During our most recent webinar, we were lucky enough to welcome guest speaker Lauren Alt-Kishpaugh, Director of Demand Generation at Postal.io. Headquartered out of San Luis Obispo, California, Postal is a leading offline marketing platform that creates memorable moments. Lauren spoke with us about the current trends in employee gifting, staff rewards and recognition. During our wide-ranging discussion, she shared her expert insight on the importance of gifting as well as some tactical takeaways to help you keep your teams engaged.
Employee gifting is nothing new, indeed for generations bosses have been using employee rewards programs in order to build a strong culture and create happy, motivated employees. But since the onset of COVID-19 and the rapid shift towards remote working, gifting has become an incredibly valuable tool for employers.
“Where it becomes most relevant in today’s world is when we are managing people who are remote,” Lauren explained. “Physical touchpoints build connections. It’s even more important now when we’re all distanced from each other to be able to physically feel that recognition.”
It’s something that speaks to a problem that we’ve all experienced during the past 18 months - namely how to recreate the kind of in-person connections that are part of the fabric of day-to-day office life. You simply don’t have those same recognition opportunities when you’re not in person.
During our webinar series, we’ve spoken to a whole host of business leaders who’ve told us how they engage their employees, boost productivity and build incredible cultures while working remotely. But gifting offers something a little bit different, a tangible reward for your peoples’ efforts that they can touch and feel.
Everyone is different.
Some people might be motivated by cash incentives, others by time off. Some people like cool swag, or they’re wine lovers, maybe they’re interested in unique experiences. Because everyone is motivated by different things, it can be hard to decide what kind of staff rewards you are going to offer in order to incentivize them.
The best way to make staff rewards meaningful is simply to ask your people what they want. You can do this conversationally or through a survey, but once you’ve gathered the information you can create incredibly impactful moments and gifting opportunities to reward and recognize your team.
During the webinar Lauren discussed how Postal has employed these exact techniques to keep their staff happy, motivated and retained.
“Our philosophy around gifting is that meaningful, local gifting is the new swag,” said Lauren. “Sending meaningful gifting items is really what makes the difference in creating happy, engaged and retained employees; people who feel like they are a unique part of an organization.”
Done right, gifting creates a highly personal experience that’s incredibly impactful and makes memories that last for years.
A good way to think of it is to remember the best gifts you’ve ever received. The most memorable are always those that have a story behind them, a personal connection that’s the result of the gifter putting the time and effort into choosing something just for you. These gifts often become some of our most prized possessions, and if you can harness some of those same feelings in a professional setting, then you can build similar connections between your organization and your people.
When it comes to great gifting it’s not just the item itself that you need to put thought into, you also need to highlight occasions within your peoples’ lives that are worthy of recognition.
Lauren explained that alongside landmark life moments like the arrival of a new baby, moving into a new house, or getting married, there are countless other opportunities for you to recognize your employees with a gift. Whether it’s winning a promotion, recognizing a high performer or simply saying “thank you,” gifts are a great way to recognize and reward both professional and personal milestones.
As for the gifts themselves, Lauren revealed that a little bit of thought can go a long way to making people feel special. One example she pointed to was the kind of gifts that Postal sends to employees who have new babies. “Instead of simply sending a onesie with our Postal logo on it, we gift a box which contains dinner for a week. It’s a little bit more practical and functional and much needed when a new baby comes home.”
The key according to Lauren is to think about how peoples’ lives have been impacted by working remotely and what they may be missing from the office environment. She pointed to coffee as something that she has personally been using to gift her teams. Instead of gifting people pre-paid vouchers for chains that they may no longer visit as frequently, she now sends them a subscription to a home delivery service so that they can get beans to brew at home.
It’s a great example that shows how investing a little extra time and effort into employee gifting or staff rewards can add up to a huge impact on engagement, retention and recognition.
Be sure to check out our webinar recording for more information on how you can create physical touchpoints through employee gifting. And if you’re looking for help with your employee recognition click here to find out how Bucketlist’s employee recognition software can help.