Leaders – stop and think about the message your employee gifts are sending

As November rolls around, it can often feel like time starts to speed up. All of a sudden, Christmas decorations are everywhere, your calendar starts filling up with social engagements and you are left with no doubt that the festive season is in full swing. As an organisation’s leader, you could well be starting to think about employee gifts and how to reward your team for another year of hard work. Perhaps you’ve even started browsing one of the various gift hamper sites on the internet?

Before your mouse clicks the ‘Buy Now’ button for 27 gift hampers containing questionable crackers and chutneys, or send your assistant out to buy a few cases of wine to distribute among the team, take a moment to stop. Giving an end-of-year gift is an opportunity to show employees that you truly know them, care about them, and understand them. Is a generic corporate hamper going to be genuinely appreciated, or just seen as something tokenistic? Or even worse, could you be giving wine to someone who doesn’t even drink?

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase ‘it’s the thought that counts’ and maybe you’ve even used that as a justification for standard corporate gifts. But if that adage is true – and I believe that it is – how much thought have you really put in to buying that hamper/wine/chocolate? If you are buying the same thing for each of your employees, then I’d have to say that it’s probably not a lot. A hamper is great if you know your employee would like to receive it; perhaps you know that they’ll be hosting lots of family members over the holidays and having a stash of edible goodies will be really useful. The problem is when you don’t take the time to know what an employee would like and just choose any old gift with no level of personalisation.

Here’s three fantastic reasons why leaders should put a bit more effort into corporate gifts this festive season:

  • According to TalentSmart, managers who care about the experience of their employees are the managers people will want to have on their side not only when things get tricky but also on a daily basis.
  • If you want to be a more likeable leader, never forget that your team members are humans first. Giving a personally tailored gift is an opportunity to connect with employees as a person first, boss second.
  • Taking time to know your team members strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes will allow you to use that knowledge to draw the very best performance from your employees. So not only can you use that knowledge to get a gift that your employee will enjoy and appreciate, but also get a tangible business benefit.

Relating to people as humans and individuals first is an important element of emotional intelligence. And emotional intelligence is absolutely a skill that can be learned and enhanced. Through our leadership coaching, including our one-to-one Coach-on-Call service, and training workshops, People Make The Difference can help you to become a more people-centric leader.

To find out more about our training and coaching services, visit www.peoplemakethedifference.com.au or call +61 412 333 415.

P.S. – Don’t forget that these same tips apply to client gifts too! Showing your appreciation with a low-cost but personalised and considered gift will go a lot further than an expensive but generic gift.