Today officially marks the beginning of the busiest, loudest, and flashiest week of the Indian calendar. The next five, or so, days will be spent exchanging greetings, gorging on food, and spending time with family and friends. Although a majority of companies will be shut during this period, today will be marked by a rather tense and frantic annual ritual, which will be a logistical nightmare for employers, and is likely to leave employees disappointed.
The ‘Diwali Gift’, no matter who gives it, is a rather important symbol of the festival in the corporate world. And like most other traditions, it has been annexed by fanciful advertising – both in the domestic and corporate spheres – it still happens to be an important part of the festivities. So before you rush off to buy crockery sets in bulk, or order 500 boxes of diabetes-inducing kaju katli, read ahead.
Corporate gifting is changing every year radically. You cannot get away with handing a box of chocolates or dry fruits anymore. Why not? A lot of organisations in the industry are going all out to please their employees. From latest technological gadgets, to unique experiences and adventures, a lot is up for offer this Diwali. Obviously, you cannot match the industry leaders, but what you can do is make your gift more thoughtful and practical. Once you have set a budget (be generous here), do a quick informal vox-pop of sorts to understand what you employees actually want. Choose practicality over visual frivolousness, and see how the recipient can benefit from it. Do not compromise on the quality to save a few bucks, and if your team happens to be less of 20 members – personalise each gift. Make sure that the immediate supervisor adds a hand-written note to the gift.
If you want to gift your friends and colleagues at work, remember moderation is the key. Do not play favourites, and stick to your budget. If there is a practice of secretly gifting each other – it is best to decide an upper limit to the price of the gift, and put some thought in it. You do not want to be the person who returns a thoughtful book, or a personalised mug with the over-the-counter chocolate bought from the cafeteria. If you are planning to gift your boss something, it would be best if the entire team chips in and go for a safe and professional option (pens, cuff links etc). No matter whom you are giving a gift to, make sure you add a hand-written and personal message on the card that accompanies it.
A Head-start for Beginners:
It is easy to fall into the habit of ordering the same dry-fruits or pre-packaged junk food every year, but there are a lot of exciting options available today. First off, remember that sweets and dry fruits, crockery, cutlery and dinnerware, or home decor, are not as crowd-pleasing as they used to be. These are matters of personal taste and choice, and you shouldn’t be imposing them on others, just to appease the idea that you have gifted something. Next, the pre-packaged fast-food gift packs might be an easy pick, but relatives already bring them in by the dozen, plus they aren’t healthy to consume. Although food is a safe bet, look for interesting and new options which are not laden with fat or sugar. Book wellness packages at a centre or institution to help you employees relax, or help them plan a mini-retreat of sorts. Gift vouchers are given out in excess during this period, but all they provide is the flexibility to buy what you want, and kill the thought of the gift in the process. Same goes for cash. And if absolutely nothing comes to mind, keep a simple check of whether the gift is elegant and simple. If you want your employees or colleagues to actually feel good about receiving the gift, you need to put in effort looking for it.
A gift is a form and expression to say that you care. It isn’t the gift that is as important, as is the idea and thoughtfulness behind it, and therefore it will reflect what you really want to say. Finding appropriate gifts will take some time, effort, research, and a wee bit of flexibility in cash and budget. There is a slow, but sure change in the rules – written and unwritten – of the corporate gifting, and it is your choice to embrace or reject them.
We, at People Matters, wish you a very Happy Diwali, and a prosperous festive season ahead!