“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.” -- Pierre Corneille, poet
These wise words apply to businesses as well. While the holidays are prime time for corporate giving, it is not the only time smart business leaders should use it as an employee retention strategy or a sales and marketing tool. Giving gifts is a critical strategy for any business committed to growth.
By 2024, corporate gifting will be a $242-billion industry, according to Coresight Research. It will continue to increase as new employee incentive programs show impressive results for companies seeking to keep employees during hiring freezes. And building a strong customer base continues to be a critical part of any company’s growth strategy.
Gifting as an HR Strategy
A recent study of 1,500 employees in the United States reported that 54% said they would be more likely to stay at their job if they received meaningful gifts from their employer. More than 75% said a meaningful gift makes them feel appreciated at work. However, nearly one-third of the employees said they’ve never received a gift at work, so their employers are leaving themselves vulnerable to losing those employees to companies that value their staff. This is an opportunity for a smart HR leader to gain a significant competitive advantage.
Showing appreciation for your employees’ hard work should be a year-round retention strategy, not just relegated to the holiday season. The simple act of showing employees they are a priority can improve your company’s bottom line. When you consistently and authentically thank your employees and reward them for a job well done, you build a culture of loyalty, inclusion, and connection.
Gifting Occasions For Employees
There are plenty of opportunities to show appreciation for staff throughout the year. Here are some examples of internal gifting projects we’ve worked on with clients.
New Employee Onboarding: First impressions are critical. Create a memorable one by providing your new staff members with branded items they can use daily at work. For example, your welcome package could include awater bottle, notebook, pen, backpack or tote bag, polo or t-shirt, stickers, and a wireless charging station. If you have remote employees, they might appreciate a branded desk set with a mouse pad, notepad, and pen, a wellness kit with a yoga mat and block, or a pet parent set with a leash and bandana.
Conferences and Company Retreats: When you bring your staff together, offer them fun gifts that enhance your relationship with them. For example, we created a meeting gift portal for a client’s recent executive retreat where each executive could choose a high-end gift such as a Barbour jacket, Tumi luggage, or Apple Watch. We also coordinated room drops each night with custom Converse shoes, a best-selling book by Tom Hanks with a branded belly band, and more. As a result, each executive felt appreciated and more engaged with their employer.
Employee Reward Program: Simple gestures can mean a tremendous amount to employees. A year-long rewards program can take the form of a custom company store featuring branded apparel, work accessories, wellness gifts, or home decor. You can establish a points program where employees earn points for excellent work or for achieving milestones. These points can then be "spent" in the company store. You can also offer some items for sale to employees and their families. Our MediaLink platform can simplify the setup and management of a company store or employee rewards program. We’d be happy to schedule a demo of the We can help set this up for you with our MediaLink platform, which can accommodate multiple forms of payment.
Employee Appreciation Day: National Employee Appreciation Day is March 4, the perfect time to check in with your employees after the holidays and see how they are doing. Or, create your own company Employee Appreciation Day, a day to celebrate your staff with treats, gifts, and more. These appreciation days are an opportunity to say thank you for their hard work with personalized lifestyle gifts like fun experiences or wellness items that show them you care about their whole lives, not just their work lives.
Gifting Tips for Customers
Using gifts as a lead nurturing or relationship-building tool is not new. However, it is still an effective way to keep your business in front of your most important clients. Aligning your sales cadence with a gifting strategy is a clear path to engagement because your brand will stay top of mind to your most important prospects. A gifting strategy can set your brand apart from your competitors.
The Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020 revealed that 53% of consumers say that trust in a brand is the second most important factor when making a purchasing decision, second only to price (64%). While prospects will see right through an attempt to buy their trust, they can appreciate the thought behind a gift that shows you understand their pain point and want to try to solve it for them. That extra touch can build a connection and stimulate a business relationship of “reciprocity.”
Treat each lead or customer as an individual and personalize your gifting strategy based on their position, demographics, and place in their sales journey. For example, send practical tech gifts to tech-based customers or higher-value gifts to higher-value customers. Use a gifting strategy to open the door to a prospect who has been difficult to reach. Schedule gifts to arrive at critical decision-making moments, such as after a first purchase or before a contract ends. Recently, we curated and packaged a custom tea set for a client to send as an appreciation gift to a select group of their customers. The unusual and unexpected gift made quite the impression.
Send a mix of branded items and non-branded but personalized gift items the client would appreciate. In all gifts, include notes of gratitude and useful information the client can use when making their next purchase decision or solve an issue they are facing. When you put some thought into the gifts you send potential clients, they will remember those details when making purchase decisions.
If gifts aren’t part of your core business strategy to improve employee retention and build brand loyalty, now is the time to change that. Our experts at Phase 3 can help you get started. We’ll work with you to establish measurable objectives for your gifting strategy and determine how best to achieve them.