Employee Appreciation Gifts: Everything You Need To Know In 2021

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What are employee appreciation gifts?

Your employee has just done the impossible, and you're looking for ways to show your appreciation and recognize their extraordinary achievement. That search brought you to Google, and you just typed in 'how to recognize your stellar employee with a memorable employee appreciation gift'. Or maybe you wrote 'what is the best employee appreciation gift'. Either way, you're in the right place.

Your question is important. The employee appreciation gifts you choose for your employee will reflect your company's culture and level of employee engagement and might be instrumental in retaining that all-star employee when your competitor tries to lure him or her away with the promise of a new and better job.

An employee appreciation gift is simply a gift given to your employee to let them know they are valued and appreciated, and that their hard work and accomplishments are recognized. An employee appreciation gift can be anything from a car wash, to a coffee, to a fancy employee appreciation plaque for their wall.

Benefits of employee appreciation gifts

Employee appreciation gifts are important because employee engagement can mean the difference between success and failure. A Gallup employee poll revealed that only 32% of U.S. workers are actively engaged in their current jobs (with 17% actively disengaged).

What's more, the research shows that appreciated employees are more engaged than non-engaged ones, meaning employee appreciation gifts will not only increase engagement among unengaged employees, but employee appreciation gifts will boost your already engaged employees, as well.

Employee engagement is key to employee retention and employee satisfaction, and an employee who feels valued and appreciated is far more likely to stay with your company. This means that you get the most out of their work while they're still under your employ, instead of losing them.

So, what are the best employee appreciation gifts, and how do you give them?

To answer these questions, we'll provide employee appreciation gift examples, employee gift strategies for your business, employee appreciation gift ideas for extra special occasions, and employee appreciation gift statistics. We'll also give you some low-cost employee appreciation gift ideas to kick things off.

At the end of the post, we'll go over employee appreciation gift strategies and give you a few final tips for increasing engagement with corporate gifts.

Statistics on employee appreciation gifts

First, let's get some employee appreciation gift statistics out of the way:

Employee Engagement Statistics: 76% of employees say employee recognition is a good indicator for employee retention. 53% of employees believe they would stay longer with their current company if they felt appreciated more often by their employer. According to Harvard Business Review, employee happiness has been shown to raise productivity levels by 31%. And employee engagement employee engagement statistics show employee recognition programs are the number one way managers can build an engaged workforce.

Employee Appreciation Gift Statistics: 69% of employees prefer to receive gift cards as employee appreciation gift ideas. Other employee appreciation gift ideas employees prefer include candies, plaques or trophies, and a special lunch outing!

Employee appreciation gift strategies

Now that you've seen employee appreciation gift statistics, let's go over employee appreciation gift strategies. What are some employee appreciation gift strategies that will inspire your team, motivate them to do their best work, and increase employee engagement levels?

Employee appreciation gift strategies depend on the size of your team. If you have a small team, it's best to be very hands-on with employee appreciation gifts. Get to know each employee individually, and consider personalizing employee appreciation gifts. This goes back to employee engagement statistics where we are more engaged at work when we feel seen. Smaller teams are the most likely to appreciate personalized employee recognition since they feel more like individuals and less like cogs in a machine. Employee appreciation gift ideas should reflect this difference.

Small teams also appreciate employee recognition that is tailored to their needs. If one employee has been working on something for months, but another just joined the team last week, employee appreciation gift ideas should reflect their different contributions. If one employee is your go-to writer, then a gift card to a bookstore or Amazon could be in order.

Staff members with certain skills can benefit from a recognition gift that helps them develop and hone those skills. This is especially important in the tech industry, where new technologies and tools are constantly emerging and changing. For example, graphic designers who aren't familiar with Adobe Illustrator could benefit from employee appreciation gift ideas that help them learn the software, like a voucher for a tutorial.

Large companies with many employees need employee appreciation gift ideas that show appreciation from the company as a whole. These employee recognition programs should be well thought out and carefully planned, as they can be time-consuming and need to appeal to everyone. It's best if these employee appreciation gifts are somewhat generic so all team members can benefit from the employee appreciation gifts, but it's also important to make them specific enough so every employee feels valued.

