Published August 08, 2012
Taking time to thank the people who make your business a success – the employees – does wonders for morale. When people feel like their work matters, that it is valued and appreciated, it spurs them to work harder or more productively in the future. It makes the daily grind of waking up, commuting to work, and putting in a full day much more rewarding and engaging if you know you are doing it for a larger purpose – and that larger purpose appreciates you! Most employees don’t want to feel like just a cog in the wheel; they want to feel like a valued individual. Corporate gifts can be just the solution.
Or they could contribute to the problem! There are some cases in which corporate gifts actually backfire.
Beware giving gifts that are:
- Too personal. No one wants their boss to give them lingerie or even clothing. This is personal. Your mom is allowed to get you underwear; other than that, you buy them yourself! Don’t get too personal, whether with clothing or other items; it makes everyone uncomfortable and assumes a level of familiarity that other employees may not appreciate.
- Not personal enough. On the other end of the spectrum, some gifts scream “Everyone got this same gift for every occasion since 2004. Happy birthday/retirement/maternity leave/get well!” It could just as easily been given to the 30-year veteran as to the 3-month intern. Be a little personal; your employees deserve recognition for who they are. You also don’t want to be the boss that sent fresh steaks to your vegetarian employees or chocolate brownies to your diabetic employees. It does pay to learn a bit about the people who make your company work so you can tailor gifts a little.
- Of different levels of quality or cost. Everyone knows that there are different levels of pay within a corporation. But when it comes to gifts, this shouldn’t be the case. Don’t get someone in the office a lovely gourmet gift basket full of delicious treats and the next person a basket full of vending machine chocolate. The message this sends is that one is more important than the other, which is not what you want your gift to say.
The most popular corporate gifts for employees include:
- Cash or prepaid cash cards.
- Gift cards for local restaurants or shops. For special occasions, like the birth of a child, choose restaurants, stores, or spas that are high-end or exclusive so you are giving something out of the ordinary, everyday routine. For more simple gift occasions, opt for a gift card to a large department store or even a gas station.
- Experience vouchers. Employees can choose one of the experiences, such as skydiving, a spa treatment, hot air ballooning, or other fun treats. Sites like XperienceDays offer this unique opportunity. Check it out – you will be the best boss ever.
- Gourmet foods. Go beyond the normal office snacks and provide exotic treats for the foodies in your office. Fruit gift baskets are an alternative for those who don’t eat candy or chocolate.
- Electronics are popular corporate gift ideas. On the high end, some corporations gift smartphones and other gadgets. If your budget is more modest, a fun zip disk or drive can be fun. These also come in a variety of shapes and colors and can be customized with your corporate logo.
Everyone wants recognition. It is the thought that counts, so make sure you gifts count as well. You will create a much more productive and welcoming work environment for everyone.