Reward Best-Practices for the Holiday Season

Make sure your clients and employees remember how you marked the holiday season

By Sherryll Sobie

To uncover reward best-practices during the holiday season, one need only look to how the professionals reward their own employees. Peter Hart, president and CEO of Montreal-based Rideau Recognition Solutions, which specializes in service and performance awards, corporate merchandise and customer loyalty programs, knows that touching employees’ hearts is the best way to let them know how much they are valued. His winning solution? Corporate gifts that are personalized and meaningful. One year, he asked his 225 staff members to submit paintings, photos or drawings for a Rideau calendar. An employee judging panel selected the winners, and the finished product was a slick, professionally produced calendar, with each month showcasing a selected entry with a headshot and bio of the artist. “To feature a photo and bio of each artist ups the recognition factor, and is a key element in making a connection between gift-giver and receiver,” says Hart.

Debbie Read, senior account executive at Marketing Warehouse in Bolton, Ont., says many of her cutting-edge clients are taking the green route to really stand out this gift-giving season. “This year there is a large eco-focus to giving,” says Read, citing polo shirts make of 70% bamboo (a highly renewable resource) and recycled and recyclable drinkware as top selling coporate gift ideas. For those who want to take the green trend to a botanical level, Read says conifer seedlings mailed in clear tubes or handed out at holiday functions would be an unforgettable gift choice.

Terry Sloan, director of business development for Mississauga, Ont.-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Meetings and Events, says taking a philanthropic approach to employee gifting will always help your company shine. Donating to a charity on behalf of your client or employee makes good business sense from every angle. “It’s as simple as sending a card with a note explaining what charity the donation is going to. Something like that is always memorable and appreciated,” he says.

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