Above the kitchen door in the house where I grew up hangs a hand-carved plaque: "Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated." This quote is from Horace Jackson Brown Jr., who wrote Life's Little Instruction Book.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home where I always felt appreciated, and for the past three years, I've worked for a company where appreciation is a core value.
Recently, two former colleagues launched MoMa - Moments that Matter. It's a platform for team leaders, managers, and others to show on-demand appreciation.
What does MoMa get right?
We all have dozens of water bottles, heaps of T-shirts, and boxes of corporate doodads sitting around at home. Do we really feel appreciated when we get these coffee mugs, caps, or bags?
No, I didn't think so.
They feel cheap and are often covered in corporate branding, leaving you thinking, "Hey, is this a gift or an indirect request to be a walking billboard?"
MoMa allows you to find a gift for your employee or colleague based on what you think they'll like, send it to them digitally and give them the ability to pick from options like the color and size of the gift or even if they would enjoy it or not. If they don't like it, they can trade it for something they would rather have on the same budget.
No more branded coffee mugs sitting around at home.
Why not just give cash?
If you ask an economist what the best gift is, they would say cash. But cash feels cold. Economists say giving cash guarantees that the recipient can get the item they want, reducing the deadweight loss of value between the amount spent on something and the amount it is actually worth.
However, cash has no emotion and thus shows little empathy for your employees. You also risk the question: "Why didn't I get more?" Now, you might think that a gift card gives the recipient choice. Does it really, though? No, it ties the recipient into buying something from a store and often limits choice.
The idea of MoMa is to bridge the gap between cash, gift cards, and physical gifts. It allows you to find a gift that you believe the person will want and appreciate while giving them the ability to exchange it without you knowing. Ultimately, they can get what they want if the initial gift did not ring their bell.
How do you personalize it?
We might not all know our employees and colleagues as well as we wish we did. But when you feel the need to give a gift, you want to say thank you, and for that, you should take a few minutes to reflect on what you are thankful for.
MoMa makes selecting the gift easy, so you can spend time crafting your message. Tell the person why you appreciate them. MoMa allows you to write a personal message and express your gratitude. The note, a small and free gesture, will most likely be appreciated more than any gift you can give.
How will MoMa grow?
Switzerland's corporate gift market is estimated to shoot well above the current yearly spending of 932 million francs. While MoMa is just starting, they've already got brands like Victorinox, Stadler Form, and The Tiny Factory.
They plan to grow in Switzerland with local brands, expand into the European market with other market-specific brands, and incorporate experiences and donations to worthy causes.
If you're looking for a convenient way of showing your appreciation for colleagues and employees for the upcoming holiday season, give MoMa a try. It's easier than going to the shops and guaranteed to bring more joy than a branded flask.
Just remember to spend some time writing a personal card.