Corporate Gifts: What About ‘Thanks for Just Sticking Around'?
“Thank you.” Powerful couple of words there, right? Thanks for holding the door. Thanks for introducing me. Thanks for helping with my dead battery. When someone does something for you, a sincere expression of gratitude is just the right thing to do.
So, when it comes to corporate gifts, why is it more just, “thanks for just sticking around”?
According to research done by Bersin and Associates, 87 percent of corporate incentive programs are based only on tenure. The same research shows that companies that more regularly say “thank you” to their employees far outperform those that don’t. I’ve spoken to many in the promotional products industry who are looking for a bigger piece of the $46 billion awards and incentive market. It’s a growth area in our industry, for sure, as confirmed by additional data covered in the Bersin study, which reports companies spend 1 to 2 percent of their payroll on employee rewards.
Margit Fawbush, communications manager of QCA-accredited supplier BIC Graphic, said many of their customers are not looking for just tenure-based awards. “I’m sure there are some companies who only give awards based on years of service, however, our distributors usually source for much more complex recognition programs,” she said.
“We recommend to our distributors that they look at awards and recognition as a way of organically growing their business—and that they leverage their existing promotions/marketing relationships to help facilitate introductions both to HR and sales departments, where other recognition program opportunities exist.”
The old adage that the best source of additional business is with your current customers most definitely applies here.
Suggesting more than simple legacy programs as part of your growth strategy for your corporate incentive program is suggesting good business practices to your customer base at the same time. Research shows that companies that score in the top 20 percent in creating a “recognition-rich” culture actually had a higher retention rate (by a whopping 31 percent) than companies that did not.
An additional interesting finding from the Bersin study is the acceptance value of peer-to-peer awards compared to the more traditional “top-down” awards that are often viewed as being politically motivated. Fawbush has seen that in their own culture at BIC Graphic.
“At BIC, we have our own peer-to-peer awards that generate a lot of pride and engagement—definitely a strong way of building company morale. We are seeing an overall rise in recognition spending as the economy improves. Companies are launching new programs more than ever as part of an effort to remain an employer of choice and to retain the talent they have.”
Josh Bersin, of Bersin and Associates, has a Top 5 list of the best activities in award programs:
1) Recognize people based on specific results and behaviors.
2) Implement peer-to-peer recognition—not top-down.
3) Share recognition stories.
4) Make recognition easy and frequent.
5) Tie recognition to your own company values or goals.
I might add a sixth: Make sure you’ve clearly identified the intended use and audience, so your supplier is aware and can provide a proper risk assessment of the materials used in your award and incentive sales effort.
How about you? Are you looking at awards as a growth area in sales and marketing for your business?