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A personal recognition policy: De Gilde Groep’s approach

By Silke
24 Nov 2023

Every year, over a hundred million corporate gifts are sent out in Belgium and the Nether­lands. That sounds like an impressive number, and indeed it is. But what leaves an even bigger impression is the fact that many of these gifts don’t achieve the desired effect.

This is a real shame. Especially when you consider that countless studies have shown how powerful corporate gifts can be. Take, for example, the well-known McKinsey study from 2009, which showed that appre­ci­a­tion and recog­ni­tion are more important motivators than cash bonuses.

In 2021, Forbes showed that a culture of regular rewards – where employees receive recog­ni­tion about once a month – increases employee engagement, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and retention. Even a small gift can make a big difference to employee morale. Especially if you give it a personal touch.

Although the Dutch De Gilde Groep is certainly no longer a small company with its 30 internal employees and 350 skilled workers, it is that personal approach that they find extremely important. For them it is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining employees.

But how does this approach actually work? Is it even possible to maintain a personal recog­ni­tion policy for so many employees? And how do you then roll this out in practice? All questions we asked Marjoleine Voerman, HR Business Partner at De Gilde Groep.

The challenge

Set up in 1996, De Gilde Groep is a temporary employment agency spe­cial­is­ing in pro­fes­sion­als in electrical engi­neer­ing, concrete con­struc­tion and prefab. They struggle to find the right skilled workers in the Nether­lands, so they cast their net wider in Europe to find the talent they’re after. And they seem to be very good at it, thanks to their personal approach.

In a time where almost everything is done online, it has become even more important for us to focus on personal contact.” – Marjoleine

Marjoleine illus­trates how much employees like working there: At one point there were several employees who went to work for another client. But after a while they came back, saying that the work here is better organised and more enjoyable. We of course welcomed them back with open arms, because this is the best compliment we could ever hope for,” laughs Marjoleine.

In a time where almost everything is done online, it has become even more important for us to focus on personal contact. For example, we place great emphasis on the guidance we provide for our projects, and we regularly travel abroad to keep our finger on the pulse of our external recruit­ment partners.

Marjoleine also wants to put a personal stamp on their recog­ni­tion policy: We’re one big family, and that’s good, because you’re more than just an employee. You come here to work, but you always bring your personal side, with your thoughts and feelings, along with you. And we want our recog­ni­tion policy to acknowl­edge this with the right personal touch.”

This wasn’t always easy, as they used to use search engines to look for the right gifts. The enormous amount of search results meant we could no longer see the wood for the trees. You just keep filtering and clicking and before you know it you’ve spent hours on it. It certainly wasn’t a long-term solution.”

The solution

There was a clear need for a sus­tain­able, efficient solution. Kadonation’s gift platform came along at just the right moment, and the well-thought-out range of gifts for each occasion as well as the extensive per­son­al­i­sa­tion options made it an easy decision.

The personal engagement and service you provide is really fantastic. Whatever is important to us is also important to Kadonation, and we really like that.” – Marjoleine

Last year we really under­es­ti­mat­ed the amount of time it would take us to organise our end-of-year gifts ourselves. I think it took 15 employees an entire afternoon to fill 400 bags. Great for team spirit, but it cost us a lot of time and money, especially if you include all the prepa­ra­tion and buying everything we needed. This made it very clear that next year things had to be different. So we now use Kadonation Select to support our gift policy. For our end-of-year gifts alone, this is a saving of around 1,000 euros.”

As a pilot project, De Gilde Groep tried Kadonation Select out for Sin­terk­laas, and they really liked it. Off the back of that they also decided to use the platform to celebrate their employees’ birthdays, among other occasions. To help strengthen ties with the organ­i­sa­tion, on every birthday employees receive a Kadonation Gift Card accom­pa­nied by a personal video message from their manager. Videos that have almost become more popular than the birthday gift itself, proving that a gift is merely a way to convey your message and personal appre­ci­a­tion.

For us it’s mostly about the idea that the employee knows their manager has put the effort into thinking about this. You’re really made to feel special on an occasion that’s personal to you. Why the manager instead of the CEO? The manager knows their team members better and is closer to them, and that makes it even more personal.”

The result

Marjoleine: Employees now eagerly await the video message they’ll receive on their birthday, as well as the gift of course.” Watching that video is often something they’ll do together, much to the delight of the birthday boy or girl and their whole team. And so every birthday becomes a party!

Video messages clearly have a prominent place in De Gilde Groep’s personal recog­ni­tion policy. And they also notice that personal approach at Kadonation. The personal engagement and service you provide is really fantastic. Whatever is important to us is also important to Kadonation, and we really like that,” says Marjoleine. Thank you for your kind words!

We’re happy to help.

Do you also want to make your recog­ni­tion policy more personal and easily roll it out across your whole company?