Thursday, December 18, 2008

On the Ninth Day of Christmas…

The last cookie has been rolled in icing sugar. I'll deal with the kitchen in the morning, as I am nestled in for the night.

It has been 9 Christmases since it all began here at Janet Helm, with the thought that giving could be meaningful and easy.

The original Christmas card thought of sharing my vision of “The 12 Days of Christmas” has, over the years, evolved to include my sons. With “9 Ladies Dancing,” (I made sure I mentioned the "ladies" part to them after...), they danced for me in the park. “10 Lords a-leaping” should be a snap next year.

To see the entire series to date visit:

Snow is falling here, a rare delight for Vancouver. (I say delight from the comfort of my home, the night before the morning commute.)

I am wishing your holiday season is filled with much fun, love, and laughter and that the year ahead brings happy, healthy times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Don’t “down-size Christmas” say employers in the know.

I recently read an article by Joanne Chianello in our local paper, The Vancouver Sun, that mentioned a company whose employer hand-wrote 20 notes and personally delivered them to his employees, inviting them all to dinner. I felt compelled to call this company and say, Kudos.

I spoke to Jennifer Cross, the business development manager who mentioned that the company is 40 years old, and has original customers coming in who are now in their 70's. No wonder they have such happy customers- their employees are happy, which reflects in the outstanding customer service provided. As she is quoted in the Vancouver Sun article, "its our job to keep our employees happy and feeling like things are good. We want everyone to feel excited about their job."

The article also quotes Patrick Sullivan, President of Workopolis, saying that it is not about the party, but "it's all about the symbolism," and “what employees appreciate more than a grand gesture is some recognition that they worked hard."

December is just one time of the year to say thanks to your team. I recommend recognizing and rewarding employees throughout the year. It creates a culture of appreciation and a happy, satisfied team. Ongoing recognition, whether a formal program or not, that thanks employees- from public displays of thanks with awards or gifts, to subtle thank yous in the form of emails with a cc to the CEO- goes a long way in helping a company achieve their goals.

Avoid generic recognition items, like dated gold watches or gift cards that people may not redeem. Instead, choose ideas, experiences and items that are directly tied to your corporate culture and mission. This creates a team atmosphere that all are involved and feel truly contributing to goals.

To modern meaningful giving,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It is all in the delivery...

One of our most popular Ready to Give gifts, as the meaningful symbolism works for so many occasions.

During a recent follow up with a customer after her event, I learned that, while she loved the gifts, in her presentation to the recipients she felt perhaps she didn't communicate the symbolism of the gift as well as I had with her. A great lesson learned for both of us.

Helping our clients present their gift to best showcase the meaning behind it is as important as the gift itself. I learned that sharing our excitement and symbolism comes naturally to me because this is what I do. For our clients, that is why they have come to us - they are experts in what they do, and we provide the expertise to help them recognize those most important to their success, clearly and effortlessly.

With this in mind, we are now providing easy techniques and tools to our clients to ensure their gifts continue the experience effortlessly and with meaning, as intended.

Here are a few tips to ensure that when presenting gifts, they are received with as much meaning and value as the thought you put into them.

  1. When presenting your gift to an individual or a group, tell a short story of why you chose this gift- the symbolism, how it ties in with the occasion, and how they can benefit from the piece in their home or office. Make it easy for them to understand the relevance.

  2. If the gift is delivered or presented in a hotel room, ensure a story card is included to speak to the symbolism and why you chose the gift for them.
    For example:
    "I chose this basket made of FSC-certified cherry wood that was hand-made by an artisan in a time-honored tradition a hundred years old, because it reminded me of our working together for a better planet and creating a bounty of opportunity as we continue to work together. I hope you enjoy this basket and it reminds you of our time together, as well. Yours to enjoy filled with seasonal fruit, or simply displayed at your home. Each piece is hand-signed by the artist for you on the bottom of the basket. Thank you again. And enjoy.”

I am grateful for the opportunity to share this as it is an important part of the giving process.
Readers, what are your thoughts or questions about the giving process? Please feel free to post your comments and questions below.