Finding the right employee appreciation gifts can be a daunting task. They must be meaningful, useful or just plain cool – while showing gratitude and expressing that you value their efforts and dedication.
With only 42% of employees satisfied with the perks and recognition provided by their companies, it’s a worthwhile opportunity to reward your team in a meaningful way with the help of these employee recognition ideas.
But how do you choose employee appreciation gifts they will genuinely love?
Here are some ideas to assist you in selecting employee appreciation gifts they are sure to appreciate.
Examples of great employee recognition gift ideas
What makes a great employee appreciation gift? In general, true recognition gifts are higher-ticket than typical holiday, birthday, onboarding or company-wide celebration gifts. Pricier rewards show recognition for high achievement or years of service within your employee recognition gifting program. But be mindful that such gifts won’t remain a secret. Co-workers talk (even when they work remote). High ticket items can motivate employees to work toward the same recognition, but can also cause disappointment or feelings of unfairness if not everyone receives them.
We’ve features some of our most prestigious employee recognition gift ideas – but if you’re looking for lower-ticket options, we have even more ideas for you below.
Price: From $1315
This stainless steel fire pit is a stylish way to enjoy outdoor cooking. This durable piece of equipment will provide warm, generous flames for years to come and make an ideal gift for anyone who appreciates outdoor adventures.
Price: From $1199
Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts on the go, The Beach LT provides stress-free, relaxed paddling. This simple-to-setup kayak kit features a cool print inspired by sand ripples and boasts a steady shape and large cockpit. It's perfect for beginners who still want some speed and manoeuvrability when out on the water.
Price: From $680
Whether you're camping, hiking, a foodie, or even a sports fan, coolers make thoughtful gifts. Why not give your best employees something top-notch as well? The Pelican Elite wheeled cooler is the peak of quality and strength, exceeding all other ice boxes or coolers. Each cooler is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Price: From $599
Would wouldn’t love an Apple iPad Mini, personalized with your logo and gift-wrapped with your custom packaging?
It packs the same features as a full-size iPad into one easy-to-hold device - 64GB storage and WiFi connectivity. Plus it comes equipped with Touch ID on its top button for added convenience.
Price: From $589
This is the perfect gift for productive team members who deserve a break from housework. This powerful robot vacuum has 10x the suction power of other models and features advanced intelligence to avoid obstacles like cords and pet messes.
It even adjusts its cleaning schedule based on when you're home or times of the year when more cleaning is necessary. Trust it to get the job done, so you don't have to.
Price: From $487
For those who need to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily life or want amazing sound quality, the Bose QuietComfort 45 Bluetooth headphones are the ideal gift.
When you put them on, you will be immersed in a world of comfort thanks to their soft cushions. This is a true icon reborn with its stunningly lightweight material and excellent noise-canceling capabilities.
Price: From $537
Giving your employees an I.N.O.X Watch is a sophisticated way to show your appreciation. This watch is designed for any environment, from the office to the outdoors. Plus, its exclusive design will give them a sense of achievement every time they check the time, day or night.
Price: From $295
Self-care products are one of the trending corporate gift categories of 2023. Show your appreciation for the fitness-focused employee in your team by gifting them the Therabody Theragun Prime. This tool is designed to provide powerful, effective deep muscle treatment with simplified features that prioritize essential needs.
With this device, they can relieve discomfort, loosen tightness and tension, and recover quickly from their workouts.
Price: From $180
A smart mug is a thoughtful workplace gift that can keep drinks hot for extended periods in a sleek package. With this gift, they will be able to monitor and adjust their beverage's temperature so they can stay warm and focused on whatever they do.
Also, this shows consideration while also being a functional piece of tech that your team is sure to use every day.
Price: From $294
For the well-deserving Apple-loving member of your team, why not surprise them with a pair of AirPods? They're small and convenient to use, plus they provide excellent sound quality. This makes for an ideal present that will be cherished by the recipient for years to come.
Price: From $170
This premium jacket features contoured baffles to fit the shape of the wearer and is constructed with ThermoBall synthetic insulation that compresses easily. It retains warmth even when wet, ensuring your team will stay warm in any weather.
Price: From $352
This Connex carry-on luggage is designed for both looks and practicality with its integrated multi-tool. It's streamlined, durable, and stylish, ensuring the frequent traveler you give this gift to can have a worry-free trip, whether it's by themselves or with their family. With this suitcase, they can keep both their belongings and memories safe.
Price: From $117
Are you looking to gift for a golfer on your team? While golfers are constantly experimenting with the latest drivers and putters, sometimes a golf bag can just make the perfect present. This personalized gift will enable them to keep track of their golfing experience and constantly remember your thoughtfulness.
