Personalized Gifts in the Workplace

11 December, 2023


As the holiday season approaches, many companies plan special celebrations to mark the end of the year with their employees. This may include a team dinner, a Christmas or end-of-year gathering, perhaps accompanied by a speech and thoughtful presents.

Certainly, planning a company event takes time, and employees momentarily step away from work, and there is a cost associated with the venue. However, these events foster a different kind of communication among employees compared to meetings or brief exchanges between important phone calls. Attendees tend to be more relaxed, share jokes, and have the opportunity for genuine inquiries about each other's well-being. Such company events contribute positively to the company culture and overall results.

At my workplace, Ictual, we also have an annual year-end event. For many years, Ictual’s Employee Association has orchestrated a delightful gathering in the week preceding Christmas. During this event, our Managing Director reflects on the highlights of the past year. We also put our jubilees of that year in the spotlight, which at Ictual we celebrate for every 5 years of employment. As our company was established 31 years ago, some colleagues have already marked their fifth jubilee with us!

This year, we have six employees marking their 15th anniversary with Ictual. In recognition of their dedication, I'll be arranging personalized gifts for each of them.

Why personal gifts? Companies can effectively use gifts as a tool to express appreciation and motivate employees. Providing carefully chosen gifts that align with individual interests creates a sense of personal reward for hard work.

Traditionally, when an Ictual employee reached the five-year mark, we offered a gratification and a trophy displaying the number of years served, often an engraved pen or a goblet, which could be quite costly. While employees appreciated these tokens, we decided it was time for a change.

Time to give a personal present, specifically selected for each jubilee. We initiated this new approach last year.

During HR conversations throughout the year, I discreetly gathered information about my colleagues' interests, such as sports, hobbies, and favorite drinks. Unbeknownst to them, I compiled this information to identify presents they would truly value.

For instance, our finance manager, celebrating her 20th-anniversary last year, received personalized sneakers beautifully painted by the Curaçao artist Korswill. 

Our finance manager always looks stylish. She wears business clothes from Monday to Thursday and switches to a more casual style on Fridays, effortlessly changing from high heels to fashionable sneakers.

During one of our HR conversations, I complimented her on her shoes and inquired about the details—where she purchased them and, crucially, what size she wears. Obtaining her size was imperative to ensure the right fit for the sneakers I intended to gift her. 

In recognition of her years of loyalty and hard work, she rightfully deserved a personalized gift. So I chose to give her a pair of sneakers with a stylish design from Korswil as a suitable gift for this fashionista. To add a special touch, our company logo was subtly incorporated into the design—after all, it was a jubilee present.

Another work anniversary last year honored our database administrator and system manager, who dedicated 15 years to our company. Renowned as a skilled handyman capable of fixing anything, he's a real MacGyver. His past involvement as a scout in his free time inspired me to consider an exclusive Swiss pocket knife as a fitting gift. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a high-quality knife locally, so I had to order it from abroad. Initially facing a challenge when my friend, who was visiting Curaçao, couldn't bring it in her hand luggage, I eventually located someone willing to transport the Swiss knife in his checked baggage. So eventually the special gift arrived just in time to surprise our jubilee.

The essential idea I want to convey is that a thoughtful gift makes people happy. When you choose a gift with care, the person who gets it likes the effort you put in. These gifts show thanks for many years of hard work and highlight how important it is to pay attention to employees.

Therefore, consider this year opting for a more personal present over a generic gift card—your colleagues will undoubtedly appreciate the difference.

Written by Ictual HR Mischa van Gelderen

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