WeGift, the industry leader in digital payouts and rewards, today shared the findings of a consumer survey about corporate gifting and recognition and 80% of respondents reported that they would be happy to receive gift cards, easily beating even cash, which clocked in at 68%.

A representative sample of 554 United States residents was asked a number of questions about their experiences with corporate gifts and incentives. 450 respondents, 81% of those surveyed, have received a corporate gift, although it may not always have felt like a gift. The results paint the picture of employers trying – although not always succeeding – to recognize their employees and thank them for their service.

Of course, gift giving is tricky for anyone, and even harder when an organization has to select a single gift for many recipients. No surprise then, that:

  • Only 38% of respondents “regularly use” the corporate merchandise they received. A brazen 5% were able to regift the items.
  • Plants are well received! And then abandoned. 83% of respondents either “liked” or “loved” the plants they received as gifts. Sadly, 21% of respondents report that the plant is no longer alive.
  • Branded clothing seems like a great way to reward employees while showing off the logo. Unfortunately for 11% of respondents, that clothing didn’t fit.
  • Finally, edible gifts may be the riskiest of all. While 79% of respondents ate and liked the food they received, a whopping 31% of respondents reported being allergic. That may be the gift that keeps on giving.

While gifts may seem like a fun bonus, they really matter, and employees pay attention. 41% of respondents reported that a great corporate gift would make them much more likely to stay with their current employer, while only 32% reported that it would have no impact on their tenure. With such a tight labor market, employers should make delighting their employees with a great gift a priority or risk seeing increased turnover.

“This research shows what we’ve known for a long time at WeGift; the right gifts truly have an impact on employee satisfaction and productivity,” said Nat Salvione, vice president of sales at WeGift. “Employers mean well, but gift giving is difficult for anyone, and even more so when one gift is intended to make dozens, hundreds or even thousands of employees happy. Gift cards are an incredible gift because they give employees choice, and they then choose something joyful and memorable.”

In fact, gift cards came out on top in this survey as well. When asked to select which gifts they would “be happy to receive,” gift cards were the runaway winner at 80%. Cash (68%), food (51%), branded merchandise or clothing (48%) and a plant (37%) completed the top 5.

This survey reflects national trends. The National Retail Federation has found that gift cards have been the most-requested holiday gift for 15 years in a row.