At the heart of any successful organization are people.
More than in previous generations, today’s employees want to feel engaged and appreciated at work. They hope to be able to show up as their whole selves and contribute in meaningful ways. And they want their employer to recognize that they have a life outside of work that matters too.
The pandemic has also impacted what people expect from their employers. Many are rethinking everything from where they work to where they live. Flexible workplace policies and shared values have become just as important as salary. And the gap between professional and personal has closed after seeing into each other’s homes during Zoom meetings and learning to balance work and life in this strange new world.
The shift toward more human-centered workplaces has prompted organizations to prioritize employee engagement. One key element of many engagement strategies is corporate gifting. But beyond professional milestones like onboarding, promotions, or work anniversaries, celebrating personal life events can help employees feel more genuinely valued.
We can all think of a time when someone unexpectedly showed up for us—whether it was a friend who came to our family member's funeral or a colleague who surprised us with a gift for our newborn. Those gestures meant something.
We founded PlumTree to give companies the tools to proactively recognize their employees’ major milestones—both professional and personal. It’s wonderful when individual managers or coworkers celebrate with their teams, but it can be hard to make these celebrations consistent across the organization. When the gesture comes from the company, it is a powerful tool for creating positive workplace culture.
How gifts for your employees' personal life events make a difference
Celebrating personal life events can improve employee health.
The Gartner 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey found that 23% more employees report improved mental health, and 17% report better physical health when they feel their employer has developed deeper relationships with them.
A gift is a tangible signal of appreciation that makes a team member feel seen, appreciated, and supported. Instead of worrying about hiding what's happening in their personal life, that employee can focus that energy on showing up as their best self at work and home.
Personal gifts can foster connection.
Gifts can help to strengthen the relationship between the organization and the employee, building loyalty and goodwill. Unlike a cash award or gift card, a specifically selected gift is more meaningful and not subject to tax.
Recognizing life events can improve performance and company culture.
The same Gartner 2020 survey referenced above showed a 21% increase in high performers in companies that holistically supported their employees. Beyond that, a recent survey by Globoforce found that employers are nearly twice as likely to say their company is a good place to work when they are satisfied with how life events are recognized.
Helping new parents thrive in the office and at home
Becoming a parent is a life-changing moment. It's one of the times in life when you are suddenly open to making significant life changes to align with your shifting priorities.
By taking the first step to support and celebrate this significant moment in an employee's life, you can reassure them that you're prepared to help them find the right balance to succeed at work and in this new life role. A gift that includes something for the parent and something for their new addition can be just the thing!
Supporting employees through illness or loss
Coping with an illness's emotional, financial, and logistical challenges is hard enough without worrying about its impact on work. Similarly, grieving the death of a loved one can make it hard to get through the day.
In addition to helping your employee access their benefits and make a plan to cover their responsibilities in their absence, show them that you care about what they are going through with a thoughtful gift and message.
Celebrating employee birthdays
Everyone has one, and they happen every year, so does a formal program celebrating employee birthdays matter? We think so.
A consistent program for recognizing each team member's birthday can be a nice addition to your employee engagement program. Since there can be privacy concerns around birth dates and some people don't like making a big deal about their birthday, we suggest keeping birthday recognition simple.
- Choose a small gift, a physical greeting card, or even a personalized email.
- Have the greeting come directly from the CEO or a leadership team member.
- Ensure that every employee receives the same birthday acknowledgment. Remember, individual managers or coworkers may also celebrate birthdays within their teams, but standardize the company greeting for equity.
Recognizing educational achievement
Many motivated employees return to school part-time to earn a certificate or graduate degree. The additional skills and knowledge gained can improve work performance while offering a sense of personal accomplishment. Your organization may even reimburse some of the tuition or continuing education expenses.
When an employee completes their program of study, it is an opportunity to recognize their efforts and celebrate.
Showing employees they are valued
Are you looking for a way to build stronger relationships with your employees, enhance workplace satisfaction, and create a genuinely supportive workplace?
Let us help you build a customized corporate gifting program that shows your employees that you care about them as people.
Get your custom proposal here.