Business Gifting

Employee Appreciation Gifts Guide

What is the $10,000 Question for Employers?

The  $10,000 Question is. . .

Do you know what employees desire the most?
More Money?
More Vacation Time?
A Shorter Work Day?

If that's your three guesses, you're wrong!

In survey after survey, employees have answered "APPRECIATION."

And, yet, that is what many employers fail to give those to keep their work places running so smoothly.

Employees are valuable assets to any business.  Just as everyone else in the world, the key to keeping them happy and satisfied is to make sure that they know they are appreciated.  A person who feels appreciated will do more than what is expected.

In one employee survey, it was reported that:

  • Nearly 45 percent of employees believe their value at a company is reflected by the gifts they receive; however more than one in three people have never received a gift from their supervisor.

It's like a variation of  the Golden Rule:  Do Unto your employees as you would like them to do unto you.

Research shows that it takes four times the cost to search, hire, train and motivate a new employee than to keep an existing one. So, why do some companies have a very high employee turnover rate and others continue to enjoy a contented staff with many years of service committed to the firm?

Perhaps these companies know how to spell appreciation with a capital "A".

There are many different ways to achieve this without spending a lot of money.  So put on your thinking cap and start making a list of what would make you feel appreciated as an employee.  Create a plan just as you created your marketing plan for your company and follow it, adjusting it along the way.  The rewards will be enormous.

It's important to choose something that is both meaningful and practical. Consider the interests and needs of your employees, and try to find a gift that aligns with their preferences. From personalized mugs to motivational books, there are plenty of options to choose from that will make your employees feel valued and appreciated.

Remember, employee appreciation doesn't have to be limited to gifts. Simple gestures like a handwritten thank you note or a public shout-out can go a long way in boosting employee happiness and morale. By showing your team that you care about their well-being and success, you'll create a positive work environment that benefits everyone.

Employee Appreciation Gifts - The Ultimate Guide

Show Rather Than Tell

A commitment on the part of management to "show rather than tell" their employees how much their services are valued should be a year-round event rather than a one-day "employee-appreciation day" occasion. It doesn't take a lot of time or even much money to establish a smoothly-operating Employee Appreciation Program.

The most successful programs are the simplest to set-up and operate while surprising the employees on special occasions and rewarding accomplishments throughout the year. The direct benefit to the employer is a noticeable increase in company morale, employee productivity and retention of valued personnel.

Budget-Friendly Employee Appreciation Gifts

Showing appreciation to your employees doesn't have to break the bank. There are plenty of budget-friendly employee appreciation gifts that you can offer to show your team members that you value their hard work and dedication.  There are even some ways that don't have to cost you money. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Words go a long way.  Tell them "Thank You" on a regular basis or write them a note or give them a card telling them how much you appreciate them.  You could even include a gift card for their favorite coffee shop.

  • Celebrate Milestones.  Have a monthly party during an afternoon coffee break to celebrate the employees who had birthdays or work anniversaries during the month.  A cake from your local bakery, party hats and blowers from the party or dollar store, congratulations themed plates and napkins all add to the festivities without a big expense.  Or vary it with a "Make Your Own Sundae" bar or have pizza delivered.

  • Establish a company program that encourages employees to recognize each other when someone does something special.  You could have a special box in the break room where employees can drop a note telling how someone did something special for them or for someone else.  They could either sign the note or do it anonymously.

  • Keep the break room supplied with treats, bottled water, coffees and teas.  Add a sign that says something like "These are on the house because we appreciate you and what you do to make our company great."

  • Give them an extra paid day off when they do something that you really appreciate.  Even something as simple as offering flexibility in their work day so that they don't have to use vacation or sick days for an eye appointment or to pick up the kids and drop them off for their extracurricular activities will make them feel appreciated.

  • Don't forget their kids.  When I was a kid, my dad's company had a Christmas party for the employees and their children and presented each child with a stocking that included candy and a $1 bill.  I thought that was wonderful and so did my Dad.  On Labor Day, the company held a Labor Day picnic with a barbecue and games.  That was many, many years ago and I still remember those times.

  • Do something special in the office for those holidays that aren't official days off.  How about something to salute the veterans in your office on Veteran's Day?  Bring in a St Patrick's Day treat  (how about green mint ice cream) for everyone to enjoy.  Never forget Employee Appreciation Day.  Make it special.  Valentine's Day is perfect for letting them know that "We Love Our Employees."

  • For each employee, and make sure you do it for new employees when they arrive, pass out a form for them to tell you a bit about themselves - birthday, number and age of kids, favorite non-alcoholic beverage, favorite sweets, etc.  Then use that information when creating ways to say Thank You.  If you have a particularly creative person in your office, assign them the job of creating gifts and treats when needed.  It could be a fun coffee cup with a package of coffee, a box of candy or a box of donuts wrapped in colorful wrapping paper.  I'm sure you can think of many other ideas as well.

