It’s the Thought that Counts: How to Retain Employees With Gifting

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The Great Resignation is still going strong: nearly half of all employees have considered quitting their jobs in the next six months, according to a new study, published in January. The biggest force behind their decision was feeling unappreciated: 21% of respondents cited the lack of gratitude at their workplace as the main reason. Can small gestures, such as gifts, help turn the situation around? 

According to the data, Americans are feeling less motivated and involved at their jobs than ever. In 2021, only 36% of U.S. employees were engaged in their work and workplace, according to Gallup. In October of last year alone, 4.2 million Americans quit their jobs, reported the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social isolation during COVID, widespread exhaustion and reevaluation of life priorities, and ongoing pressure on businesses have all played their part. In some ways, pandemic conditions created the perfect storm for a labor crisis. Many employers may have a pessimistic view of retention trends in the future. If companies don’t take action, the Great Resignation is likely to continue and intensify through 2022.

Turning a blind eye to the Great Resignation will not solve the problem of low employee retention and poor engagement rates. Many companies are seeing the problem and trying to take it head-on – with gifts. Corporate gift spending more than doubled in 2020-2021, according to Giftpack, an AI-driven gifting service. And the budget spent on presents for employees is expected to grow year after year.

“COVID-19 reminded businesses how important it is to show their employees that the company cares about them,” said Archer Chiang, Giftpack founder. “Gifts are an obvious way to bolster motivation and even support mental health while working remotely. Also, they can help a lot when it comes to improving client engagement rates and building long-lasting relationships.”

Giftpack’s platform now has more than a thousand business accounts, with one-third of them mentioning “employee gifting” as a reason for registration. 

In 2021 alone, the gifting service company has helped select and deliver over 40,000 gifts to 42 countries. Giftpack’s current success is no accident. The company has been in the gifting industry since 2016, when it was first launched as a C2C gifting service, with more than 5,000 gift delivery businesses. 

The platform was transformed when COVID was hit, due to the pandemic’s impact on most delivery companies. Right now, Giftpack helps businesses create meaningful connections with their employees and clients with personalized gifts, which their own AI algorithm chooses by analyzing the recipient’s digital footprint. Chiang expects that Giftpack will eventually become a universal gifting engine used by companies and individuals to show their appreciation. 

The service Giftpack provides helps businesses and their overwhelmed marketing departments save time on brainstorming gift choices. But AI-based gifting services aren’t just about convenience. “We see increasing employee retention at the companies that use our service,” Archer said. The most significant variables when it comes to employee retention, according to the surveys, are that people feel important to their companies (98%) and they feel they are treated well no matter where they are (97.2%).

The most critical factor in gifting is accuracy: with the development of AI and increasingly available data, the recommendations will become more accurate, Archer believes. Currently, the choices are based on the recipient’s digital footprint as well as information provided by employees. 

The customer reviews show that Giftpack’s approach works. “Your AI engine matched my profile quite well, it’s something I didn’t know I wanted,” a customer wrote. And another one called the AI’s choice “the best Christmas present I received this year.” Giftpack currently has a 92 percent satisfaction rate, which is much higher than with the standard corporate gifting.

How does AI work in corporate gifting? As soon as businesses import lists of gift receivers, they can launch gifting campaigns with their preferred budget. The gift receivers will have to fill out a 90-second survey on their personal preferences. Then AI analyzes the recipient’s social networks and digital footprint to select five potentially suitable gifts from a pool of nearly 4 million products. Finally, gifts are shipped globally followed by a digital customer survey. 

All the processes can be tracked on a dashboard by the person launching the campaign, which also allows them to generate and download gifting ROI reports. “We stand out from our competitors with transparent pricing plans, real personalization, and global shipping features,” said Archer. “International companies with teams with diverse backgrounds and based across the globe can build their own database and teach AI what’s culturally appropriate.” 

After all, in gifting it’s the thought that counts: people only feel appreciated when they receive personalized gifts, not the generic corporate gift basket sent to everyone on the payroll. Employees feel companies are sensitive to their needs when they are seen and acknowledged. And, maybe, gifts alone can’t fight The Great Resignation, but creating gratitude and showing appreciation in the workplace certainly can’t hurt.  

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