Employers, hit by the spirit of the season (as well as the attrition rates!) are choosing their gifts carefully to show employees they care, reports K. JESHI
A bouquet of flowers always works magic. It conveys warmth, appreciation and never fails to bring a smile to people's faces. It is a sure-fire way to cultivate business relationships too. Flowers may work at the basic level but these market-driven times demand more that mere posies when it comes to corporate gifting. Especially during DeepavaliThe art of gifting is fast emerging as an essential HR tool to nurture employer-employee ties in the corporate world. "Gifting strengthens bonds," says Shyam Sunder, Head, Operations of an IT and BPO company. Changing business trends and growing attrition rates have forced companies to come up with innovative ideas to pamper employees and keep relationships alive."Gifts have a lot of sentimental value; they get employees to remember their association with the company. Sweets are outdated, so we give gifts with utility value that can be used by the employee and his family," he adds. This year, the company has given its 1,000-member team a multi-purpose carry bag that can double as a travel bag. "The managing director of the company personally hands over the gifts to the employees. This makes it special," Shyam Sunder adds.Col. (Retd) A.N. Ramesh, General Manager of Human Resources, of a technology firm, says it is the thought behind the gift that counts; not its worth. It is an opportunity to tell employees that "You are in our thoughts and we are proud to be associated with you." He continues: "This can be done even with a packet of sweets. With a global clientele, we attach more importance to the beginning of year. The celebration starts off with sending e-cards to all our employees, well-wishers and stakeholders. Other gifts follow." New ideas are catching on in the world of gifting. Given the heightened consciousness of health and figure concerns, traditional sweet packets have given way to gift coupons. "The objective is not to force your friend to eat sweets. Instead, give them the choice of selection," says D. Srinivasan of a food chain. "We have introduced gift coupons this year for corporate houses. They can exchange the coupon for sweets, masala dosa, ice-cream, mysore pak or even meals at any branch of our hotel at any time," he adds.Badrinath Kota, who runs a jewellery business, says gifts recognise quality work. "Though we get bulk orders for silver and gold coins during festive occasions, companies now attach more importance to rewarding employees who make a difference. They don't necessarily wait for an occasion," he adds. Kota will give away steel cupboards to its employees this Deepavali. "It is all about ensuring employee satisfaction," he adds.But, there are companies that have a policy in place, when it comes to gifting employees. "We don't celebrate any religious festivals," says Surya V. Ciryam, Vice-President, Human Resources, of India's premier medical transcription company. "Our celebrations are different. We pamper our employees by recognising their work. During `Club Five' and `Club Ten' celebrations, we identify and reward employees who have completed five and 10 years with us. We then give away expensive gifts like silver lamps and wristwatches. For freshers, we have incentive schemes," he adds.