Gifting is as old as humans themselves. For cavemen, gifting played a significant role in the communities and gifts were exchanged to exhibit power, authority, respect, care, and love. Today, gift giving has transcended beyond the immediate social circle to the corporate setup. Employee gifting for major festivals like Christmas, Diwali, and New Year has been customary for over two decades and over time, companies have used performance rewards and long service awards to motivate their teams. It is safe to say corporate gifting has become indispensable in the last five years to engage, recognize, appreciate, and keep employees happy.
One would imagine that corporate gifting would have gone down post the pandemic but according to Coresight Research and GiftNow, employers have actually increased their gifting frequency post-pandemic by up to 70%
The pandemic created a sense of insecurity and an immense need to reassess priorities. Higher pay is no longer the only priority for employees. In fact, a recent study found that 61% in India are willing to accept a lower salary or forgo a pay rise and/or promotion for better work-life balance, overall well-being and happiness.
People are the centre of any business; losing them can be a deal-breaker. So engaging employees at an emotional level is key to retaining talent.
According to science, gifts have the power to create a positive emotional experience and bring forth a sense of connection – the one that employees seek in their employer. Gifts are tangible touchpoints for employers to show that they see, value, and care for their employees in more meaningful ways than one.
How has the pandemic revolutionised corporate gifting?
Before the pandemic, new hires received welcome kits with company swags. But in the post-pandemic era, employers are beginning to send out goodies with offer letters to create a positive connection and excitement even before onboarding. One of our clients, a large multinational company, reported a decreased dropout rate of 50% with yearly mass hiring of up to 15,000 employees.
During the dreadful pandemic, wellness and self-care kits became popular gifting options in corporations. Employers sent thoughtfully curated care kits with items such as personalized face masks, sanitisers, digital thermometers, and an oximeter to care for and support them through such testing times.
Now, post-pandemic, the demand for gifts with a focus on wellness is high. Clients are increasingly choosing smartwatches and fitness equipment like yoga mats, dumbbells, roller wheels, etc. Some companies also offer to reimburse gym and yoga memberships so their employees can make fitness a lifestyle without worrying about extra expenses incurred.
In the past, tenure awards were generally reserved for employees completing milestones such as 10 or 25 years and retirement. But now, employers are keen on recognizing even a year-old employee. One of our engineering and tech clients headquartered in Germany gave an assortment of goodies to 20,000 employees that nearly got their social media buzzing for a couple of weeks.
Previously, performance awards in organizations were only for the top performers, often repetitive recipients, leaving most employees with nothing to be proud of. But now, recognition and gratitude are beginning to be wired in the culture, and employers are seen offering kudos for a job well done with gift cards, trophies, and virtual shout-outs to all deserving workers.
One-size-fits-all was the gifting model before the pandemic. But during the pandemic, gifting companies like ourselves have added a new option to meet the needs of employees by creating microsites called “Brand Stores”. Instead of giving a generic and perhaps useless gift, employees can now pick a gift of their choice from a pre-selected range displayed on the company brand store. Our clients have reported that this personalized approach to gifting has led to increased employee satisfaction with their giveaways to almost 90%.
This personalized approach to gifting has seen the employee satisfaction rate around gifting double from 50% to almost 99% for our client who is a dominant e-commerce player headquartered in Bengaluru.
Another exciting trend in the gifting realm within corporations is the goodies kit sent to ex-employees. Yes, you read that right! The relationship between an employer and an employee evolves over the years and it’s heart-warming to see employers reach out to their talented ex-employees with goodies to network, keep them in the loop, create goodwill, and welcome them back when it’s the right time.
With the onset of the great resignation, some employers are going one step further by seeing off their departing employees with the right attitude of creating fond memories through send-off gifts.
“Previously, performance awards in organizations were only for the top performers, often repetitive recipients, leaving most employees with nothing to be proud of. But now, recognition and gratitude are beginning to be wired in the culture, and employers are seen offering kudos for a job well done with gift cards, trophies, and virtual shout-outs to all deserving workers.”
Employer branding through corporate gifting
Standing out is crucial because your company can get lost in the sea of competitors. So having a good branding strategy can pay off to attract potential candidates and even market your company.
One of the clever tactics of the many approaches is partnering up with corporate gifting companies to establish a deeper and more meaningful connection with employees.
Your efforts to build a good employer brand can help to reduce turnover rates by nearly 30% and cut your costs-per-hire by half, as per a LinkedIn study.
To learn more about the ways organisation can up their Employer Branding game, click here: Employer Branding Archives – All Things Talent
The first step to creating an engaged workforce is nurturing a culture of recognition – not just verbally but through tangible ways to show you care, see and, value your employees.
The result? Higher engagement, lower turnover, increased commitment, heightened productivity, and greater trust in the organization and leadership.
The gifting space is dynamic and filled with opportunities to create epic employee experiences in organizations. With unique gifting solutions, large and mid-sized companies now aim to offer at least two gifts to every employee each year.
About Author: Srikanth is an entrepreneur who assists organisations in creating Brand Ambassadors out of their employees, customers, and dealers by serving as a solution for corporate gifts and goodies, welcome gifts for new hires, and gift voucher solutions.
Date of Incorporation: 2008 as Touchstone Enterprises Pvt Ltd.
Number of Employees: 120
Founder: Srikanth Acharya
Key Executive: Shubra Acharya (COO)
Business Line: Corporate Gifting & Custom Merchandise
Hiring Pipeline: ~150 by the end of FY22-23
Key HR Factor: Zoho People (for attendance, leaves and regularization), Zoho Payroll (for payroll maintenance), Zoho Recruit (for recruitments activities), Nalanda (our own developed tools for training and lessons), and Winzard (for goals setting and accomplishments tracking)
Workforce Pie (in %): Logistics (32%), Sales (20%), Operation (18%), Account (4%), Sales Support (4%), Brandstore (3%), Tech & Development (2%), and rest in home office, HR, Social Media, Admin and Customer Support.