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HR Pro Sees New Opportunities for Personalized Products

As owner and president of GO-HR, Sharon DeLay is a human resources professional with a big-picture view of the corporate world. That’s because her company provides customized HR solutions to a wide range of small businesses. Unlike an HR professional who is employed by a single company, DeLay and her team have experience with hundreds of businesses and are able to assess larger trends in the business world.

HR Pro Sees New Opportunities for Personalized Products

REMOTE WORK PRESENTS NEW WAYS FOR EMPLOYERS TO KEEP WORKERS ENGAGED

By Julie Rogers

As owner and president of GO-HR, Sharon DeLay is a human resources professional with a big-picture view of the corporate world. That’s because her company provides customized HR solutions to a wide range of small businesses. Unlike an HR professional who is employed by a single company, DeLay and her team have experience with hundreds of businesses and are able to assess larger trends in the business world.

“Many employers are still trying to figure out if the remote working arrangement is going to stay this way permanently. If it does, they’re very concerned about how they can keep their employees engaged and tied to the organization. Culture is on their minds!” DeLay said. “They’re just as concerned with how to stay connected to their customers.”

OFF-SITE EMPLOYEES

Remote workers present a wrinkle in any plans for eventual in-person awards ceremonies—“If they do stay remote permanently, it will naturally migrate to a geographically diverse workforce that can’t just ‘run into’ the office,” she said.

But fears that this will eliminate corporate buying are short-sighted. A remote workforce offers new opportunities for a host of personalized products. “The remote working arrangement is requiring that employers look at employees through the computer camera lens and think about what customers are seeing and shouldn’t be seeing. This, coupled with employees’ needs for tools, resources, and supplies—and the fact that the home office tax deduction was eliminated under the last administration—means employers have an opportunity to outfit their employees with a whole host of things—office backgrounds, branded apparel, office supplies, etc.”

That would make this a good time to approach corporate customers about what is known in the personalization industry as a “company store”: a website that allows employees to order from a range of employer-chosen products personalized with the corporation’s branding. Company stores streamline the ordering, payment, and shipment processes.

They also are a point of differentiation for a retailer who can offer a company store vs. a retailer who makes the corporate customer manager order intake from their employees. “Creating a portal or intranet site where employees can go to order consumable supplies that are controlled seems like a no-brainer,” DeLay said.

BRANDING IN SHARED SPACES

If the shift to remote working is permanent, even in some areas or industries, it’s likely some corporations will downsize or eliminate physical office space. In that case, some employees are likely to seek work areas outside of the home, whether they use that space for focused work or as an alternative to working at home.

This is expected to give a boost to coworking spaces, shared workspaces that offer the amenities of an office but are used by workers from various companies and industries on an as-needed basis. For companies that maintain an office but significantly downsize their space, not all employees will have assigned spaces (desks or offices).

When they are in the office, they’ll use available desks or workspaces that aren’t assigned to a specific employee. Essentially, they give up their desk for the flexibility of working remotely some days and in-office others. Even before the pandemic, hotdesking could save corporations as much as 30% on real estate costs.

DeLay sees opportunity in these nontraditional arrangements, too. “The rise of coworking space also seems like a great time to provide branded laptop cases and portable ‘office supply’ kits for employee use,” she said.

Branded laptop bags in a coworking space both ensure an employee’s computer isn’t mistaken for someone else’s while also advertising the employer to other workers using the space. The office supply kits would be handy both in a coworking space and when hotdesking; in either situation, the employee hasn’t been able to outfit a desk in advance with the supplies they need.

CREATING CONNECTIONS

Some workers flourish remotely. But some employees—like extroverts or people who live alone—seek coworking space or a return to gain human interaction and socialization. Good employers are aware of this need and have sought to boost their workers’ social-emotional health.

In a theme you’ve probably detected by now, DeLay has some great ideas for social activities that can be conducted remotely and offer opportunities for personalized gifts. “Because of the elimination of the social interaction in the office, more employers are doing remote activities that include prizes, awards, and general fun, and I see more employers hand-writing notes or sending little gifts,” she said.

Prizes for events are another opportunity for online ordering from a company store run by personalization retailers. That way employees choose an item that they really want without the company having to handle ordering or shipping.

Even a shared remote happy hour or coffee break can benefit from personalized products, DeLay said. “Wine Wednesday looks a lot better in a company-branded container, or a gift box of coffee, tea, and a mug that reminds employees that you care.”

Learn more about GO-HR at go-hr.biz.

Awards and Personalization Association

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