Traditional sweets no more feature among the list of desirable Diwali gifts for office employees and rather they prefer cash, coupons, prepaid cards or gadgets, says an Assocham study.
While 45 per cent of office workers want cash or gift coupons or vouchers, 35 per cent prefer gadgets, electronic items, home appliances, utensils and other such things for personal use or for their households. Only 15 per cent asked for gift-boxes of sweets or cookies while the rest opted for various other things.
The survey report was conducted online by the Assocham Social Development Foundation to gauge 1,000 full-time office workers' opinions and about 500 HR professionals on Diwali festival bonuses given by companies and their desired gifts in 10 cities - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai.
Significantly, over half of the HR professionals have opined that while cash rewards have the lowest impact and do little to improve employees' satisfaction and performance, many of them were of the view that non-financial rewards have a greater and longer-lasting effect on an employee.
Most of the HR professionals said their companies have identified staff members who have consistently performed better and deserve to be recognised with something 'tangible', the report said.
Many said that their companies adhere to the policy of meritocracy and would reward only the best staff, thereby making it performance-based and not across the board.
"Most of the companies in private sector have gradually moved away from a fixed Diwali bonus and instead provide benefits considering employees' individual performance for past few years, so hardly any change is expected on this front," Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
"Though companies are not getting very generous, but considering that Diwali being one of India's widely celebrated annual festivals, corporate gifting has become a tradition to express gratitude, appreciation, develop relationships and generate goodwill amid peers and employees," Rawat said.
According to many HR representatives, though they have earmarked a certain amount towards corporate gifting, they have not increased their budget as compared to last year, the study found.
Several professionals opined that they plan to give gift hampers including assorted chocolates, imported liquor, genuine leather bags and even personalised gifts like gym or club membership to their deserving employees and clients this year.
However, crockery, sweets, dry fruits, bed sheets, gold coins, home decor, tableware, luxury watches, designer apparel, expensive writing instruments, free holiday packages, movie tickets, dinner coupons, spa vouchers and hampers with a mix of festive essentials like torans, diyas, aromatic candles certainly remained other popular gift options.