Everything you need to know
about employee gifting and R&R
Devyani Trivedi | November 30,2018
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As an organisation, you may boast of swanky offices, flexible work hours and a fun work culture, but more often than not, these may not be enough to keep your employees happy. Here’s where workplace appreciation and gratitude come into play.

Did you know appreciation has a huge impact on your employees’ psychological health? According to an Emergenetics International article, “Showing gratitude can increase a person’s wellness, increase better sleep habits, increase metabolism and lessen stress. This directly impacts work results and employee interaction. With employee appreciation, you’re not only boosting performance and engagement, but the employee’s well-being and health.”

That’s why, it’s ever-so-important to create an appreciation plan that fits your company values, mission, culture and most importantly, something all employees can participate in and benefit from. 

One of the best ways to encourage employee engagement and loyalty is through employee gifting and rewards and recognition. HR policies are often directed towards appreciating talent in way of celebratory gifting during festive times or through performance awards. Not only do these gestures keep employees motivated, they also help in cultivate a positive company culture and strengthen employee relationships.

According to an article in People Matters, “Human Resource managers will increasingly understand that reward & loyalty is not a programme — it is a journey and a strategic business goal. Initiatives around it will focus on engagement and building long-term framework for achieving desired results.”

It’s ever-so-important to create an appreciation plan that fits your company values, mission, culture and most importantly, something all employees can participate in and benefit from.

Why do companies gift?

While it’s true that companies gift for employee happiness and engagement, let’s look at the bigger picture. So what happens when an employee is happy and feels valued at the workplace? They look forward to working with the organisation for the coming years. Hence, employee gifting fosters greater employee retention, something every company and every HR manager strives for.

Here are 5 data points that impress upon the importance of rewards and recognition.

How can proactive employee gifting and R&R impact your organisation and your workforce?

Here are the 4 major benefits of employee recognition and gifting that bring about a positive change in any company, no matter how big or small.

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1. Foster employee happiness

Acknowledgement gives your workforce the confidence and motivation they need to keep moving forward. Not only that, employee recognition and gifting can also enhance loyalty and promote collaboration. After all, your workplace should always promote positive reinforcement and embrace constructive feedback. Also, happy employees are more productive. It’s a win-win for you and your staff.

2. Boost morale and motivation

Ensure that your organisation’s leadership plays a crucial part in employee motivation. Letting your staff know their hard work is being recognised by the management can help motivate your company’s most valuable asset.

3. Cultivate a culture of self-improvement

Employee recognition and gifting in the workplace can also bring in the much-needed push for self-improvement among employees. It’s a win-win for both - you and your employees. Provide your workforce with opportunities to learn and recognise them in the process. Incentivise learning and reward those who have taken the time to focus on self-improvement.

4. Attract, inspire and retain talent

We can’t stress enough that  employee recognition and gifting is one of the best approaches to retain your workforce. However, in addition to retention, a robust R&R programme might also help you attract new talent and inspire them to join your company instead of another one that does not have any such policies in place.

According to Ben Weber, Vendor Resource Management, “Employee retention is multidimensional, so it is important that employers proactively manage the organisation’s culture including emotional intelligence of leaders, employee appreciation, job stimulation, security and compensation and rewards. A deficiency in one or more of these categories will result in employee turnover.”

Here’s an article we like about what HR professionals across the world feel about having a thriving employee retention plan.

How the employee gifting set-up looks like in the Indian corporate space?

Companies have acknowledged that a well-planned employee recognition and gifting program has the power to impact many aspects of business, including morale, productivity, engagement and retention. With such realisations percolating more and more through the Indian corporate space, companies are genuinely valuing the idea of employee gifting and R&R. In order to learn more about the ground reality of employee gifting in the Indian corporate space, Zeta conducted a dipstick survey on the subject. The survey revealed some very interesting insights.

According to the study, 92% employees look forward to receiving gifts from their company during special occasions. However, only 55% employees received gifts from their companies during festivals, birthdays or upon completion of a milestone.

This suggests that there’s a major disparity in what employees expect from employers and the extent to which corporations are really implementing gifting exercises. Is it a conscious effort or are they facing any challenges?

Up for a bit of parody? Here’s a funny take on 5 reasons for employers to ‘avoid’ employee appreciation.

Employee gifting and R&R: Challenges employers face

The importance of employee rewards and recognition is barely debated in the corporate space. However, there’s always a lack of satisfaction about recognition in employees. Let’s try and get to why.

We can attribute that  to several logistical difficulties attached to running a successful employee rewards programme that infuses an inertia in many small and medium-sized companies to implement it. A report from the Aberdeen Group, The Power of Employee Recognition, 2013 states, “Only 14% of organisations provide managers with the necessary tools for rewards and recognition.” Again, for those companies that are spread across wide geographical locations, the entire exercise can result into an immense expenditure. For exactly these reasons, R&R is often sidelined.

So, let’s jot down some of the challenges every employer faces while trying to implement a fool-proof employee gifting and R&R programme:

1. Procurement and logistics-related issues

It’s no mean task for HR managers to procure gifts and rewards for employees manually, especially when there’s tedious logistics involved. From placing orders to tracking them, the whole exercise is harrowing for the team. No HR professional wants logistical nightmares to come true!

2. Transparency issues

It’s not unusual for budget that’s supposed to be allocated to employee gifting being misused due to lack of transparency and accountability in some situations. Many organisations complain of such problems in managing of finances, especially because most times, in case of merchandise-based gifting, the money trail may not be documented online.

3. Pilferage

Since employee gifts amount to a certain monetary value, pilferage of vouchers or coupons is always a major concern among those who organise R&R. Stolen vouchers or cash-loaded gift cards may adversely affect the entire practice of gifting in your organisation.

