12.06.2022 | Helpful Products, How-to, Inspiration
There's no doubt that company culture is important to the success of any business. A strong culture can help to attract and retain top talent, boost employee morale, and increase overall productivity. But what exactly is company culture? And how can you use swag to help boost it?
Swag can be a great way to boost the culture in your workplace. By giving your employees branded merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, or keychains, you can help them feel more connected to your brand and proud to be part of your team. Use swag as a tool to reward employees for their hard work and loyalty, and you'll soon see the benefits in terms of their increased morale and productivity.
This buzzword has been floating around the HR world for a while now, but the term is often used vaguely. Company culture is made up of the values, missions, attitudes, and behaviors among employees of any business or organization. It’s been a massive concern for many startups and small businesses, as they’re often formed out of the desire to create a better environment for their employees.
Company culture is also an aspect potential applicants make sure to review when applying for jobs, or a deciding factor for employees looking to remain within a business. In the United States, 65% of millennials care more about company culture than their salary. This means, even with a great benefits package and competitive pay, your workforce can, and will, make the move to another employer if your internal culture doesn’t align with their values and needs.
If you’re looking for a creative and cost-effective way to create a strong company culture within your business, adding some swag to your toolbox can boost engagement and appreciation among your employees! Supplement your business budget with a loan to help pay for new branded swag or to implement a new employee engagement program where the corporate swag is just a piece of the puzzle that helps boost organizational culture!
There are more ways to recognize your employees’ achievements beyond a shoutout or department announcement. While those forms of appreciation are great, they can often lose their meaning, especially if they’re a regular occurrence within your organization. Corporate swag for different seasons can be a fun and tangible way to reward employees for a job well done, allow them to show their pride in the company they work for, and be an interactive marketing opportunity that spreads your brand awareness!
Every employee’s experience with your business will be a little different depending on their department, job description, and workload. What might be considered a big achievement for an entry-level employee could be considered next to nothing when compared to accomplishments that upper-level employees make over the course of a quarter or year.
It’s crucial to make sure each employee is recognized for their respective accomplishments equally, and without favoritism. Have a system in place for managers and team leaders to submit employee wins to human resources – complete with a comprehensive guide on what qualifies a person to be recognized.
Often, recognition comes from beating out peers to an end goal based on numbers or quotas, but it doesn’t have to be this way! If your organization has a mission statement or list of values you want to be known for, this is a great place to start as you line up an employee’s actions and impact with characteristics you want your company culture to have.
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Recognition shouldn’t be limited to an individual basis. Sometimes all it takes is a universal “thank you” to everyone to boost a company’s culture and encourage a sense of camaraderie after meeting a fiscal goal, or around anniversaries and holidays.
If your leadership team is looking for fun swag ideas everyone will enjoy, take a poll on what your employees like to use on a consistent basis, or take note of what they received as a gift or promotional product in the past. After you have an idea of where to start – run with it!
The individual item or swag box may differ depending on the type of industry you’re in. For example, a software company might give out branded tech gear employees can use while they work, or a sporting goods brand can hand out free apparel of their choice along with some special items that aren’t on the market yet.
Don’t forget to take into consideration people who work from home! Include some items they can use in their home offices, such as blankets, notebooks, or even a backpack for days they want to get out and work in a different environment.
⭐ How to say thank you to every employee!
The best company swag is items employees will want and like to use. How many times have you been given a gift that was useless, or poorly made and almost immediately thrown it in the trash? You’ve already gone to the trouble of surveying employees on what they like – take their word for it! Employees feel valued when their input is taken seriously, so don’t ignore their request for an insulated thermos, by giving them a pack of branded pencils instead!
Make it high quality
Whatever reason you’re giving swag out to your employees – whether it’s a five-year work anniversary or a quarterly goal reward – make sure whatever they receive is high-quality. Employees are perceptive and will equate how much money you’ve spent on the item with how much they think you care about them and their work.
Opting for higher-quality items might mean more of an investment, but can result in higher satisfaction and a higher sense of appreciation among those in the company.
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Just like customers, if your employees like working for you and the way you treat them, they’ll want to brag about their experience with you and spread the word. Employees can be your greatest marketers, so give them items with your brand’s logo engraved, embossed, or embroidered somewhere visible.
Chances are, if you give your employees something exciting like a new piece of luggage or a coveted or popular product, they’ll share it on social media or show their friends and family. If your logo isn’t on the gift, no one will know what awesome business gave their employees that new fleece pullover or Bluetooth speaker. There are many tasteful ways to include your logo on whatever swag you keep on hand, so do some window shopping to get inspired!
Many of us have worked for companies that were predictable in their swag offerings and when they were given out. It may have been a mug at Christmas, or a watch when you’d reached ten years of tenure with the company. It’s easy to fall into a predictable pattern when picking out products from a catalog, but that predictability can kill employee engagement. If they know what to expect and the item doesn’t match the occasion appropriately, motivation – and loyalty! – can drop.
In the marketing world, ‘surprise and delight’ has become a common practice to keep customers returning for more once they’ve bought a product. Many brands go above and beyond in their service offerings and support after conversion, and this practice has carried over to the human resources side of businesses.
When we translate this to employee retention, similar results can happen! Surprise your employees with an onboarding box packed full of branded merchandise, or send ‘just because’ packages to everyone in the middle of summer when they least expect it. Delighted employees will be more likely to stay with your business and remain consistently engaged when they’re surprised by multiple tokens of appreciation throughout the year – not just a T-shirt once every few years.
Boosting your company culture might seem daunting, but incorporating some unexpected, high-quality, branded swag can be the perfect way to delight your employees and show them you value their hard work.
By giving your employees branded swag, you'll show them you're invested in their happiness and willing to go the extra mile to make sure they feel appreciated. Plus, they'll love showing off their new swag to their friends and family, which will be a great way to generate positive word-of-mouth for your company.
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