I have a corporate gift that is 7-years-old. Nothing elaborate nor expensive. However, the card was unique, and it had a well-thought-out personalized note. I felt appreciated because it wasn’t a slapdash, factory mill approach. We all like to feel valued and appreciated in our careers because work is a substantial and meaningful part of our lives. When it comes to employee burnout, problems with work-life balance aren’t the only factors. New data from Randstad U.S. shows employees face burnout for the following reasons:
- Not making progress in one’s career (43.5% of respondents)
- Feeling like a boss doesn’t appreciate what they do (42.9% of respondents)
Employee burnout is a fundamental issue both corporately and individually. According to Randstad, more than 49% of 2,000 surveyed agree with currently or previously feeling burnt out in their career.
Providing you are aware of where you and your team fall on the career burnout spectrum, the holiday time can be a great opportunity to cater to the self-care needs of your workers, and therefore, mitigate stress over the holidays. Research commissioned by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, shows 31% of Americans deem the holiday season as hectic.
No matter how innovative and sophisticated a company’s system, Gallup has found that a company will disintegrate if managers are not able to perform four key roles: selecting an employee, setting expectations, developing an employee and motivating an employee. Gift giving is a form of extrinsic motivation. Snappy, a corporate gift company used by 200+ large companies around the world, has made it their mission to improve the way employees are appreciated and experience recognition in the workplace.
Key findings from Snappy’s latest research:
- If you want to strengthen commitment, give a personalized note of recognition. A little more than four out of five workers (81%) value this.
- Almost half of the employees (44%) feel that their value at the company is reflected in the gifts received.
- Only 4% of those surveyed don’t believe that recognition in the workplace leads to stronger workplace culture.
- More than one-third of employees (37%) have never received any type of gift recognition in the workplace.
- Approximately one in three (29%) employees do not feel valued.
These gifts were among the 25 worst holiday gifts employees received from their boss:
- Stale candy in a used mug
- Foot lotion
- Lottery tickets
- Stress Ball
Better approaches to these worst gifts:
- A personalized mug with a significant date related to a key event in their last 12 months of performance.
- An option to choose from various relaxation products.
- A gift card to an employee’s favorite restaurant.
- A career development or career burnout coaching session.
Acceleration Partners, rated a top SMB workplace by Fortune and Boston Globe, is committed to giving gifts that have a lasting and positive impact on their employees. Each holiday season, they have a “Dream Management Program” where they help each employee achieve a personal goal as their gift. Last year, an employee wanted to guest lecture at a university, so an opportunity was arranged at MIT. Another employee had dreams of becoming a pilot, and so his gift was an opportunity to spend some time learning to fly. I long for the day that the workplace no longer asks employees to live separate personal and professional lives. These gift-giving initiatives remind me that my dream of a happy, healthy workplace is becoming a reality. The same key themes that emerge with holiday giving are transferable within the realms of career development. Employees want learning, training and career development coaching opportunities that are flexible, valuable and personalized.
Here’s the catch, though. What makes giving a gift meaningful is the person who gave it and the relationship between the giver and receiver. The best way to show appreciation is to not do it as a one-off or just because you want something in return but to give because you are thankful for something specific.
In the words of Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win, Friend, and Influence People:
- Be interested in other people.
- Be a good listener.
- Make the other person feel important.
Be a manager and not a leader. In the book, First, Break All The Rules What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, a great manager is described as one who looks inward as opposed to a leader who likes outward. As you consider showing your appreciation with a gift, don’t forget the elements that most impact career development such as an individual’s work productivity style, work-life harmony temperament, personal and professional goals, motivations and key life-changing events, like becoming a parent.