  • Another budget-friendly option is to create a gift box for your employees.  Include practical items such as office supplies as well as snacks, perhaps something unique and fun, and even company-branded merchandise.  This type of gift can be customized to fit within your budget.

  • And don't forget DIY gifts.  This can be something as simple as homemade cookies or a personalized thank you card. One Christmas when I was on the City Council in Yreka, California, I baked lots and lots of cookies and created platters of cookies along with a thank you note for each department in the city.  If you are considering doing something similar and have lots of employees or departments, you could bake throughout the year and store the cookies or candies or whatever in the freezer until the holiday season.

  • Public Recognition:  Although not a gift, recognizing them and their work in public is a great way to show how much you appreciate them.  This could include highlighting their accomplishments in a company-wide email or newsletter, or even giving a shout-out during a company meeting.  Make sure that you acknowledge their specific contributions and how they have helped the company.

These gifts can range from small tokens of appreciation to more significant rewards, depending on the budget and the size of your company.  Just the fact that you are recognizing the employee with a gift will go a long way towards improving employee morale and loyalty.

Choosing what to give as gifts to your employees can be challenging because it can be very easy to cross the line between professional and personal. The finest gifts are thoughtful but not overly personal, which is a balance that’s sometimes hard to hit. And even when you’ve found a perfect present, you still need to keep a few things in mind when presenting it.

For example, if you are the boss and you are giving presents to your staff, be careful not to leave anyone out. Or, if you’re doing a gift exchange, make sure it’s always voluntary.

In this article, we will explore why these gifts matter, when to give them, and provide some ideas for gifts. Whether you are a small business owner or a manager of a large corporation, these ideas can help you create a positive work environment for your employees.

Why employee appreciation gifts matter

Employee appreciation gifts can significantly impact employee morale and job satisfaction. When employees feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer, feel motivated to perform well, and have a positive attitude towards their work.  They show that  their hard work and dedication are recognized and valued by you -- their employer.

Boosts Employee Morale

Employee morale is a crucial aspect of any business.  Without it, productivity, job satisfaction, and even working with other employees will suffer.  When employees feel appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated to do a better job for you.  Sure, you can give them a good job performance result, tell them you appreciate them -- both of which are very important -- but a gift, that is chosen for them to show your appreciation, can speak louder than words.

Increases Employee Retention

High employee turnover can be costly and disruptive to a business.  When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to stay with a company for the long term.

When to give employee appreciation gifts

Employee appreciation gifts can be given at any time throughout the year, but certain occasions may be more appropriate than others. For example, holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are popular times to give employee appreciation gifts. Other occasions may include employee birthdays, work anniversaries, and after completing a significant project or achieving a particular goal. Employers may also choose to give employee appreciation gifts randomly to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Welcome a new employee

It’s not a small thing when a new employee joins your company. For them, it’s the beginning of a new chapter of their professional career. For you, it’s a new addition to the team; fresh blood that brings new potential to increase profits with their bright ideas.  They become an advocate of your company identity.

The onboarding process can feel overwhelming for new employees, so welcome gifts can be an excellent opportunity to make them feel comfortable in the new environment. Starting out at a new company can feel a lot like the first day of school. Thus, you need something that will show your workplace vibe. It will allow new additions to your company to become accustomed to your company culture faster. So what better way to mark the occasion and start the cooperation on the right note than with a gift?  Read some tips and ideas for welcome gifts for new employees.

Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Before you start buying gifts for all your employees on every work anniversary, you should make a plan. Celebrating your employees' work anniversaries every year might be too expensive for your company budget. Other big events may deserve celebrating throughout the year as well.

For example, if one of your employees closes an important business deal, you should consider rewarding them with something.

Therefore, to avoid overspending, you should determine which work anniversaries you want to celebrate. For example, the 1st anniversary is significant because it will make your employees feel special and incentivize them to stay on longer. Afterwards, you can celebrate the third and fifth-year anniversaries, as they represent important milestones. You can then celebrate every five years to show gratitude to senior employees.
You should also plan your gift budget accordingly. For example, you can't get someone who has been working for you for one year the same gift as you get for someone who has been working there for ten years. If you do this, the senior employee won't feel appreciated or motivated. This doesn't mean you have to spend a lot for the senior employee.  Just get them something unique.  Here are some ideas for Employee Work Anniversary Gifts

Saying Farewell When They Leave Your Company

Goodbyes are never easy, especially when it comes to saying farewell to valued members of your team. Whether they’re leaving to pursue new opportunities, retiring, or relocating, it’s important to show departing employees that they will be missed and that their contributions to the company will be remembered.

