Corporate gifting and its role in an ever-changing workplace

Corporate gifting is becoming, for some modern businesses, an integral part of an ever-changing landscape. Look at the workplace of fifty years ago and it’s a completely different picture. For all kinds of reasons.

From the bigger issues such as equal pay to having more women in the boardroom. From more diversity in the workplace, to the smaller things like more relaxed dress codes and office layouts. And that’s not to mention everything else in between. For instance, first-jobbers might be amazed to learn that smoking was once allowed in the office.

What’s in a name?

Most of what’s changed over the years has been for the better, for one obvious reason: people. The main asset of any organisation is each and every individual within it. Which is why it’s not just today’s workplace that’s unrecognisable from that of half a century ago, but HR, too.

Take the very name of this Department. The shift has gone from Personnel to Human Resources to reposition itself as, well … more human. But it’s more than just in the naming of a Department. The HR industry has gone from policing staff to motivating employees.

HR is not what it used to be

In fact, the HR Department of today, would be unrecognisable to that of just a few decades ago. There are now more HR people on company boards. And the HR role itself has started to play an increasingly important part in the strategic direction of companies and brands, including:

  • having a stronger focus on recruiting (and keeping) talent
  • using computer systems, software and information technology for training and development
  • arming HR staff with the technical, analytical and organisational skills to become effective business partners
  • integrating the HR strategy with the overall business strategy
  • establishing and maintaining corporate policies which nurture and support staff.

Not just going through the motions

As the writer of this article, I’m old enough to remember roles for Time and Motion Officers being advertised for large businesses. These roles involved studying the number of people on the factory floor, the office or out in the field. Officers would analyse workers’ effectiveness. Then they’d look at areas where cuts could be made to streamline productivity and increase profit margins. Obviously, every business today has to be financially stable. But the focus has shifted massively from treating the workforce as a tool to more of being valued individuals with a range of skillsets, personalities and needs.

And a modern company which nurtures those skills, recognises those personalities and addresses those needs, will be the one that not only thrives, but attracts higher calibre people.

It’s all about happiness …

In fact, it was this very subject that Bruce Daisley, VP of Twitter and founder of Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat, talked about at a recent event, myself and a couple of colleagues recently attended. As part of the Leeds Digital Festival, Bruce talked about The Joy of Work and how we, as unique people, are more productive, when we’re:

  • happy
  • valued
  • contributing
  • included
  • supported
  • treated as individuals

… It’s all about choice

So when recognising and rewarding those individuals in a flexible, responsive and more personal manner, it’s often the case where a one-size-fits-all won’t do. As your workforce grows and inevitably changes, that old adage, ‘You can’t please everybody all of the time’ seems highly relevant. Unless you have a tool in your HR armoury to combat this.

You’re thinking corporate gifting, but are you thinking the right kind?

And this really is where corporate gifting comes in. More specifically, corporate gift cards, play a big part–especially ones which offer more choice. With one well-chosen corporate card, you can give one person a welcome addition to their weekly or monthly grocery shop. In the case of the Asda corporate gift card, that same reward could mean a new outfit for another employee or a new electrical kitchen essential for another. Or even something for the living room for another employee.

In other words, by recognising your staff as a team of individuals, you can acknowledge those individual desires and reward them accordingly. Within the context of the modern workplace, you might call it, giving people what they want rather than what you want.

Whether you use corporate gift cards in isolation or as part of a wider employee incentive scheme, there is no doubt, you are adding flexibility to your rewards mix. Considering that the modern business is not only constantly striving to adapt, but also expected to be flexible, that’s not a bad trait to have.