How do we show someone that we truly appreciate them? Well, we can tell them, of course. That’s a good place to start. But just as a picture paints a thousand words, a gesture can be worth so much more than just a few appreciative sentences.
This is, of course, true with our friends, family and loved ones. It’s also very much applicable to our work colleagues as well. We can – and should – make time to go out of our way to thank our employees for a job well done.
We can all go one better than a simple ‘thank you’ too. That’s where corporate gifts and gift vouchers come in.
Gifts and prizes have been given and awarded to an organization’s employees almost since the dawn of employment. So the notion isn’t exactly a new one.
For years, businesses have understood the benefits of recognizing and rewarding those people that work tirelessly for them. But what is new is the kind of thing that companies are now gifting their employees…
There has been a recent shift away from regular cash bonuses and ‘standard’ corporate gifts. The trend now is to reward employees with experiences. The reasons behind the new direction are numerous and more than a little convincing.
Experiential corporate gifts – and gift vouchers that offer the chance to choose such experiences – really do seem to be the future of corporate gift giving.
Let’s look at the reasons why shall we?
How have things changed?
In the past, HR professionals brainstorming ideas for corporate gifts would think in terms of actual physical items. Material objects were the go-to choice. But increasingly, it seems that people favor ‘experiencing’ something over merely ‘having’ something.
Recent research suggests that folk (especially younger folk) value experiences over things. So it stands to reason that employers should reflect this in their corporate gifts.
After all, the whole thing should be about rewarding your workforce, not giving them items they neither want nor need! So perhaps it’s time to do away with the notion of the bunch of flowers or carriage clock as an employee reward and start embracing the experience.
What are ‘experience’ gifts exactly?
Gift experiences have been popular among people away from the workplace for a little while now. They usually involve a day out somewhere unusual, doing something exciting and interesting, Something memorable.
Why ‘experience’ gifts and gift vouchers trump money and standard gifts. There are lots of reasons behind the shift. These include:
- People prefer them! – Let’s start with a nice and simple reason. They’re just better! The whole purpose of a gift is to please someone. And people, generally, prefer experiences nowadays to physical gifts.
- Experiences help build relationships – Part of the reason that getting out there and actually doing something is so much more appreciated by people is that the day out is often a social occasion, a chance to bond. An opportunity to start, grow or cement relationships with spouses, partners, family, children, friends or colleagues. And who doesn’t love that idea?
- Longevity – A bunch of flowers will last, what? A week? Chocolates maybe only a night. Even a watch has a shelf life. Memories last forever, though. Not only that but the novelty factor of receiving a thing doesn’t last all that long, does it? Whereas the excitement of looking forward to the experience, the actual thing happening and the memories and anecdotes after? That’s infinitely longer lasting!
- The excitement factor – If you opt to give an experience gift voucher, you’re opening up an exciting new world of things for that people to try out. Things they may never have had the confidence to try without a little nudge.
- It stands you out – Okay, so these kinds of gifts aren’t all that rare anymore, but they’re still fairly unusual. It’s a great way of standing out from the crowd and offering something to your workforce that’s a little different.
- Flexibility – Gift vouchers or an experience gift with options allows the person a measure of control over their reward. You don’t get that with a carriage clock, do you?
Okay, so let’s hear some examples of truly valuable ‘experiences’
So we’ve looked into what experience gifts are and why they’re increasing in popularity with organizations as reward options. Now it’s time to drill down into some of the specifics of the experiential gift and the gift vouchers that go along with them.
There are many different experiences that a company can treat an employee with. Here are the most common:
- Adventure – rock climbing, skydiving, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, kayaking, parachuting
- Sport – bowling, ice skating, driving range, a ticket to a sporting event
- Driving – supercar test drive, rallying, classic car race
- Gourmet – wine tasting, cigar tasting, whiskey tasting
- Fun – comedy night, arcade, mini golf, escape room, theme park
- Food & drink – cooking lessons, tasting menu experiences, brewery tour, distillery tour
- Environment – beach clean-ups, whale watching, Segway city tours, recycling tuition
- Pamper – spa days, treatments, yoga, pilates, massages
- Travel – weekend getaways, golf trips, city breaks
- Music – instrument lessons, tickets to an opera, karaoke singing
The move towards more activity and experience-based corporate gifts and gift vouchers is, as we’ve seen, a totally understandable one. It doesn’t look to be a fad, either. It’s more of a movement away from the old style of tangible gift giving.
So don’t shy away from the idea – embrace it… Your staff will thank you for it… Literally!