One way to do this is by giving a thoughtful farewell gift that expresses your appreciation and gratitude for their hard work and dedication.

Giving employees a going-away gift demonstrates how much you appreciate the time and work they’ve given to your company.  In addition, perhaps without intending to do so, you are increasing the morale of your remaining employees as they see that you respect and value a departing one.  Employees value benefits such as a salary increase, a longer vacation, and shorter work hours.  But research has shown is that what employees value the most is appreciation.

Incorporating Employee Appreciation Gifts into Recognition Programs

Employee appreciation gifts are a great way to boost morale and show your employees that you value their hard work. But how do you incorporate these gifts into your recognition programs? Here are a few tips:

1. Tie Gifts to Specific Achievements

One way to incorporate employee appreciation gifts into your recognition programs is to tie them to specific achievements. For example, you could give an employee a gift (which could be something as simple as a gift card for a local restaurant or coffee bar)  for hitting a sales target, completing a project on time, or going above and beyond in their job duties. This not only shows the employee that you appreciate their hard work, but it also reinforces the behavior you want to see more of.

2. Use Gifts as Part of Employee of the Month Awards

Another way to incorporate employee appreciation gifts into your recognition programs is to use them as part of an Employee of the Month award. In addition to receiving recognition for their hard work, the Employee of the Month could also receive a gift as a token of appreciation. This can help motivate other employees to work harder and strive for the same recognition.

3. Make Gifts Part of Onboarding and Inboarding

How you welcome new hires to the team sets the stage for their entire experience with your company. Incorporating small gifts into your onboarding process is a small, but meaningful way to build an immediate connection with new employees. You could also use gifts as part of inboarding, which is the process of integrating existing employees into new roles or departments. This can help employees feel valued and supported as they transition into their new roles.

4. Offer Company-Branded Swag

Giving company-branded swag as an employee appreciation gift is a great way to show a team member you are grateful for their hard work, while simultaneously bolstering team spirit. Don't hesitate to get creative when it comes to the items you can customize with your company's branding. Examples include custom t-shirts, water bottles, coffee mugs, and more.

I still have and use (even though faded) a tee-shirt and ball cap, imprinted with the company logo, that were given to me many years ago when I was a Realtor with Prudential Excel Properties.

By incorporating employee appreciation gifts into your recognition programs, you can boost employee morale and show your team members that you value their hard work. Whether you tie gifts to specific achievements, use them as part of Employee of the Month awards, make them part of onboarding and inboarding, or offer company-branded swag, your employees will appreciate the gesture and feel more motivated to continue working hard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some unique gifts to show employee appreciation?

When it comes to unique gifts to show employee appreciation, there are many options to choose from. Consider personalized gifts, such as custom mugs or engraved pens, or experiential gifts, such as tickets to a concert or a spa day. Another option is to give a gift that aligns with the employee's interests or hobbies, such as a book or a gift card to a favorite store.

How can I personalize employee appreciation gifts?

Personalizing employee appreciation gifts can make them even more meaningful. Consider adding the employee's name or initials to the gift, or including a handwritten note expressing your appreciation for their hard work. You can also tailor the gift to the employee's preferences or interests, such as selecting a gift in their favorite color or with a design that reflects their personality.

What are some budget-friendly employee appreciation gift ideas?

Showing employee appreciation doesn't have to break the bank. Consider small but thoughtful gifts, such as a handwritten note, a gift card to a coffee shop, or a plant for their workspace. You can also organize a team lunch or happy hour to celebrate accomplishments and show appreciation.

How often should I give employee appreciation gifts?

There is no set frequency for giving employee appreciation gifts, but it's important to make sure that recognition is given consistently and fairly. Consider recognizing employees for specific accomplishments or milestones, or celebrating team successes with a group gift or outing. Regular recognition can help boost morale and increase employee engagement.

What are some virtual employee appreciation gift ideas?

In a remote or virtual work environment, it can be challenging to show appreciation in traditional ways. Consider virtual gift cards or e-gifts, such as subscriptions to streaming services or online shopping credits. You can also organize virtual team events, such as game nights or online cooking classes, to show appreciation and build team morale.

For some thoughtful Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas 

For some more ideas for showing your appreciation for your employees, see these articles:

Best Work Anniversary Gifts for Employees

Ways to Reward Remote Employees

Welcome Gifts for New Employees

Farewell Gift Ideas for Departing Employees

Unique Employee Appreciation Gifts

Business Gift Giving

Business Gift Giving Mistakes to Avoid


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