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Ep 10: What’s in a gift? Understanding the ROI behind employee rewards and recognition

When does an employee gift transform to measurable impact? How can gifts be used to reinforce company values? What Gifted company value was created from life-changing advice?

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This episode is sponsored by Gifted. Want an easier way to show your team appreciation?

👉 Visit gifted.co to learn more.

Meet Micha Berkuz, CEO of Gifted

Follow Micha on LinkedIn

Micha is one of the world’s foremost leaders in the gifting industry. With a programming background and passion for business he was a founder of Buy Me, back in 2008. Having only raised $180,000, Micha and team grew Buy Me to the largest B2C and B2B gifting and employee recognition platform in Israel with annual revenue of $150 million.

Micha has since exited Buy Me and moved to San Francisco to focus on Gifted.co and enhancing the rewards and recognition programs for HR departments everywhere.


Gifted is a e-gifting platform that centralizes all your employee recognition requirements, easing the load on HR departments. With Gifted, appreciation is just a click away.

Learn more at gifted.co

Episode Highlights

You told us about some advice that changed your life and how you do business. What was that advice?

Micha Berkuz: There was an article that I read about Mark Cuban from Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. And they asked him a really interesting question, “What is the most important quality for a person that is working for you?” Most people would say they love people who are smart, driven, or loyal. Mark Cuban said, “The only thing that interests me is people who take pressure off. A person that takes the pressure off me becomes invaluable.” My mind was blown and I went back to my team and I spoke to my VP of R&D and asked him, “Can you divide the team to the people who are adding pressure and the ones who are relieving pressure?” And he came back a day later saying, “Wow, this is unbelievable. I know exactly who the strong players are. I know exactly who I have to work with. The idea of relieving pressure seemed to fit into every level of management.

How has that advice become integrated into Gifted’s business operations?

Micha Berkuz: We were so impressed by this advice that we turned it into one of our corporate values. It became a goal to relieve pressure between every working relationship. My engineering team knows that they have to keep the platform stable because that relieves pressure from our customer success team dealing with potential bugs and issues. Our marketing teams know that if they do a great job, that relieves pressure on the sales team as they will have an amazing pipeline they can work with. Relieving pressure translated into every aspect of our company. It was fascinating to see how something so small can have such a profound impact on the way that our company operates.

Matt Vance: I can totally picture an HR manager doing the same exercise that you mentioned about reviewing a list of team members, but using it to evaluate their investments: the tools they use, the products and services that they purchase and separating the ones that relieve pressure and add pressure. If you have vendors or tools or products that are making your life more complicated and they're more difficult to manage, then it makes sense to cut them out and reinvest in ones that are relieving pressure on your life.

Why is it important for companies to have a rewards and recognition program in place?

Micha Berkuz: Our approach with rewards and recognition is not necessarily about changing a company’s culture, but being that sidekick that helps them increase those touch points during the year that keep employees feeling engaged. For example, enabling managers to have a budget that they can use to recognize their team members creates a higher level of satisfaction and retention. No company is going to shut down because they're not gifting enough. But if we can be the ones who relieve pressure from our clients to help leaders and employees feel appreciated, it ties back to our value in serving a client.

How can having a strategic rewards and recognition program as part of your culture strategy drive greater profits?

Micha Berkuz: Generally, recognition = more satisfaction = retention = less turnover/more money to the company. But recognition specifically can be one of the hardest things to directly quantify. If you invest X number of dollars into recognition, you don't necessarily see that immediate return. That’s why we added a thank you feature where the receiver can respond. We even created an Export option that allows you to take all the thank you comments received on the platform and share them with leadership which shows the impact that was made and may go unseen. Reading these comments makes it super easy to communicate to companies about the impact that this program specifically had on the individual.

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