How to build a strong company culture using branded merchandise

Never has company culture been more important than in the new normal work landscape as UK employers face a combination of challenges, from the Brexit exit of many workers to lockdown re-opening and a labour force shaking things up with a new work/life attitude.

And this shortage is across all sectors and skill sets as the British Chamber of Commerce recently revealed that half of companies recruiting had struggled to fill posts with the worst labour shortage since 1997.

So, retaining and attracting workers is one of the many unexpected side effects of the pandemic. How then can businesses make sure they stay ahead of the game with their workforce?

One answer has to be creating a work environment that people aspire to belong to and embrace.  With budgets stretched and competition fierce, it’s time to think creatively and look for solutions that are attainable and work.

How leaders should think about branded merchandise to create and foster a strong company culture

Well knowing what employees want and what they value is the best place to start as new research by the UK’s leading promotional products company 4imprint shows a little branded merchandise goes a long way.

The promotional marketing experts polled 1,500 UK workers with the results revealing that nearly three-quarters (72%) saying that corporate gifts make employees feel valued and a quarter of those surveyed said they’re also good for morale.

The vast majority (85%) of British employees even went as far as saying that regular promotional gifts would change their opinion of the company that they work for. That’s good news for bosses as promotional products and corporate merchandise are a cost-effective way of engendering loyalty.

They can also be used to promote businesses externally as research by bodies including the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), shows corporate merchandise has a literal shelf-life of eight months (although if it’s an umbrella, people hang onto those for over a year). Giving you brand exposure externally as well in-house, a real ‘win-win!’

Being a team player helps company loyalty

The promotional retailer’s Work Perks report also reveals that being part of a team is important to over a half (51 percent) of British employees and this is another area that promotional marketing can help with.

Co-ordinated clothing and even uniforms help employee engagement and support hybrid working as a way to connect with others, engage teams and build community, wherever they are based.

The psychology is simple. A uniform or branded clothing makes people feel part of a team, it helps them to identify with others as team members and quite simply gives a sense of belonging.

And as hybrid working is set to dominate the workplace – with The Institute of Directors reporting two-thirds of British employers are planning to introduce between one to four days remote working as standard – it’s no longer a trend but the new way of work life.

Enforced remote working caused by the pandemic has shown that not only are workers happier but that they are more productive with a mix of office and home working, whilst businesses can make savings on office costs.

In fact, the most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show productivity rose by nearly 2% (1.7%) in terms of output in the most recent quarter because of this hybrid approach to working.

Show them you care, with a branded care package

We all love a freebie and it’s no surprise that the promotional marketing retailer’s study reveals that nine out of 10 of us love a gift, no matter who it was from.

But what 4imprint’s research also showed was that what employees want the most are personalised gifts that celebrate their contribution to the business.

Whether it’s employee of the month or sales success, such branded merchandise is a great way to boost morale and create loyalty.

And branded care packages are a great way to make sure employee feel part of the team even if circumstances mean there’s a limit to ‘in-person’ contact.

What they want most are water bottles, pens, tees, hoodies and travel mugs, so it’s practical but aesthetically pleasing branded merchandise that hits the mark.

So, what better and more cost-effective way to maintain loyalty and team spirit than sending a welcome care package.

What do the best places to work in the UK have in common?

When you look at the 2021 ‘best places to work in the UK’ awards as voted for by employees, there is one common theme and that is the strong brand identity and recognition of the top 10, if not the whole top 50.

They are household names, instantly recognisable through their logos. At number one is Salesforce, followed by Microsoft. Google, Apple and Meta are also in the top 10 and also feature highly in other territories, notably America.

They are all companies who invest heavily in their brands, culture and loyalty, and more than a little merchandise!