Learning & Development, Startup HR

The Surprising Importance of Employer Gifts

Anyone who’s worked long enough in Corporate America has likely had occasion to roll their eyes at a gift received from their company: an ugly t-shirt with the company logo; a pen and notepad seemingly worth less than $1; or countless coffee mugs. Employers are generally aware that the gifts they give to employees aren’t necessarily going to be home runs. After all, employers are getting gifts for dozens if not hundreds or thousands of workers, and it’s difficult and expensive to get something worthwhile and personalized for everyone.

Gifts Employees Will Appreciate, Even Treasure

But research from “The 2021-22 Employer Gift-Giving Report” that Mrs. Prindables (a national e-commerce brand specializing in corporate gifting) published in November suggests that, with respect to company gifts, it often is the thought that counts. The report features data from a survey of 1,092 US-based employees that cover a wide range of topics surrounding receiving and giving corporate gifts. The report shows that 57 percent of surveyed employees said they’re more likely to be loyal and continue working for a company that provides gifts to employees, while 62 percent said they do not expect to receive a gift from their employer this year for the holidays.

These two data points suggest an opportunity for employers to surprise their workers with a token of their appreciation this year. Most workers aren’t expecting and most believe such a gesture would make them more loyal to the organization.

But Some Gifts Can Be Turnoffs

At the same time, not all gifts are created equal. Employers need to know that getting a gift perceived as cheap or thoughtless can be a turnoff for some employees. According to the report:

  • 37% said they’ve felt underappreciated by their employer based on the gifts they’ve received.
  • 56% of respondents believe the gifts they’ve received from their employer are “impersonal” and/or “generic.”  
    • 66% of the employees with a household income of $100,000 or more felt the gifts they’ve received from their employer were “impersonal” and/or “generic.”
    • By comparison, only 52% of employees making $100,000 or less perceived the gifts they’ve received as “impersonal” or “generic.”
    • 42% of respondents reported having received a gift from an employer that they didn’t want.

While these numbers suggest it doesn’t hurt for employers to put some thought into their gift giving, it’s important to note that only a minority – albeit a large minority – felt underappreciated based on gifts they’ve received. Although many employees felt that the gifts they received were impersonal or generic, this doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t appreciate the gesture.

The takeaway for employers this year is that even a relatively small gesture around the holidays can help generate a boost in employee morale and loyalty. Companies that go the extra mile and try to get their workers thoughtful and meaningful gifts can expect even greater dividends.

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