4. Vendor management

Coordinating with multiple vendors can be a time-consuming task and results in a gifting exercise prolonging beyond what is necessary. From ensuring that the vendor is sticking to timelines to haggling over costs and deals, the entire logistical exercise is as extensive as it gets. Delivering as per expectations also remains a major issue.

5. Customisation and control

Incorporating company-specific policies in a gifting programme is not easy today with most solutions being tailored as per vendor offerings. You may want to add a special message or include your company logo, set an expiry date on vouchers and so on. You hardly enjoy a control on customisation of the solutions.

6. Lack of on-the-spot gifting solutions

Unless achievements are celebrated as they unfold, the value of rewards fizzle. While some awards and gifting you can plan for, there are always those that come your way unplanned. A manager wanting to reward a team member for brilliant performance or perhaps an employee’s birthday or a vendor turning in out-of-ordinary work deserves a moment of recognition. For such on-the-spot gifting requirements, you either have to ensure you maintain a steady stock of gift vouchers/ cards or you have a solution that can churn up a gift suitable to your requirement.

7. No data on your gifting exercise

Once distributed, you hardly have any way of finding out the way your gifting programme worked. For e-vouchers, you would not know if your employees used them at all if the vouchers were used within the validity period and where they were spent. There’s no data to improve your gifting exercise any further.

When do companies give gifts to their employees?

There are a lot of occasions and reasons to celebrate and shower your co-workers with gifts. From rewarding your star performers to festive or celebratory gifting, it’s necessary to know when the right time is to gift your employees. A key element in determining its effectiveness lies in timeliness. The gift will lose relevance if it is not presented at the right moment. Maintaining such timelines can be a real challenge with you getting caught up in logistical hassles of organising a gifting exercise.

Most importantly, your employees will lose the sense of gratitude and happiness that is induced by timely gifting. It is important your gifting solution is able to account for timelines and the value of spontaneity. Celebrating achievements and occasions as they unfold is a must if you want to convey to employees how much they mean.

Do you know about the 5 things that actually matter in employee gifting and R&R? Download a free copy of our e-book for detailed insights now.

What gifts do companies usually give their employees?

In a recent dipstick study we conducted that studied responses from over 1700 corporate employees, some very interesting insights regarding employee gifting have come to the fore. Let’s find out.

The survey revealed that 48% companies present gift cards or gift vouchers to their employees during festivals, birthdays and other important occasions. The second-most popular gift is a box of sweets - which is the choice of 40% companies Other popular gifts include cash (20%), kitchenware (11%) and home decor (10%).

Do employees like the gifts they receive?

While 92% employees look forward to getting gifts from their employers during special occasions, the gifts they get are not always appreciated by them in its true sense. One of the most popular gifts is also one of the least preferred by employees - Box of sweets. Almost 48% of the employees who received a box of sweets on Diwali didn’t really find it meaningful or thoughtful enough. Similarly, boxes of chocolates and dry fruits induce the same reaction, with 36% and 35% employees claiming it to be their least-preferred gifts.

So, what do employees do if they don’t like their gifts?

According to the survey, 9% employees pass on the gifts they receive to someone else. They pass it on to their family members or to some acquaintance at another occasion. Some even prefer to dispose of it.

What gifts do employees prefer to receive?

The findings suggest that online gift cards/vouchers are the most-preferred gift with 46% employees voting in favour of them. Cash bonus turned out to be the second most preferred gift with 32% respondents giving their thumbs up in approval.

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The future of employee gifting and R&R

If an organisation wishes to understand the expectation of the employees from a well-designed R&R programme, it is necessary to put yourself in their shoes. Ask important questions like what do employees want and when do they want it. Read what People Matters has to say about designing effective R&R programmes in the digital era.

The entry of millennials has redefined workplaces in many ways. However, your workforce is made up of people from at least two generations - Gen X and millennials. The mindset of each group is bound to vary and what appeals to them as gifts is also obviously poles apart. At such a point, it is important to consider what an ideal gift is.

While a box of the most lip-smacking mithai would possibly be preferred by Gen X employees, it will be frowned upon by the younger employees. Similarly, a gadget will appeal to younger generations more than others. It is difficult to arrive conclusively at a ‘perfect’ gift that appeals to all. However, a gift that can prove useful and meaningful for each one of them will be the “ideal” gift you’re looking for.

It’s high time we stop restricting our gifting exercises. Why should rewards and gifting be organised only once or twice a year when you have so many reasons to celebrate. Employees don’t expect expensive gifts, they just want to break free from routine sometimes. Even small gestures make a world of difference.

If your rewards and recognition exercise has been costing you a lot of time, money and effort, maybe now is the time to reconsider the modules you follow for gifting employees. Ask yourself - How can I reduce the costs and time spent on managing your employee gifting programme? Are there any tools or solutions available in the market that can simplify the process of planning and disbursal?

Do your research and find out the positives and negatives of your employee gifting module. Also study the market as well as your competitors’ gifting programmes. Take your cues and find the best solution that suits your needs and fulfils the needs of your employees as well.

While the intent in employee gifting must be humanitarian, the way we design our programme can’t be traditional anymore. Now is the time to overcome the challenges faced in procurement, logistics, on-the-spot gifting and more and make the experience seamless for you and your workforce.

We’re already stepping into the future. Now is the right time to stop following conventional gifting that includes haggling with vendors, procuring gifts, managing logistics and eliminating any chance of pilferage in the process.

With a high penetration of smartphones in the country and increased internet usage among smartphone users, digitisation is the way forward. Want to learn more? Stay tuned for more insights on how digitisation can help you design effective R&R programmes.

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