Price: From $341
Enjoy powerful audio quality with Dolby Digital and deep bass, as well as wireless convenience when setting up your system. The JBL Bar 2.1 will give any room a cutting-edge sound experience - it's the ideal gift for employees who love awesome sound!
Other non-branded employee recognition gift ideas
Perhaps something more personal would be more appropriate? Employees can receive a more genuine gift-giving experience when they receive non-branded gifts, which act as tangible reminders of their accomplishments that extend beyond the placement of a corporate logo.
Here are some worth picking up for promoting a healthy working relationship with employees you have a personal connection to.
This calls for celebration. Gifting champagne conveys a sense of luxury, recognition, and celebration. The gesture will be meaningful to the recipient and show them that their contribution is appreciated.
Champagne has long been associated with success and special occasions, so giving such a luxurious gift shows that you are willing to go above and beyond for your employees.
With these kits, your team can create their own custom beers and wines, allowing them to express themselves in the process of creating something delicious. Plus, it's a great conversation starter!
Not only will this give them something to do in their off time, but it also provides an opportunity for team bonding when they get together to share the fruits of their labor. It's a fun way to reward hard-working employees while providing some quality time together.
High-tech gifts are becoming increasingly popular due to the convenience and functionality they provide. Not only do these gadgets make life easier, but they can also help boost morale and productivity in the workplace.
By investing in high-tech gifts for your employee appreciation programs, you demonstrate to your employees that you understand the modern workplace.
Backpacks are both practical and thoughtful gifts that can be used in the workplace or while traveling, making them a useful option for any employee.
High-end backpacks also provide a more luxurious feel compared to basic everyday bags, and they often come with special features like additional pockets, padded laptop compartments, ergonomic straps, and other helpful details designed to make life easier on the go.
Also, when you give something of such quality, it shows your staff that you care about their needs and appreciate the effort they put in. This type of gift is sure to be a hit, both now and for a long time in the future as well.
What about something special for the home? Not only does home decor serve as a small gesture of appreciation, but it also serves as a lasting token of recognition that will remain with recipients for a lifetime.
Moreover, home decor gifts often have a sentimental value associated with them, which adds another layer of meaning to the gift-giving experience – making it truly memorable.
- What are employee appreciation gifts?
- Why give employee appreciation gifts?
- What are the pros and cons of employee appreciation gifts?
- How to choose an employee appreciation gift
- How to present an employee appreciation gift
- Publicizing employee appreciation gifts and when to do so
- How managed corporate gift selection and purchasing can benefit your employee gifting program
What are employee appreciation gifts?
Employee appreciation gifts are a thoughtful way to let your employees know that you value their hard work for the company.
These often take the form of employee appreciation programs that serve the same purpose: to recognize and reward employees. By recognizing employees’ efforts, companies can increase employee engagement, build morale and loyalty, reduce turnover rates, and create a positive workplace environment.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when selecting employee appreciation gifts, you should consider the specific needs of your team before choosing a reward that will make them feel valued.
Why give employee appreciation gifts?
Providing gifts as tokens of appreciation can help motivate employees to be more productive in their roles and ultimately create a positive working environment.
Here are some key reasons why they are such a successful company-pleasing strategy:
To reduce employee turnover
It costs significantly more to hire and train new employees than it does to recognize and reward existing ones. By investing in their current workforce, companies can ensure that they have a loyal group of workers who are invested in their company’s success.
These types of incentives also serve as a form of motivation for those who may not be performing up to par. The thought that they could earn something special if they put in extra effort or meet certain goals can act as a powerful motivator for employees.
As part of a broader company strategy
When utilized as a part of a company-wide strategy, employee appreciation gifts can help build morale in the workplace.
This increased morale leads to higher productivity and better job performance from employees, which then translates into greater success for the organization as a whole. Ultimately, employee appreciation programs demonstrate that companies understand how significant it is to reward their team members.
For marking milestones
Employee appreciation gifts may be presented on special occasions or in celebration of milestones, such as work anniversaries, the achievement of a personal goal, or the completion of a challenging project.
The purpose of this initiative is not only to recognize the achievement itself - it is also about expressing gratitude for their contributions to the ongoing success of the organization. It is a gesture of appreciation that shows management values the team members' efforts and encourages them to continue putting in their best performance.
To foster team collaboration
By recognizing employees, employers build loyalty among their teams and show that they value and appreciate what each person brings to the table. Employee appreciation gifts help foster an environment of respect, trust, collaboration, motivation, and ultimately success.
