iconimg Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Himani Chandna Gurtoo, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 16, 2013
The slowdown may be affecting companies' hiring plans, but not their Diwali budgets.

With a view to retaining talent and strengthen relations with existing clients, many companies are actually raising the average price of gift vouchers and doling out bonuses in line with last year's.

"This year will be 'business as usual' for our corporate gifting and we shall not cut down on our gifting budgets," said Eric Braganza, president, Haier India. "Business insecurity in such tough times is the primary reason to engage more with your employees and associates."

So, while companies such as Haier, Videocon, Costa Coffee, PVR, Flipkart among many others are doling out similar bonuses compared to last year, those such as Infosys, Microsoft, Dr Reddy's, Tata Group are rewarding their employees with gift vouchers.

Infact, the average gifting price, this season, has moved up to Rs. 2,200 from Rs. 17,00 last year, say industry officials. "The demand for gift cards, within the range of Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,00,000 has gone up by 50% in the last one month," said Pratap TP, chief marketing officer at QwikCilver Solutions, which provides technology to create gift cards online, whose clients  include Titan, Reliance Brands and Shoppers Stop.

There is a fine print. The gifts and bonuses for employees are linked to performance.

"To boost employee morale, apart from Diwali bonus, we have planned to reward our staff with incentives on performance basis rather than the earlier, fixed percentage paying scheme," said Gautam Dutta, chief operating officer, PVR Ltd.