Promoting employee engagement and retention through the power of gourmet bakery gifts

Business leaders face a novel problem in a post-pandemic world. The challenge of retaining employees grew by leaps and bounds as the nature of work transformed for millions of Americans.

The McKinsey institute reported in February that 20% of business travel will not return once pandemic-era restrictions are lifted, and about 20% of workers could end up working from home indefinitely.

Not coincidentally, a majority of U.S. workers surveyed in February ― 52% ― reported they were considering a job change, with 44% already making actual plans to switch. Meanwhile, most unemployed Americans have considered changing occupations as well.

For workers who will rarely set foot in an office this year, it’s easy to lose the sense of support from co-workers and supervisors they enjoyed prior to the pandemic. What more can be done to keep employees satisfied in their home office?

The bakery gift offers an unlikely yet elegant solution to an institutional problem: how to show employees they’re appreciated, even when they’re working remotely. For supervisors who can’t buy goodies and gather everyone together in the break room for a face-to-face pep talk, mail-order treats offer a delicious alternative.

The sight of a special, gourmet gift on their doorstep generates a sense of excitement. The reason for the gift can be individualized ― a job well done or “just because” ― but the net effect is often the same. The employee will share their tasty treat with friends and family and talk about their company in a special way, something they may not have done before. Many will be eager to share pictures of their gift on social media; food photos are always among the most popular on Instagram, in particular. There’s a little social marketing baked right in for your organization.

This idea can easily carry over to employee birthdays and restore the biggest element missing from the work-from-home culture: cake on a co-worker’s special day. A birthday cake from the boss speaks volumes about what that manager thinks of their employee. Sending a cake, cookies, or a bakery tower on an employee’s anniversary, work anniversary, or other special occasion demonstrates a personal touch that fosters a reciprocal sense of appreciation and instills a sense of loyalty. It’s almost like they’re right there in the office with you. Let’s face it, everyone wants to belong.

Employees who feel recognized in this way are less likely to fall into the 52% considering a job change, which affects their productivity in turn. Fostering employee engagement and appreciation is well worth the extra effort. It reinforces a sense of community and company culture, no matter how far around the globe an organization’s workforce is spread. Now, for leaders who are weary of turnover, it’s become a necessity.

Joe Dornoff is the president and managing partner of Bake Me A Wish!

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