Meaningful Gifts Matter Most

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Last Friday was Valentine’s Day which, for obvious reasons, is a special day we celebrate here at ValentineHR. Traditionally Valentine’s Day is all about the romantic loves in our lives, but we think of it as a day to express appreciation for all of the people you care about — including your customers and your employees – and to show them that you love working for and with them.  So, continuing with our series on the Languages of Love at work, we present Language #3: Gifts That Matter.

Knowing What Really Matters

The most memorable and treasured gifts – for Valentine’s or for any occasion – are those chosen because the gift giver has paid attention to what matters to the gift receiver. 

For example, one of my friends doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry and is really into personal care. She would much rather have a spa day than anything else. So if her significant other gave her a diamond tennis bracelet for Valentine’s Day, she might interpret it as: “I don’t really know you, nor do I care to. I would rather give you something that I want to give you.” I’m thinking this really isn’t the message you want to send someone. More meaningful would be to remember what that person expressed a desire to do, or have, and give that. Like a gift certificate for a fabulous facial or full body massage.

Apply this same concept to your employees. What really matters to each of them? Of course, there are some gifts everyone would be happy to receive. For example, cash.  Yes, who wouldn’t enjoy some dollar bills to spend as you wish? Perhaps this is why H-E-B choose to reward all of their employees recently with 100 of them.    Nice!

Don’t worry about competing with the most beloved grocery store chain in Texas. You can create a gift giving plan that fits your budget. NOTE: This doesn’t require you to possess in depth knowledge of your employees’ personal lives.  Instead, use a survey tool (software, yes!) to find out how your employees would like to be rewarded. Then, you can give them something they value.

For example, you can have a birthday or work anniversary policy of the date being a paid holiday. Then you can say, “My gift to you is eight hours of whatever you want to do and you get paid to do it.”  I remember when my dad retired from a well-respected blue chip Fortune 50 company. The tradition had been a big party, lots of attendees and speakers plus a plaque, but only punch and cookies as refreshments. Luckily for him, the HR department had surveyed the soon to be retired employee population and based on the responses, updated the process so that the retiree could decide how best to celebrate. He chose to host a small group of co-workers as well as his current and former supervisors at a nice restaurant. It was the perfect send off for his personality and perspective. It meant so very much to him and he still speaks of it today. 

The Gift of Training

A perk that can be seen as a gift for some is the opportunity to grow, learn new skills and tackle new challenges. Creating an environment that supports that requires money and time, which is also money if you think about it. It’s a commitment to support them with mentorship and training opportunities.  It’s not cash, it’s not a warm cookie, but funding the cost of a certification or continuing education classes is a great way to reward and retain your employees. 

If you would like help understanding and structuring gifts including perks and rewards that will really make employees’ hearts happy, we would love to help you.  Consider it our gift.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.