Gifting Helps Build Culture – from Recruitment to Retention

Happy Employees

Chelsea Williams
Director of People Operations, Reachdesk

Company culture is just as important as salary and benefits but working remotely makes socialization and recognition more difficult. According to Mercer, one in 30 employees were working remotely pre-Covid vs. one in three employees today. Yet, even with the success of flexible schedules, employers can’t rest on their laurels.

Harvard Business Review analyzed studies over a decade to hone in on the key to job satisfaction. I love to say this: Happiness is the answer. Every aspect of the business is impacted by employees’ happiness: sales by 37%, productivity by 31% and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a long list of benefits to employee health and overall quality of life.

To keep employees happy, companies are celebrating their people – work anniversaries, promotions, life events and milestones – and letting each employee know their value with the implementation of corporate gifting. However, a gifting program is only a starting point.  Employers should create a culture of appreciation from the beginning.

Here are ways organizations can recognize employees – and potential candidates – wherever they are.

Create a Culture Potential Employees Want to Join

Chelsea Williams
Chelsea Williams

Millions of people quit their jobs in the last year and a half. After speaking with 250 manufacturing workforce development professionals about the “Great Resignation,” Matt Fieldman, executive director of America Works, proposed The Great Recognition as the new focus. This starts well before someone becomes an employee: It starts with any candidate who comes in contact with your brand.

A company’s culture matters most to people considering a job, says Glassdoor. For scaleups especially, you may not be able to compete on every aspect of an offer, but you can set yourself apart from the competition by building deep connections to your brand. The competition for top talent is fierce. Infusing candidate appreciation – even during the recruitment process to stand out is a winning strategy. For example, we give candidates meal gift cards to acknowledge the time they spend on our interview process because we know it is time away from other things that matter to them.

Our goal is to build lasting relationships with people. People who join the company, people who don’t ever join the company and people who leave the company. We want to create forever friends of Reachdesk. We use gifting throughout the entire candidate and employee journey to do this. People talk and share experiences with their networks. That network could include other potential candidates or even clients. You never know.

Build Employee Engagement

Once on board, there are many ways to influence company morale. Here are some of our strategies. We use the Donut App on Slack to create informal “happy hour” settings, play virtual games and encourage randomized connections between employees outside the context of work.

In our “Daily Serotonin Slack,” people post photos about things that increase their serotonin levels like dogs, funny memes, beautiful nature images and more. Building those ties between people helps keep them connected, engaged and wanting to stay with their current employer.

Additionally, we prioritize gifting internally, not only at the most important milestones in employees’ lives, but for the small wins, too. Consider gifting to recognize your unsung heroes or someone who goes above and beyond. It is those surprise and delight moments that lead to engaged, valued and happy employees.

Reward and Recognize Your Employees

A recent Gallup study shows employees are four times more likely to be engaged at work if they strongly agree they are adequately recognized. Recognition happens at the organization, team and individual levels. Great managers know to take an individual approach to understand what motivates their employees and the type of praise they like to receive. There are great frameworks and tools like Moving Motivators to help managers get this nuanced understanding of their employee preferences.

Managers should tailor how they reward and recognize employees accordingly. Simply sending a generic box of chocolates for a birthday won’t be as meaningful as remembering their upcoming family vacation and sending them a hotel gift card with a personalized note.

Since the cost of turnover is high, hiring employees who will do stellar work and remain at your company for years is a smart business decision. Launching rewards and recognition programs as early as the recruiting process can attract top talent, improve performance, and build connections. Even a simple “thank you” will go a long way to grow your talent pipeline and build a better culture for everyone.

Chelsea Williams is the Director of People Operations at Reachdesk, where she currently leads the People Experience, People Partnering and Talent teams. She takes a multi-disciplinary approach to her work, drawing from behavioral psychology, HR studies and human-centered design thinking to build cultures that are resilient, people-first and transparent.

Image: iStock

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