As we approach the heavy season of corporate gifts in Israel, I thought it was a good time to talk about employee gift baskets. So what is your answer? Yes or no?
With most things, if you ask two people you can end up with three different opinions. In this case, I think the answers you’ll get from staff if you ask them will surprise you.
As we head into the gift package season, most chocolates and wines barely last long enough to avoid leaving a bitter or sour taste in the mouth. When the junk food or weird condiments are finished, the gift was nice, but the cash was probably misdirected. Do employees really appreciate gift packages from their companies? Is it silly in this age - when we all know better employee health is better for everyone - to be giving people junk food as a company activity? If not, what else can we do as executives to reward or gift our employees and staff without throwing good money out the window?
Here at Tech-Tav, we have quite an eclectic staff. Our technical writers hail from all over the world and have decidedly different tastes, customs and values. Unless we had custom gifts for each person, no doubt, no one would be satisfied with a generic gift package and it would not leave anyone with positive feelings. Instead, we made a management decision years ago not to do that, but to donate the money to charity instead. Each year, we pick a charity that speaks to us as a company, that shares our values, or allows us to help the community. In this way, we can connect with both our customers and our staff. No one needs another basket of junk food, but families need food on the table, warm blankets, educational opportunities, medical treatments. We all know that the list of those in need never ends.
I don’t mean to imply that we should never give our employees gifts, but when we do, we should think about the gifts we give and whether they reflect our corporate values and ideals. Do they build relationships with our customers, suppliers and staff? Or are just given to satisfy a social requirement? If your company has decided to spend the money, make sure you get the most value for that money and that you strengthen your company and your employees with the gift.
Here are some other ideas to leave your employees feeling great, gifted and appreciated. They cost about the same for each employee as a gift basket of junk food.
- Charity giving activity for staff and their families with something like Leket (outside of Israel, contact Goodwill, Salvation Army, local food banks)
- Spa gift certificate
- Gym membership for a month
- Massage therapist/masseuse or yoga teacher to the office for a health day
- Rent out a club or a bar one night for your company and let the good times roll
- Catered or chef based cooking activity at your company with food everyone eats together
- Dinner for two at a restaurant
- Jerusalem Scavenger Hunt day or tour around Tel Aviv on Segways (outside of Israel, find a relevant historical city tour or local museum and activity)
- Sponsor local youth or educational programs like a sports team, scouts troop or family day activity for staff
I think you get the idea. Whether company/team building or individual, there is plenty you can do without gifting your employees with the standard junk food.
Other ways to gift your employees can be even more creative. Tech-Tav is proud to be sponsoring our senior technical writer James Kilner (pictured above) and his wife, Ruth, in his second run of the Jerusalem Marathon this year. James is running to raise money for cancer and Tech-Tav will be a proud sponsor this year. Tech-Tav will also be sponsoring me and perhaps Rebecca Rachmany (feel free to give Rebecca some encouragement by leaving a comment below) to swim the Galilee/Kinneret to support Sadnat Shiluv (see photo below), a unique educational inclusion program for special needs young adults.
So gift away, but make you gift smart. Let your employees and your suppliers know how much you appreciate them by thinking about the gift, customizing it to align with your corporate messages and most importantly have fun. Helping your staff stay happy and healthy is the easiest way to keep your team focused and committed to your corporate vision.ShareThis