Since the pandemic, companies have had to significantly change their employee engagement playbooks to support changing business environments. As many companies were forced to transition to remote or hybrid staffing, employees took the opportunity to rethink their company positioning, overall job satisfaction and personal needs.
According to the ADP Research Institute, the Covid-19 pandemic led to the realization of the total package of what employees want, from alignment with company values to achieving work-life balance, job satisfaction and security to better pay and career advancement.
Business leaders are now discovering that they can engage employees to increase loyalty and retention by adopting a thoughtful and well-planned promotional gift strategy. In 2021, the importance of promotional gifts started to catch on, as 39% of companies worked to increase their promotional gift budget, with the promotional gift market expected to reach $312 billion in the next two years.
This article serves as a practical guide with helpful tips for business leaders and professionals looking to improve the efficiency of their employee gifting programs. Personalization and thoughtful selection of employee gifts are essential in the modern business world, especially when it comes to boosting employee morale and engagement in the post-pandemic era. Here we offer some specific strategies and tools to streamline your company’s gifting process and enable the creation of a seamless and meaningful employee experience.
1. Make a good first impression
To make sure your employees feel valued and motivated in their role, it’s important to start the onboarding process from day one. The key is making new team members feel at home and comfortable in the workplace while showing the shared values they resonate with to take a step forward in the right direction.
To achieve high standards of excellence as a business leader, it is essential to nurture an intentional and innovative character work culture that supports continuous improvement and employee engagement. Starting or ending the onboarding process by giving new hires something practical as a gift not only engages them during their first weeks on the job, but also supports them in their role.
To create a more meaningful onboarding experience, some companies choose to send new employee packs or swag packs that add a personal touch. In a recent Forbes article, the CEO and co-founder of Coolperx points out the importance of onboarding gifts that align well with the company’s culture and vision. With this, less is more when it comes to quality gifts. Even on a modest budget, a small, high-quality token will make a new hire feel like they made the right choice by accepting the position at your company.
2. Build strong working relationships
Having a good working relationship between managers and employees ensures that operations run smoothly with more collaboration and less conflict in the workplace. What’s more, it offers entrepreneurs and leaders the chance to get to know every employee. Over time, managers will develop a better interpersonal understanding of each employee as an individual. This makes it easier to create or put together personalized gifts all year round.
According to The KPI Institute, more than 50% of promotional gifts are related to making gifts more memorable and customized for the recipient. This doesn’t just mean that managers take the time to create and deliver handwritten cards for each employee on holidays or recognition days. It also means selecting personalized gifts for employees from unique and reliable suppliers.
One company making strides to help businesses connect with their employees is Spoonful of Comfort, a personalized gifts brand that focuses on nurturing relationships. Founder Marti Wymer and her team built a successful loyalty counterfeiting service that shipped millions of unique comfort food care packages containing personalized notes and items for business occasions. Not only this, but their corporate gifts sector allows businesses to create a free business account on their website for bulk orders. They can also use this for “serviced” work-from-home meals – and more – for an overall streamlined ordering and receiving process.
3. Try automated employee gifts
It doesn’t have to be as impersonal as it sounds. While gifting is automated, your gift selections will not be. And it shows that you are invested in the long term with your employees and that you value them on this journey together.
The future of employee gift giving shows us that the market for premium promotional gifts is growing significantly, with experts expecting a CAGR of 3.01% over the next five years. Automated employee gifts have become an increasingly popular trend among entrepreneurs and businesses. This is mainly due to the ability to reduce the workload of departments and preserve human capital for other projects.
While the sentence automated gift giving may not sound ideal, but companies like Ongoody and Blueboard show that investing in corporate gifts and employee benefits can effectively improve employee retention rates. Since you’ve already built strong working relationships with your employees and got to know their preferences and personalities, you already have the building blocks to easily find gifts they’ll love.
Of save time in mind, this knowledge will help you decide which online gift platform is the best choice for your business. Plus, you no longer have to worry about last-minute gifts for birthdays and anniversaries. Using a scheduling platform like Smart Campaign, you can program dates to send gift cards or gifts with a thoughtful, personal message.
4. Set up a recognition program
We’ve already talked about building relationships with every employee of the company and how getting to know them can help you find the right personalized gifts. The ITA group has taken this idea a step further by encouraging companies to revive employee recognition by creating a roadmap for a personalization strategy and identifying employee personas to understand motivators and pain points.
Companies that spend time and energy developing a solid employee recognition program will reap the benefits of a more unified corporate culture where employees feel motivated and focused. Studies have also shown that implementing employee recognition programs has the ability to reduce employee burnout and improve employee turnover by more than 50 percent. Experts of Forbes also note the increased importance of employee recognition in today’s job market, as it teaches critical leadership skills that result in increased productivity and morale.
Elements to consider including:
But what makes a positive and engaging recognition program? First think about why you are developing the recognition program and what you want to achieve. Just like with a marketing plan, you want to think about your SMART goals and objectives. In addition, you want to consider what type of employee behavior you envision to achieve the company’s mission.
Then use different methods to collect feedback on the current recognition program. This could be as simple as sending out a survey to employees, executive teams, or human resources. This would help define what defines a happy and productive workforce. You can also discuss thoughts in one-on-one or department meetings. While employees can provide more insight into their personal needs and expectations, HR will determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the program. Executives can then ensure that the program aligns with company values, budgeting, and program parameters.
According to the Association for Human Resource Management, employers must include an annual review process to make updates as needed and keep employees interested in the program. As a result, they will remain motivated to give their all in their work. If your employee recognition program is fall flatregular reviews and program evaluations will provide insight into the cause.
5. Create a pop-up store
In addition to developing an employee recognition program, consider hosting in-house or online pop-up shops. Or consider other employee incentive events. Industry insights suggest that having multiple recognition and reward elements in your program encourages different levels of work ethic and loyalty. They can also be easily adapted to the company’s objectives and employees’ needs, as they inevitably change over time.
This is a great way to also support community businesses that can provide high quality, locally made gifts that fit your strategy and budget. Private online pop-up stores, such as Neighborly Gifts, are an example of how you can select locally curated products and services for your employees to choose from. You can also partner with local businesses and restaurants to keep it personal pop up shops or other incentive events during the year.
These events can also be great opportunities to put your employees and entire teams in the limelight on a regular basis. You do that with fun announcements and monthly newsletters. But pop-up stores also give you the option to give employees and teams coupons that offer special discounts and free items on valuable rewards. As a result, these physical stores will not only increase in the short term employee involvement and satisfaction, you can also build brand and product awareness for the company.
Giving gifts to employees isn’t just about showing appreciation across the board. It’s about creating personal and lasting connections with the people who help run your business. Streamlining the art of employee gifting in your company comes down to being prepared. And it comes down to getting to know your employees from the very beginning of the working relationship between company and employee. By being consistent and thoughtful in how you make employees feel valued, your company will reap the long-term benefits of a loyal and productive workforce.
Featured Image Credit: RDNE Stock Project; Pexels; Thank you.
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