How Important Is A Good Corporate Gift?
Many of us have worked for stingy or unimaginative bosses – The Queen included! So how important is a good corporate gift?
The truth is that when staff are feeling under-appreciated, business profits can be significantly affected over the long term.
As an example, for several years I worked for a large globally recognised, very successful and respected company (you’d know the name, but I won’t say it!). The products and team of people I worked with were amazing, but the culture really stank!
Almost everyone was unhappy and felt under-appreciated.
Each year at the Christmas party, the company refused to offer anything other than joke awards, because they didn’t want to single anyone out for appreciation.
Some years we were given a token gift, other years there would be nothing. It wasn’t dependent on the company’s financial status – it was simply a matter of whether the boss felt like spending a few extra dollars to show some form of appreciation. Most of the time, no.
Would it surprise you to know that this company, at one point, experienced 45% staff turnover in one year?
Some studies (such as those done by SHMR) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average.
So in the case of this company I worked for, based on their staff numbers and average annual salaries, the cost of that staff loss could be estimated as high as $2 million, just for that year. That’s definitely no laughing matter for the bottom line.
In comparison, I later worked for a company with a fabulous culture of inclusion, recognition and personal responsibility. The company was lean financially, so we rarely received bonuses or extra gifts, but the bosses were always there for us, encouraging us to grown and develop, and regularly saying thank you for our hard work.
The difference was stark. Almost every employee there was invested and passionate about their work. They felt like an integral part of the business – and they were. So how important is a good corporate gift? Not as important as basic, real and personal recognition.
Two of the most basic human desires are validation and appreciation – as Oprah says, “I see you, I hear you, what you say matters to me.”
Need more documented proof? MIT professor Daniel Ariely completed a study some years ago. Ariely gave study participants a piece of paper filled with random letters, and asked them to find pairs of identical letters. Each round, they were offered less money than the previous round.
People in the first group wrote their names on their sheets and handed them to the experimenter, who looked it over and said “Great” before putting it in a pile. People in the second group didn’t write down their names, and the experimenter put their sheets in a pile without looking at them. People in the third group had their work shredded immediately upon completion.
The Results? People whose work was shredded needed twice as much money as those whose work was acknowledged in order to keep doing the task. People in the second group, whose work was saved but ignored, needed almost as much money as people whose work was shredded.
As Queen Of Snow Globes, I’ve worked with quite a few companies (Garnet Hill, Triton Subs, Tata Harper, Sorel Footwear, Acton Town Hall and Bear River Band, to name a few) that value their staff enough to put a lot of careful thought into their annual gifts.
To be fair, my snow globes also require a reasonable budget, but it really doesn’t take a lot of money to make people happy in the work place.
For example, I still have a hand-written note from 17 years ago that I received from a manager. He didn’t need to personally hand it to me, to look like “the good guy”. He just left it there on my desk for me to find. It meant so much to me – which is obvious from the fact that I’ve kept it all these years!
Taking the time to personally hand write a thank you for work well done, or even just to say it in person, often means more than big, grand and expensive staff gifts.
So the question “how important is a good corporate gift” can be answered easily – not at all important, as long as you take the time to thank your employees in a simple and heartfelt way.
Take the time to at least do this – your employees and bottom line will thank you for it.