometimes, changes in processes or procedures can be opaque in terms of value alignment. If you’ve, say, changed vendors or your procurement process, that may be invisible to your employees or the impact may be unclear. Similarly, there may not be feasible changes in process you can make to accommodate employee concerns or difficulties: if some team members need to get up at the crack of dawn because of the nature of the work they do, that may not be something you can change.
Gifts are, again, a concrete and very visible way of demonstrating that you’re listening to your employees. For example, consider care packages for people that may be having a difficult time or feeling isolated in remote work – timely coffee shipments for the early-morning crews, or gifts that demonstrate aligned values like fair-trade coffee or recycled products (you may have noticed a trend, and yes, I’m a bit obsessed with coffee and notebooks).
Make Your Mark
Most importantly, when considering the type of gift you should give, think about the impression you want to make.
The beauty of great gifts is that the way they make a person feel can resonate years later, even after they’ve forgotten exactly what it was. When people are considering where they want to work, there are a whole host of considerations that only vary by degree — compensation, working hours, etc. — and aren’t unique to you. But a special, well-thought-out gift can be just that: something totally unique in their experience that makes you stand out with something they can’t find elsewhere.Our corporate gifting solutions advisors specialize in curating custom employee gifts with your corporate values in mind to help you stand out. Connect with us today to learn how you can streamline corporate gifting without losing the personal touch.
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