For every job seeker that’s delighted by the multiple offers they can now pick and choose from, there’s an HR recruiter that’s feeling the pressures of securing top talent in today’s market. Similarly, as the supply and demand of labor shifts in favor of employees, People Ops teams are also taking a closer look at their retention strategies and employee development programs. Turns out that all employees are indeed essential workers if a company intends to grow and thrive. Employers are reevaluating what they can offer their employees and are in need of finding creative ways to attract and retain them.

All of this comes at a time when businesses are deciding whether to continue remote work policies, bring employees back to the office, or embrace a hybrid model long term. That’s a lot of “new normal”s to navigate.

Each employee will have their own checklist in terms of job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and company culture that they’ll be using to evaluate various opportunities. No doubt these are the major factors to invest time and money in to get right. That said, it’s becoming more and more common for companies to utilize branded swag at key moments to appeal to prospective and current employees. In an age of remote overload, there’s an increasing desire for the personable, the thoughtful, and the tangible.

Let’s dive into the when and why of using swag to deliver on your HR team’s goals for recruiting, onboarding, and retention.

1. Use swag to create an intentional and unique candidate experience during the interview process.

Ready to make an offer to a candidate? Chances are you’re not the only one. The new employee welcome kit (which we’ll discuss next) is becoming a standard practice, but this swag surprise is delivered a step sooner.

When you’re ready to make an offer, why not send along the offer letter accompanied by some celebratory swag? You will immediately stand out from other employers and help that candidate further envision what joining your team will look and feel like.

Completing the interview process requires an investment from both sides. By delivering swag at this stage, companies can express gratitude to the candidate for the time and energy they’ve given thus far. It also creates additional goodwill and gives a preview of the type of care that potential employees can expect.

Lastly – though we really hate to see it – recruiters have been taking to LinkedIn to vent their frustrations as they’ve seen an uptick in candidates ghosting companies. During the couple weeks between accepting the offer and actually starting a new role, there’s still time for candidates to back out and choose a different direction. It’s crucial to keep up communication with new employees from the offer stage all the way through their start date. Follow-ups with what to expect during their first week, an introduction to the team, and some well-timed swag can all serve to build further connections and solidify a candidate’s decision.

2. Use swag to enhance new employee onboarding.

Once you’ve worked hard to get a new employee hired, it’s time to set them up for success from day one. Onboarding should be more than just processes and paperwork – it needs to reinforce your company culture, define clear expectations, and lay the groundwork for effective two-way communication. It’s such an important stage that 69% of employees agree that they’re more likely to stay with a company after a great onboarding experience.

Onboarding is yet another occasion that can be elevated through the use of swag. With Printfection’s Kitting feature, swag kits can be customized based on your budget, brand, and team member’s preferences. Need something low cost or want to go all out? Our team is happy to work within a wide range of price points. Interested in finding unique items that align with your brand or industry? We can make product recommendations to help you get started. Want your employee to be able to pick their apparel sizing or choose from a variety of items? Our Giveaway feature makes that easy too.

One of our customers at Zendesk, Jordan McAllister, said, “Onboarding is so much more of a joy when you give new hires some kind of swag. It just gets them excited to join the company and rock the logo.”

For more on how to build a new employee welcome kit, check out our post here, where we provide suggestions on what swag to include along with customer kit examples.

3. Use swag to recognize and retain employees.

Company leaders and HR managers should always have a pulse on overall employee morale given its effects on productivity and turnover. In addition to team building events or company outings, swag can be a versatile tool for keeping employees engaged and for showing genuine appreciation for both who they are and the work they provide.

We encourage companies to outline which employee milestones they want to recognize when planning out their yearly swag calendar. Giving the gift of swag is a thoughtful way to reward performance, recognize employee anniversaries or promotions, and celebrate exciting life events.

Not only does swag amplify a culture of appreciation, it also gives employees a sense of ownership and fosters further brand advocacy. When employees know they are prioritized and valued, they will proudly display their company swag in a way that promotes the brand to their personal and professional networks.

How to deliver swag at these strategic touch points

With HR and People Ops teams investing more of their resources into recruiting and onboarding, they need a straightforward solution to swag. Printfection is a full service, end-to-end swag management and fulfillment platform that scales and automates the process of sourcing, printing, storing, managing, and distributing company swag. We help customers brand thousands of really creative items and strategically ship that swag anywhere in the world through their existing tech stack. Customers like Drift, HubSpot, Zendesk, and Zapier use us to easily ship swag to employees, leads, customers, and events.

Brent Holst, our customer at Gusto, shared how Printfection has transformed their approach to employee swag. “We are solving the hassle of reaching out to teammates to order them swag. I love the automated system where employees are sent a link to order swag independently. It saves our team a ton of time!”

If you are interested in how Printfection can help you level up your swag strategy for recruiting, employee retention, or any other company goals, contact us to learn more and set up a demo today. One of our swag experts will be in touch soon to discuss your vision and answer any questions.