Show those idiots how much you care
In the “corporate” world1, there are things you say and things you don’t. For the things you don’t, there are gifts that say it for you.
In some places, for instance, you can’t say “Merry Christmas” to employees or customers—because merriment, apparently, is not allowed or is just plain unmentionable. So instead, you give out cards with pictures of snowflakes and Christmas wreaths that say “Our people are our greatest resources! Wishing you a really warm winter!”
But besides cards, there are “real” gifts2 you can give to your employees that send all kinds of meaningful subliminal (and not-so-subliminal) messages, making them feel truly valued, as if their CEOs—or at least the managers of their HR departments—actually care enough to spend from one to twenty pounds on them. And you can put the company logo on them to show just how personal a gift it is.
For instance, you can give a “stress ball” with a company logo—you know: those squishy balls that are too soft for tennis, too big for golf, just about right for the cat to chew to pieces, but actually meant for employees to squeeze, squash, and strangle in their hands—just what they feel like doing to their bosses and colleagues. A stress ball tells employees you know how they feel, you really do care about their health (even while laying on the stress). Because you know they want to strangle someone, and this way it doesn’t have to be each other.
Then there are tea (or coffee) mugs—always with the corporate logo, mind you. What better way to encourage employees than with a container for their caffeinated beverage of choice? A mug says: “Hey, there are twenty-four hours in a day! No need to go home and rest; just have another coffee and work all night!”
In some of the more “intellectual” (i.e., nerdy) professions, a Rubik’s Cube is a perfect gift. Nothing says “I believe in you” like a Rubik’s Cube; this one tells employees they can, and will, solve any problem (however contrived) you throw at them, however little time you give them. And Mr. Rubik certainly won’t complain (at least not in English) if you put the company logo on his lovely puzzle cube.
For the less intellectual occupations, simpler toys like stuffed animals are appropriate (with the company logo imprinted on, say, the belly or the forehead). Teddy bears, doggies, kittens, what-have-you . . . these tell employees you love them despite their imbecility and immaturity. You already treat them like children anyway, might as well bring back some of the fond childhood memories.
And don’t forget your own company products, replete with company logos. Whatever you sell, be it knick-knacks, paddy-whacks, or Givva-Dogga-Bones, giving them to employees tells them quite clearly, “Since you never buy our stuff, we’re giving it to you free so at least your friends and neighbours think you like it.”
Finally, the most ingenious gift of all, The Motivational Poster. This one was invented by either Hitler or Stalin (I can’t remember which) and is a tried and true method of saying, “We want our employees to feel good about themselves even though they’re expendable. You love this company, and we care enough to brainwash you [Company Logo].”
“Olbernhauer Reiterlein,” by Dr. Bernd Gross. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
- As opposed to the real world, the one you were told you’d be going to after finishing school. Then you realise you’ve actually ended up in the corporate world, and the real world is somewhere far away. Maybe you’ll get there when you retire. Or maybe you’ll just die trying . . . ↩
- Real as in they-came-out-of-the-Cheapo-Corporate-Goods-Catalog-where-everything-costs-twenty-pounds-or-less-which-is-about-what-they’re-worth, rather than just overpriced glossy printed paper. ↩