This benefits not only the company but also each team member as they feel better about their contributions and successes. The team as a whole feels appreciated and can work together more efficiently to achieve greater results.
What are the pros and cons of employee appreciation gifts
When done right, employee appreciation gifts can work wonders for improving productivity in the workplace. While these gifts can be an effective tool for motivating teams, they also come with some potential drawbacks.
Pro: Motivates employees
Regardless of the type of reward, gifting programs serve a key purpose in motivating employees. Knowing that their work is being noticed and rewarded inspires employees to grow continuously and strive for excellence.
Pro: Makes employees feel appreciated
Gifts enable organizations to create a positive work environment where employees are respected, valued, and appreciated. Your small gestures of appreciation can pay off well and boost morale among your employees, increase job satisfaction, and encourage loyalty.
Pro: Fun and exciting to receive
Receiving an unexpected gift is always exciting. It serves as a reward for all the extra effort they put in throughout the year—from meeting deadlines to performing above and beyond what was expected of them.
Employee appreciation gifts don’t have to be expensive or elaborate either, as even small tokens of appreciation can make a big difference!
Con: Can be a 'taxable benefit'
Gifts to employees that are over $25 are usually seen as taxable fringe benefits, particularly in the US. This means that if an employer gives out a gift that fits the requirement, it is seen as an extra form of compensation and must be declared by the employee on their tax return to the IRS.
This may end up costing both the company and the employee significantly more in the long run. Due to this, careful gift planning that takes into account the financial implications is essential to avoid unexpected expenses.
Con: Easy to 'get it wrong'
Employee appreciation gifts can be tricky to get right because they can be personal. When selecting a gift, you want to make sure it is something your team will appreciate and find meaningful.
If you get it wrong, it could come off as insincere or even offensive if the recipient doesn't like your choice of present. Employee awards should be thoughtfully chosen to show the value you place on them.
How to choose an employee appreciation gift
Choosing the best employee gift can be a challenge. With so many options available, how do you select something that will make an impact?
These tips will assist you in narrowing down your options when selecting an employee appreciation gift that will make a statement without breaking the bank.
Choose the gift or let them choose
You can give your employees the freedom to choose their own appreciation gifts. You may consider this option if you wish to make your employees feel more appreciated by allowing them to choose something they need or want. Ask your team what type of gift would make them happy and present options that fit into that category.
Understand your recipient (if you're choosing)
When selecting an employee appreciation gift, it’s important to consider the particular recipient. Think about their interests, hobbies, or favorite activities - what do they enjoy doing in their free time? Do they have any special events coming up, like birthdays or anniversaries?
Taking into account these small details will help you create an impactful gift that resonates with the person on a deeper level.
Company swag is not always the right choice
Don’t get us wrong – company swag can make incredible, highly valued (and well used) employee appreciation gifts! But depending on your product choices and reason for gifting, company swag can seem impersonal and may not have the same motivational reward as non-branded or gifts that celebrate your recipient. You may choose instead to offer employee recognition “swag” that is personalized with their initials, name or other message, and acknowledge someone’s efforts beyond their job title or position within the company (with or without your corporate logo).
Taking the extra step of selecting a thoughtful gift shows that your employees are valued as individuals within your organization.
Avoid (potentially) offensive gifts
While alcohol or certain kinds of foods may seem like attractive options, they can be seen as insensitive to those who don't drink or have dietary restrictions. Similarly, gender-specific products may come across as biased towards one gender over the other and could be offensive to some employees.
To make sure it’s perceived positively by everyone in the office, consider thoughtful options that will be inclusive and respectful of all employees.
Examine your budget and perceived value
The quality and the relative price of your employee appreciation gift should match the occasion and communicate how appreciative you are of their efforts. If you have a limited budget, try to select something that will be meaningful or useful for the recipient.
No matter the cost, make sure that your gift sends a clear signal of your gratitude to them.
Gather valuable feedback on your employee recognition programs
A smart way to ensure you give appropriate employee appreciation gifts is to proactively collect anonymous feedback on what type of gift experience would best suit your employees. You will gain insight into the types of gifts that will make them feel valued and appreciated.
This will also help you avoid disappointment by ensuring that whatever gift you choose is well received. Keep the process as simple as possible and let your employees know that their opinions matter to you, such as through surveys, polls, and other online tools.
Consider offering them their choice of reward!
Employee recognition is truly an ongoing gifting program. The best way to ensure your gift hits the mark is to allow your valued employee to choose their favorite gift from a selection of options.
