Employee Appreciation Gifts: Why They Matter and Ideas for Showing Gratitude

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.

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

In today's competitive work environment, employee appreciation has become more critical than ever. It is essential to retain talented employees, enhance their job satisfaction, and encourage productivity.

There are many different ways to show your appreciation without spending a lot of money.  This article is about giving them gifts but there are other ways as well.  So put on your thinking cap and start making a list of what you would make you 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.

Here are some 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.
  • 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 offer 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.But for those times, when you want to do something really special and have a gift delivered to them at the office or home, we have some unique gift ideas to choose from.

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 imporant -- 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.

Ideas for Employee Appreciation Gifts

Choosing the right employee appreciation gift can be challenging, but it is essential to select something that is thoughtful and reflects the employee's interests and preferences. Here are some ideas for employee appreciation gifts:

  1. Personalized items: Personalized items are a great way to show your employees that you appreciate them.  You can give them something that is unique to them, such as a personalized mug or a custom made piece of jewelry.  Other ideas include engraved pens, desk accessories, or even a personalized photo album.  These items can be made even more special if you have them customized with the employee's name, work anniversary, or a message of gratitude.
  2. Gift cards: Gift cards to a favorite restaurant, store, or online retailer can be a great way to show appreciation while allowing the employee to choose something they will enjoy.
  3. Technology gadgets: Technology gadgets such as smartwatches, wireless earbuds, or portable chargers can be a useful and practical gift for employees who are always on-the-go.
  4. Wellness items: Wellness items such as yoga mats, resistance bands, or a gift card to a spa can help employees take care of their physical and mental health, showing that the employer cares about their well-being.
  5. Company swag: Company-branded swag such as t-shirts, hats, or water bottles can be a fun and practical way to show appreciation and boost employee morale.
  6. 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.

In conclusion, employee appreciation gifts can have a significant impact on employee morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. Employers should consider giving these gifts at appropriate times throughout the year and choose thoughtful and unique gifts that reflect the employee's interests and preferences.

When employees feel appreciated and valued, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer and perform at their best.

Here are some suggested gift ideas for recognizing employees:

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