Move over wearily wrapped tins of chocolates and bottles of wine: companies are thinking creatively about how to treat their employees and clients this Christmas. Would you like to see a gift subscription to Positive News under your tree? Forward this article to HR now
Here at Positive News, we love hearing about how our journalism makes its way into the world. We’ve been struck by the number of messages that explain how our magazine is increasingly being gifted to staff and to clients by employers who really care.
It’s in line with human resources experts who report that employers are trying to think creatively when it comes to showing how they value their staff and clients at the end of the year. A gift voucher or panettone might be appreciated, but business leaders – particularly of values-led companies – are looking for something more meaningful and memorable.
“Our company has always been about trying to run a business in a way that’s good for society, good for the planet,” says Tom Greenwood, co-founder of sustainable website design agency Wholegrain Digital.
“A lot of our clients work with us because they have a similar ethos to us: we’re on the same page. A Positive News subscription is something that very much aligns with what we’re about as an organisation, but also feels like it would resonate with our clients.”
It was a couple of years ago when Greenwood, along with wife and co-founder Vineeta, hit on the idea of gifting constructive journalism to staff at Wholegrain in the form of Positive News Christmas gift subscriptions.
“We’ve read Positive News since the early days, and we’ve always loved it,” says Greenwood. “We’ve given subscriptions to friends and family sometimes, and a couple of years ago we did it for staff. Then last year we decided to do it for all our clients.
“It’s just good to celebrate the good things that are happening and have a bit of inspiration. We need optimism, we need hope. This is something positive and meaningful, not just for Christmas, but throughout the year.”
We need optimism, we need hope. This is something positive and meaningful, not just for Christmas, but throughout the year
Some of the clients have, in turn, bought subscriptions for their friends and family, adds Vineeta. “A client’s wife who is a doctor has decided to do something very similar to what we are doing at their practice.”
With mental health high on many employers’ agendas now, it’s comforting to know that Positive News also delivers a welcome quarterly wellbeing boost. “Every now and then we get a little note, or someone mentions it in conversation, that it brought a little bit of joy when it landed in their postbox,” says Greenwood. “It does seem to be appreciated.”
Less splash-the-cash, more consideration
A survey by employee rewards and payments platform Edenred found that over half of workers would favour a gift other than cash at Christmas. In its year-end ‘reward and recognition’ report, the company recommends making rewards “part of your organisation’s DNA – fully aligned to what your business is trying to achieve long term”.
Greenwood believes his alt-gifting is part of a wider trend that looks to go beyond mere splash-the-cash tokenism. “I think there’s a real dilemma for people running purpose-led businesses where you want to give your staff and clients something meaningful as a bit of a thank you,” he says. “But at the same time, you don’t want to perpetuate, or become part of, the consumerist culture.”
Meanwhile Debbie Lovewell-Tuck, editor of human resources news site Employee Benefits, said employers’ desire to become more inclusive was also driving change.
“We’ve seen a shift in recent years, which was beginning even pre-pandemic,” says Lovewell-Tuck. “Employers are looking at what they can do outside of the traditional Christmas party and traditional Christmas hampers.
“This is partly driven by the need to take into account the fact that they have multicultural workforces with very different beliefs and preferences, and partly tying into their sustainability strategies.”
For enquiries and to find out more about Positive News Christmas gift subscriptions for staff or clients, see here.