Image Credit: Photo by Adobe / By netrun78
Famed social scientist and author Arthur Brooks says happiness at work is a function of job satisfaction, and job satisfaction comes from three inputs: values, people, and a sense of accomplishment.
“You don’t have to have a fascinating job that represents the pinnacle of your educational achievement,” Brooks wrote in a piece for The Atlantic. “And you don’t have to have a lot of money.”
But you do need to feel satisfied, or at least have a visible path to job satisfaction.
Happiness at work is also contagious. Brooks and other business thinkers have proved happy colleagues make happy colleagues, and anyone who’s happy at work is working harder. Beyond the obvious, there are a number of reasons to put serious resources toward cultivating a positive work environment and pursuing the job satisfaction of our team as we would any other metric that moves our company forward.
Q4 is the perfect time to adopt that aim. This part of the year is positively interrupted by multiple holidays, and it’s a natural setting for year-end reflections and new-year goal setting. In preparation for a successful and fulfilling new year, sharing a sense of values, connection, and accomplishment is a top priority. Corporate gifting is one solution we’ve come to and continue to employ in the workplace. Here’s how company leaders can think about corporate gifting to make sure the thought actually counts, and counts the way we want it to: toward increasing job (and personal) satisfaction.
That people are most satisfied with their work when they experience corporate and personal value alignment is painfully obvious from the library of studies that have covered the topic. In recent years, employees have raised the priority on value alignment even further, and it’s become a main determinant of job selection and job abandonment. 66% of Gen Z employees would take a lower-paying job offer if it meant working at a more ethically and environmentally responsible company.
One of the best things an employer can do to support talent attraction, retention, and productivity is to surround their team with the values they stand for, and walk the walk when they have the chance. Gifting is the perfect opportunity, but gifting sustainably can be easier said than done for two reasons.
The first is price climb; compliance sometimes comes at a cost, and solutions made toward sustainability on the part of the manufacturer can add up when you’re gifting at scale. Ethical Swag solves that problem with our good, better, best pricing. We bring sustainable options at all budget points to meet employers where they are and help them operationalize on ESG aims at any budget.
The second challenge is the black box of ESG claims. Busy teams have no time to gather information on their gifting partners, much less to sift through and validate their ESG claims. Ethical Swag takes that problem on as part of our value proposition. As a B Corp, we’ve been audited to the highest global standard of ESG compliance. We take the same approach with our suppliers, going behind the scenes and understanding the procurement and fulfillment practices that our products come from. We consider our partnerships closely and pass all of those transparent learnings right onto our clients–because it shouldn’t be hard to make the right choice.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, employees report an improved attitude when they receive a meaningful gift. Notably, though, that feeling isn’t confined to the gift-giving season. When high-seniority employees were surveyed, many reported that the positive feeling that results from a meaningful gift could last the full duration of the year!
Importantly, this doesn’t have to be a top-down operation wherein all corporate gifts are coming only from the C-Suite. In fact, it makes a lot of sense to give the gift of gifting–employees who are able to recognize their colleagues and their clients through small gifts see a boost in their sense of year-end fulfillment.
A gift that wears the company’s values is a perfect vehicle for recognition, allowing managers, executives, and colleagues to acknowledge the people around them. As we’ve outlined above, receiving that acknowledgment is a big part of sharing a sense of achievement, and that will set the team up for an incredible next year.
We often think about achievement and recognition through a personal lens, and thoughtful gifts that don’t go to waste are the perfect way to have those interpersonal interactions. But it’s equally important to recognize, reflect on, and celebrate the achievements of the company, its mission, and the good that it’s created in the world. When our gifts can make our principles visible and remind us of the bigger picture–the impact we’re working toward–they become powerful reminders infused with shared meaning. Shared meaning can motivate new solutions, re-invigorate projects, and be a big part of what brings employees back from the holidays, energized and eager to work toward that change.
A gift is more than an exchange; it’s a way to express appreciation, recognize aims and efforts, and cement our values. It’s a way to weave the tangible with the intangible, propelling our corporate journey beyond the sales sheets and proving the impact we want to make. That is what’s possible with a better kind of gift, and those are the kinds of thoughts that really count.