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How To Pivot Your Corporate Gifting In 2020

When face-to-face interaction with employees isn't possible, showing them your appreciation is even more important. Here are some useful gift-giving pointers for bringing people together during the holidays.

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In a recent interview with WCBS Newsradio 880, Shark Tank star told Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso something simple but profound: "Whatever you start doing today, your business will not be doing that in a year. Things change. The world changes. You have to adapt."

Dougal Waters | Getty Images

That's never been more true than it is now. Think about the five biggest problems your company was solving for a year ago and compare that to your top five today. A global pandemic has a way of changing every aspect of work.

The holidays are no different. The idea of leaving a basket full of treats at every cubicle won't work this year. The times demand a more thoughtful solution to corporate gifting, and the need to change isn't letting up.

Later in the same interview Herjavec touched on a made-for-2020 paradox: The less face time we have with our coworkers, the more effort is required to demonstrate our appreciation for them.

Related: Stumped on Office Gifts for the Holidays? Here Are Some Handy ...

"One of the hard things I'm having right now is staying in touch with my employees," he said. "We have 350 employees in our company. I haven't seen a single person in my company since Feb. 17. Think about that. I'm running a $300 million business. I haven't seen a single employee. We do Zoom calls. At first it's wonderful. After a while, people are like, "yeah yeah yeah, we've heard all this before.' How do I maintain that relationship when we can't get together?"

Cooking camraderie

Herjavec then offered a cool recommendation: He partnered with Bake Me A Wish!, a company that delivers everything from brownies to quiches via a digital gift certificate program that makes it easy for employees to select finely crafted confections of their choosing. The CEO surprised his own employees with cakes and cookies in a recent Instagram live post.

"Bake Me A Wish is ― it's an event," Herjavec told WCBS. "It's really well-packaged. It shows up. The employee feels special. What we found is, you bring it home, you put it on the kitchen table, your wife comes home or your husband and they say, "oh my gosh what's that?' and now you're engaging the entire family."

Related: Charitable Gifts Don't Have to Be Boring

It doesn't have to be sweets

Some of Napa Valley's finest have instituted a wine-gifting platform that resembles Bake Me A Wish's digital gift certificate portal. The idea goes like this: First, you send the winery a list of your employees, along with the products they can choose to order. They then create an allocation just for your company. Recepients receive an email letting them know they've received the vice that is vino, along with a link to their offer to redeem their bottle. The middleman is VineSpring, a third-party point-of-sale app built just for wineries.

It's imperative that leaders find creative ways to bring their team together and a crisp Pinto Noir makes for the perfect present during a pandemic.

Related: The 10 Weirdest Office Holiday Gifts

Whichever route you choose, it's critical we resist the temptation to skimp on giving despite the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic. Think of it as an investment in team-building at a time when no one should feel alone. Allowing a sense of isolation to gain a foothold in your company can only erode the culture you're trying to build. Now is the time to deliver any incentives that will bring your employees together.

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