Why employees deserve a parting gift

Why wait for an employee to retire? A token gift can be given even to an employee who has worked for a couple of years. After all, it is an appreciative gesture that has long-term benefits!

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The act of gifting is a gesture of appreciation and respect. It’s been a part and parcel of our cultural values for ages. This practice also spilled into the professional world. Now, it’s common to bid adieu to an employee with loads of gifts on his retirement.

But why should this gifting be restricted to people who are retiring? Why not all employees, who have made a significant contribution during their tenures be given gifts? These days employees tend to switch jobs after a period of three to five years, and even in this short period, they work hard, with sincerity and dedication, contributing to the organisation’s growth. Don’t they all deserve a parting gift?

We may not have had the tradition so far, but during these times, when we are relooking at every aspect of the employer–employee relationship, why not try this one as well?

Sriharsha Achar, group CHRO, Apollo Hospitals Group, agrees. “It makes sense to give a parting gift if someone has spent about three to five years. It may not be an official practice but more informal and personal. Also, it is mostly the concerned departments who organise these things for their members.”

Sriharsha Achar

“It makes sense to give a parting gift if someone has spent about three to five years. It may not be an official practice but more informal and personal”

Yes, it’s true that depending on the relationship they share with their colleagues and team mates, people do receie parting gifts. However, what we are trying to establish is why this should become an organisational practice. More so, when organisations are increasingly making efforts to stay connected with the ex-employees hoping for a rebound.

Building and maintaining relationships has become vital. Human resource practices have changed since the last generation. Earlier, the act of leaving a company did not entail any effort from the company to make it a smooth experience. Once you left a company, all threads were cut. Now, the experience has changed. The focus has turned to employee experience. Corporates big and small value senior members of the company, and while exiting, there is usually a big gesture from the company’s side

Who knows, an employee may even decide to come back to the company in a senior position, after gaining meaningful experience in other places.

Suruchi Maitra

“On many occasions, I have seen team members or managers create a parting gift for an employee. Such gestures are for people who have spent a significant amount of time in the company and they go a long way in carrying forward the relationship”

The homecoming can only be possible when you part ways happily, and therefore, the parting gift should be memorable for the exiting employee.

Suruchi Maitra, CHRO, Lenskart, concurs that the practice is common among managers and senior leaders but never as an official policy for all employees. “On many occasions, I have seen team members or managers create a parting gift for an employee. Such gestures are for people who have spent a significant amount of time in the company and they go a long way in carrying forward the relationship.”

Amit Das, director-HR and CHRO, the Times Group, argues that it’s not just the parting gift, but the overall experience of the employee that matters. “A gift is more symbolic in acknowledging the long service or tenure that the employee must have put in the organisation, but more importantly, it is the experience of the employee in the organisation that matters. The experience and the relationships that are built matter. How we create an experience around the separation process is more important. That will help the worker remember us fondly and be an advocate of the company going forward.”

Amit Das

“The experience and the relationships that are built matter. How we create an experience around the separation process is more important. That will help the worker remember us fondly and be an advocate of the company going forward”

 

A senior HR leader, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke of large companies giving away cars and houses and offering health-care benefits, but only after retirement. “Of course it makes sense to give an expensive gift to a person with 30 years of service, but one cannot expect to give the same to a kid who has put in only three years. That will depend on the team members,” he says.

But why only long-term workers? We can think of two reasons why a gift for every employee should be advocated.

First, since the focus on employee engagement is high right now, a gift for every departing employee can be a bonus for the company’s reputation. For instance, an employee who has contributed a few years to the organisation can be given a small token in the form of a gift, before she/he leaves.

Second, it is not only about the years of work put in, but about how effective or productive an individual has been, and that has to be appreciated in some way. This can be expressed by giving a gift. It simply goes a long way in showing how caring and appreciative the work culture of the company is.

Gifting small can also have big returns!

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