Consider sending a CorporateGift.com eGift Collection - simply pick your theme (for example, Employee Recognition and Service Gifts), choose your budget range and upload your recipient list. We can also help you set up your own custom employee recognition eGift offerings with products you choose.
You can also connect CorporateGift to your ERP system to automate eGift sends based on various triggers like work anniversaries, department sales goals, peer-to-peer recognition or other criteria.
Take bulk ordering into account
Corporate gifts often come with quantity discounts when ordering in bulk, and some require a minimum order quantity (especially when decorated with your logo or artwork). This poses some challenges for employee recognition programs as the gifting occasions typically happen at different times of the year for different recipients. Consider using eGifts to “drop ship” direct from CorporateGift.com’s thousands of marketplace sellers, only when a gift is offered and redeemed. No holding inventory in your office, or placing individual orders on recipients’ behalf every time.
If you do want to order in bulk, consider using a swag warehousing solution that can store your bulk order and ship on-demand, each time you offer an employee appreciation gift.
How to present an employee appreciation gift
Whether you’re giving out individual gifts or organizing a group celebration, there are many ways to make employees feel appreciated with thoughtful presents.
Learn how to present an employee appreciation gift in such a way that it will be meaningful and memorable for everyone involved.
- Classic desk drop - It's simple, meaningful, and doesn't require much effort. With this quick and creative gesture, you will be sure to make them smile instantly.
- Automate gifts - By integrating your ERP system with a sending platform, you can streamline the process of selecting and sending meaningful gifts on time. In this way, you can express your gratitude without having to choose each employee's gift or manually keep track of specific occasions.
- Use an eGifting solution - This is an innovative way to show appreciation and gratitude to your employees. It allows you to quickly and conveniently send a meaningful gift without having to worry about shopping or wrapping it up.
- Integrate with HR recognition software - This type of integration, from tools such as Bonusly, Kudos, and Applauz, allows employers to quickly and easily recognize employees for their hard work and dedication while also providing an easy way to track the effectiveness of each reward.
- Enable peer-to-peer gifting - Giving gifts directly from one employee to another allows coworkers to come together and recognize each other's accomplishments in a meaningful way.
By choosing the right gift and method of gift-giving, you can offer an efficient yet thoughtful method of recognizing your employees while saving costs and making your gifting program reliable for many years to come.
Publicizing employee appreciation gifts and when to do so
When publicizing employee appreciation gifts, it’s necessary to do so in an appropriate manner.
If possible, give recognition during company events such as holiday parties or major gatherings. This is a valuable opportunity for other members of the organization to join in on the celebration and recognize their colleagues for their accomplishments — making it more meaningful than just receiving an email from management about the award.
Although traditionally, a glass award would be presented, this trend is diminishing and becoming "dated" in the industry. Many recipients today prefer something more substantial versus swag or formal awards, and these gifts are often presented formally and publicly.
Companies may also announce recognition in live or virtual meetings, but the actual gift awards are presented privately. Others will disclose all awards to promote transparency and motivate other employees to reach the same level of success.
By publicly recognizing employees, companies can help motivate them to continue working hard and striving for excellence. Publicizing these rewards also sends a message to other employees, potential hires, and customers that the company values its team members' contributions.
How managed corporate gift selection and purchasing can benefit your employee gifting program
Employee appreciation gifting should not be a one-time event. It is an ongoing program that requires efficient tools to manage and automate the process, reducing manual labor as much as possible.
Using employee gifting management tools, such as CorporateGift.com, can help businesses simplify the process of giving gifts to their teams, improving efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
There are many challenges that employee gifting management tools can help you solve:
- Automate based on occasions or triggers by integrating with ERP
- Offer your employees their gift of choice with eGifting
- Build gifting campaigns for different recognition streams (ex. occasions, departments, locations)
- Digitally manage gift inventory and swag in a dedicated warehouse
- Self-serve personalization makes it easy to choose and ship gifts
- Keep track of all expenses and records in one place
- Allow multiple users, such as managers, to give gifts with specific budgets and rules (ex. no alcohol gifts or exceeding a certain budget)
- Measure effectiveness with reporting and analytics
On the whole, a managed corporate gift selection and purchasing procedure can help reduce labor and time costs associated with traditional methods of gift-giving while enhancing the experience for everyone by offering flexible gift options.
The right employee appreciation gifts can make all the difference in not only expressing your gratitude for their hard work but also boosting morale and fostering increased loyalty and productivity.
We hope the list we have provided has made employee gift-giving a lot easier for you. By taking the time to invest in thoughtful, creative gifts, employers can create an atmosphere of appreciation that will be sure to last long after the end of any given year.