Guest Column - November/December 2020

Holiday Gifting in 2020

By Charley Mann

Holiday gifting season is upon us again.

Wait. What?

Yes, it is here, and this year will bring unique challenges to what for some had become a routine. Some of these are the same as they have been in years past. However, because of the uniqueness of 2020, some challenges will be new. How exciting to have a fresh opportunity to appreciate those that keep your company successful!

Choosing the Right Gift

Choosing the best holiday gift across the broad range of people in our workforce currently can be a challenge. What might be perfect for one person may not send the same message to another. While I don't like labels, they help illustrate the point: The typical workforce cross-section includes millennials working next to Gen X , Gen Z and boomers.

How do you choose the perfect holiday gift? Do you give one company-wide gift, or do you offer something more personal?

A thoughtful gift shows that you value the recipient as a part of your organization. This year you can easily offer a choice. A thoughtful and well-designed company gifting website can be a great way to allow employees to choose a gift that is meaningful to each of them. People like having the opportunity to choose something that fits their lifestyle, and with a gifting website you can offer a broad range of options.

When determining the array of gifts, it is important to think about the diversity in your workplace and seek items that appeal across a broad range of people.

People may be tiring of PPE in the workplace, so avoiding that may be smart. Likewise, avoiding workplace necessities is also a good idea. But what to choose?

Electronics are a perennial favorite and appeal to many people. These are gifts such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speakers, headsets for gaming or video chats and devices with built-in AI like Alexa or OK Google. Think of gifts that can be source- or use-agnostic (not designated for use with one brand or another). Home security and comfort, smart thermostats and cameras to know when those packages arrive on the doorstep are also good choices.

We have all been at home for quite a while cooking and preparing more meals than before, so the choice of new kitchen items like cookware, coffee machines or even sous-vide cooking for the more adventurous may resonate with some. When thinking of the home, don't neglect the outdoor spaces.

With the right partner, you could even look at combining items into a gift experience: a carafe for either water or wine paired with appropriate glasses, or a coupling of Bluetooth speakers and earbuds for a complete music experience. The point is to know who your audience is and seek gifts that will be impactful for them. Offer them the gift that helps each of them to feel valued.

Keep Delivery in Mind

Now that you have chosen the gift range, delivery is important. Coupled with the broad demographic range, we have also become an increasingly physically-spread-out workforce. If this year has taught us anything, it is that commerce can continue for many with a remote workplace. While some companies have brought their workforce back in some measure, many companies still have employees working remotely with no plans to bring staff back in the numbers they once were. Given this new normal, the gift delivery needs to be reconsidered.

If you have employees who work from home do you ask them to come in on odd/even days to pick up their gift? That may be off-putting for many, so provide the gift that goes the extra mile and delivers to them. With a gifting website, their personally selected gift choice could easily be delivered to their home.

Remember, avoiding looking like any other delivery is key here. Using a company gift website, you have a chance to make the gift more meaningful by adding wrapping or including a thoughtful card expressing thanks for their work this year. Adding the personal touch, with our world being so virtual this year, will make a difference.

Impactful Gifting

So, when thinking of holiday gifting, it is important to select the right gift and deliver your gift in an impactful manner.

Make the new normal work for you and your company.

Charley Mann is a National Account Executive with Links Unlimited, a provider of the best name brands for promotional products. During his 25-plus year career, Charley has been a premium rep, a multi-line rep and a distributor sales rep. He enjoys helping companies succeed.