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  • Ingeborg van Harten

The Greatest Gift of all: Our top tips for corporate gifting this holiday season

It’s the holiday season, which means Christmas parties, ‘kerstpakketten’ and gifts. Some employees will receive their end-of-year bonus, some won’t. As (HR) manager, or colleague you might not have much control over what is being extended. If you are keen on giving a great gift - keep reading!

When you think about the best gift someone can receive from their employer, money is probably one of the first things you’d consider. But what if money isn’t available? Some companies are struggling to make ends meet, others are even going through lay-offs & hiring freezes to save money. Most organizations do not offer a bonus as part of their rewards package. And then even when they do offer a bonus… is it ever enough to make people really happy?

Well, here’s the thing…the greatest gift isn’t money. Although for many this year money is (or would have been) very helpful, there are things worth much more than a one-off cash injection, even though they may not seem quite as attractive at first glance.

You can give the greatest gift of all, and it won’t cost you anything except some trust, time and effort

How so? Well, the best gift for any employee is that of a colleague or manager who encourages and enables them to thrive. Who believes in them, appreciates them and enables their growth. Think about it. When someone's knowledge and skillset grows, their worth literally increases - probably for the rest of their career. This makes it way more valuable and impactful than any one-off bonus can ever be.

We asked our readers about the greatest gift they ever received. Not once was money mentioned. What was? A LOT! We grouped over 50 answers into 5 categories below, time to get inspired:

#1: Trust, Empathy & Support

The gift of trust, empathy and support will build your people up, giving them the confidence to thrive as their authentic selves at work. This one’s not just for Christmas either - spread the love year round!

"I was asked to move beyond my profession, to start a new product for our business with full support from my employer - for me this was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, much better than any ‘perk’."

"A safe space to discover myself and become the person I am today, that was the greatest gift for me."

"When I was going through hardship my manager supported me with kindness, and flexibility. The gift of compassion and understanding cannot be understated!"

#2: Job Security

In times of uncertainty, job security will give your people the confidence to plan ahead and feel comfortable and valued in their role. The gift of a permanent (or extended) contract could make your employees whole year.

"An early contract extension during a time when I was fearing I might lose my job."

"The best gift I’ve ever received from an employer was receiving a permanent contract after returning from a burnout."

"When I found out I was pregnant, my employer gave me a permanent contract - that was a great gift."

#3: A Personal ‘Thank You’

As busy people, we often we feel that gratitude is implied in the little things we do and say, but taking the time to personally thank someone for a great year can mean more than you know. A personal letter, LinkedIn recommendation or even a video message is a great way to let your people know you value them and all that they do.

"One great gift I remember receiving was a personal letter; explaining how I was when I started and how much I had grown."

"The best gift I’ve received was verbal acknowledgement of my achievements. Appreciation is better than any materialistic gift in my opinion."

#4: Growth & Opportunity

Growth & opportunity at work is the gift that keeps on giving. Money comes and goes, but investing in your people’s skills and career prospects is something that will help them now and into the future. So get your thinking caps on and put together some growth opportunities!

"A manager that takes the time for constructive feedback to help me grow longterm is the greatest gift I can think of." "The greatest gift I have ever received from an employer was the opportunity to share my thoughts & ideas for how the company could improve with the CEO."

"For me the absolute best 'gift' I ever received was unconditional respect and support from a boss very early on in my career. She saw potential and helped me grow very quickly very early on."

#5: Thoughtful Gifts

The final categorie are thoughtful gifts that speak to the needs of your people. Additional paid time off and ‘doing-good’ gifts are highly appreciated. Creating a better world through gifting = 💯. If you do decide to hand out branded swag, choose re-usable and qualitative gifts.

"When I worked in the music streaming industry I received a vinyl imprinted with nice quotes from my colleagues. Whenever I have an off moment I look at it and it cheers me up right away - a great gift that will stay in my mind forever." One especially enjoyable gift I remember receiving was 2 weeks of paid time off over the Christmas period - incredibly thoughtful!

"Being given the option to do something good for the planet is always a great, whether it’s volunteer days, a charity donation or something sustainable. I prefer these types of gifts."

Our key gifting take-away: Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t give your people something really impactful this year. The power is yours, always.


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