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As the Creative Design & Logistics department leader in South Africa, it has always been my passion to make our engagements come alive through exciting and creative execution of materials. Often, part of an engagement is to source and supply a small gift for the team members or even a branded gift for our clients’ customers. Amid this Covid-19 pandemic, I have found myself tapping into our core value Ingenuity frequently. When all suppliers are closed for business, how do I answer questions like:

  • How do we now inspire through a gift?
  • What gestures can make someone feel appreciated?
  • How can we recognize achievement and effort?
  • How do we keep our clients’ brand top of mind?

With these questions, comes the opportunity to develop creative ways for clients and leaders to recognize their internal teams for their resilience, efforts, and achievements in a very different working environment. 

In his 1968 Harvard Business Review article entitled One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?” among the most popular Harvard Business Review articles of all time, Frederick Herzberg states that the two primary internal motivators for people are and recognition for achievement. 

The world is changing, so we need to change our ways of working. More than ever, at Riverbend, we are passionate about inspiring and equipping our clients to become greater. In conversations with our clients and my colleagues, I’ve realized that three things are essential for creative ways to show recognition, appreciation, or make a kind gesture.

  1.  Execution is more important than perfection.

We tend to drive ourselves to perfection, but, in these times, sending something is better than not sending something at all. A wise person once told me that a great idea with no execution means nothing, whereby an average idea with great execution is everything. Although there may be many challenges that face us in sending parcels to people globally, do not let that stop you! In South Africa, for example, we are extremely limited to only the bare essentials, and for this reason, many gift ideas and creative elements cannot be sent. Still, they should not stop anyone who wants to show they care or to recognize an effort. That brings me to my second point: 

  1.  Ingenuity – please get out of that box!

Ingenuity is the quality of being original and inventive, and our imagination only limits ours. When it comes to showing you care during these times, I want to encourage us all to think outside of the box, next to the box, under the box, on top of the box as long as it is not in the box because quite clearly we cannot send boxes!

Here are some of the ideas:

  • Audiobooks & EBooks – Some books are free to download.
  • Virtual gift cards – For birthdays, engagements etc.
  • Food Delivery – Send a meal for a special occasion like a birthday or pizza for a virtual team lunch.
  • Care package – winter warmer socks, unique coffee, and rusks.
  • Personal Hygiene elements
  • Stationary – For people working at their own desk. What is more amazing than a new packet of pens?
  • iTunes gift card
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Gaming purchases & Subscriptions
  • Fitness Digital Platform Subscriptions
  • Video streaming services
  1.  Intangible works!

To show people you care, appreciate and/or recognize them for a job well done doesn’t mean it always has to be in the form of an actual item or service. Ideas such as paying for a webinar that you know they are interested in, scheduling a virtual motivational session for your team OR client (that has nothing to do with a product, but all to do with them as human beings)or even a coaching session with a trusted mentor, can be what your client or employee might need during this time.

In conclusion, Charles Dudley Warner said: “The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” More than ever, your clients and your teams need assurance that you care about them as human beings. As Doreen Linneman, our CEO, wrote in one of her recent blogs, and I quote: Your team wants (needs!) you to address what we call the Human Element. Remember, they are humans first who happen to work at your company. They are not your employees who happen to be humans. I feel the same rings true for our clients.

Do not be limited by logistical issues, space, and lack of human contact, to show you care. Keep connecting, and please do not underestimate what a small token of appreciation, gratitude, or recognition might mean to someone.


Author Anel Greyling

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