The Difference between Corporate Gifting and Employee Incentives

Corporate gifting vs. employee incentives

Because we’re in the business of helping companies improve business, we are especially skilled in structuring effective employee programs that improve engagement, increase sales and achieve other metrics and improve business in general. (There are many reasons why improving employee engagement is beneficial.) This recent article suggests that some company leaders may be unclear about the difference between corporate gifting and properly structured employee incentive, recognition and reward programs.

The article is titled, “Improving Employee Engagement and Recognition with Better Corporate Gifting”. As stated in the previous paragraph, employee engagement is increased through intentionally and carefully structured employee reward and recognition programs – not so much through corporate gift programs.

While corporate gift strategies are important and most definitely serve a purpose, incentive, reward and recognition programs are more effective in terms of increasing employee engagement. Here’s the difference:


Reward & Recognition                    Corporate Gifts

-Clear rules that communicate co goals                                -no reciprocation required

-rewards are earned                                                                -often “surprise & delight”

-thru an effective rule structure, employees                         -not linked to performance
understand what’s necessary to earn the reward                                                 

-employees are recognized for meeting                               -may commemorate a Holiday
or exceeding individual & team goals                                    birthday or anniversary

-rewards are often selected specifically                                -support employee appreciation
for the employee or audience (tangible
rewards are more effective)                                                   -reinforce the company brand

-recognition is often public & reinforced
by peers

-recognition can come from peers and/or


While it’s true that companies with a corporate gift policy (whether they use name-brand merchandise identified with a company logo or promotional products) outperform companies that do not, corporate gifts alone are not likely to increase employee engagement.

There is a structure and purpose to a well-designed employee incentive, reward or recognition program, that include these steps:

  1. Determine Objectives. Individual or team; aligned with company goals.
  2. Analyze the Audience. Which employees will have the most impact on your company objectives?
  3. Fact Finding and Audience Involvement. Invite employee input.
  4. Create Rule Structure & Develop Budget.
  5. Select Rewards. Tangible non-cash rewards work best.
  6. Communicate the Program. Not just at the kick-off and the end, but throughout the program.
  7. Operate & Track Results. Often, the most overlooked step!
  8. Fulfill the Rewards.
  9. Evaluate & Measure.
    Celebrate Success!

Both corporate gift strategies and employee incentive, reward & recognition programs play a role in most companies. Partnering with an experienced firm to guide you will ensure that you’re using the most effective means to improve employee engagement!




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like