Corporate gifting may be part of a recognition program and can happen once a year on National Employee Appreciation Day, but a thoughtful gift expressing gratitude is appropriate any other day of the year, as well.

Low-cost employee appreciation gifts ideas

Employee appreciation gift ideas don't have to cost a lot of money. Here are some ideas of low-cost employee gifts that shouldn't break the budget:

  1. Gift cards to a local coffee shop or local eatery are always appreciated, and they are infinitely customizable, making them a perfect gift. Hand out five-dollar coffee gift cards to all your office staff, or present an exceptional employee with a $100 gift certificate to the best steakhouse in town.
  2. Team lunch: This is another great employee appreciation gift idea. Employees work hard all week long, so why not take time on a Friday afternoon to bring in lunch for the team? You can serve pizza, sandwiches and pasta salads, or order in Chinese!
  3. T-shirts with staff appreciation message: This personalized gift is low cost but still widely popular, as it allows employees to commemorate their time together. You can find t-shirts at local stores, or make your own shirt online.
  4. Pens with company logo: Pens are a staple of the workplace, and can be a budget-friendly and useful appreciation gift. But don't go overboard; too many pens will make employees feel guilty for not using their gifts.
  5. Customized coffee mug: Here's a great gift that just might make it on your employees' breakfast table every morning, reminding them just what a cool job they have. A mug can also be included in a gift basket or gift set with coffee, tea, and hot cocoa.

Employee appreciation gift ideas for extra special occasions

But what about that extra-special employee who needs a special gift to congratulate them on his extraordinary achievement? In that scenario, a pen, t-shirt, or coffee shop gift card is just not going to cut it. Here are some employee appreciation gift ideas for extra special occasions that go beyond the norm.

Gift cards to a local spa: Spa employee appreciation gift ideas not only reward a job well done, but they can also serve as a day of relaxation and pampering that comes just when it's needed most.

iPads or tablets: For exceptional employee recognition, nothing beats an employee appreciation gift idea like the latest technology. iPads and tablets are well worth it as employee appreciation gift ideas that can help employees stay connected to work, even when they're not at their desks.

Trip to a resort: If you really want to show your employee how much you appreciate them, send them on a trip. Even if it's only for one night at a local hotel, employee appreciation gift ideas like this will go a long way toward improving employee morale.

Final tips on increasing engagement with employee appreciation gifts

Increasing engagement with employee appreciation gifts is easily possible with the right employee appreciation gift ideas. How can you make employee appreciation gifts work for your business?

Keep employee appreciation gifts personal: Don't give employee appreciation gift ideas that don't mean anything to the employee. Handwritten cards are always appreciated, and you can handwrite them for all employees - every employee is important!

Make employee appreciation gifts about more than just one employee: A lot of businesses give employee appreciation gift ideas on employee birthdays. Not only is this a great way to show employees that your business cares about them, but it can also serve as employee engagement strategies for increasing employee appreciation gifts. Just make sure you never miss a birthday!

Give employee recognition gifts more than once: It's not enough to give an employee appreciation gift idea one time; make sure you repeat employee appreciation gift ideas, like employee birthdays or Employee Appreciation Day, once a year. Your employee engagement will increase if you continue to use employee appreciation gift ideas.

Be flexible: Don't forget that employee appreciation gifts don't have to be tangible; feel free to get creative with employee recognition! Employee time off instead of employee gifts is a great employee appreciation gift idea. You can also give employee appreciation gifts like employee breakfast or lunch for extra employee engagement points.

Remember, employee appreciation gifts are not a stand-alone employee recognition program. Use them in conjunction with other ways of showing appreciation, like employee appreciation messages or regular feedback using apps like Matter. Building a team culture of positive affirmation, appreciation, and constructive feedback may not be easy, but it is worth it!

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‌Cover Photo by
Clint Hess for Siege Media
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