Employers often struggle with whether or not to buy gifts at the holidays for employees and customers. And if business is sluggish in this economy, it’s even more important to know if it’s a good move to spend precious funds on gifts.
A new survey by Staples, the office supply store, reveals that it could be worth the time and trouble to reward employees and show appreciation to customers at the holidays: because they like them. Even small gestures impact motivation and productivity among employees.
In the survey of 215 employees from companies of various sizes and across industries, 60% said they like their company more if they received a holiday gift. A huge majority (75%) said gifts improved employee morale, while one-third said they improved employee productivity.
As far as corporate gifts go, one in three respondents said receiving a gift from a business made them want to do business with them again in the future.
How can employers handle this without spending too much, or alienating customers and employees with the “wrong” gift? Here are some tips:
- Plan early so you can personalize gifts with your logo, or come up with just the right gift for the right price. Waiting until the last minute almost ensures you will be forced to spend more money, make bad choices or be stuck with whatever’s left at the warehouse store.
- Food is almost always appreciated. However, tread carefully when choosing food gifts. Keep diet and religious restrictions in mind. You can’t go wrong with healthy and fresh foods, such as fruit, or when you give a variety of foods in a basket so each recipient is able to enjoy something.
- Employees often enjoy electronics. Depending on your budget, you could choose to give MP3 players, headphones or tablet PCs.
- Gift cards are general enough to be enjoyed by nearly everyone.
Do you give your employees and customers gifts? Do you plan to do it this year? If not, why not?