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Employee Appreciation Gifts [2023 Complete Guide]

February 6, 2023
4 Min Read
Photo by
Clint Hess for Siege Media

‍Table of Contents:

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. Employee appreciation for large companies 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.

When to give employee appreciation gifts 

Creating a culture of appreciation and celebrating the contributions of your staff can lead to improved employee retention, satisfaction, and morale. Employee Appreciation Day is an important event for expressing gratitude to staff members for their hard work. An ideal way to show your staff how much you appreciate them would be with a thank-you gift. These can be presented in person or sent via mail, depending on the size of your organization or if any staff members are working remotely.

Another occasion when it is appropriate to give employee appreciation gifts is after a significant project completion. Acknowledging the efforts of team members who worked hard and helped make the project successful can be an effective way to boost morale and reinforce a culture of appreciation.

Finally, it is also essential to recognize and thank individual employees for their excellent work throughout the year as an ongoing expression of appreciation. This could include something as simple as sending a handwritten note or providing gift cards during special occasions. Whether in person or online, expressing gratitude to your team for their efforts is a great way to promote employee satisfaction and increase staff retention. By showing your appreciation for their hard work, you can create an overall positive atmosphere in the workplace.

5 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: These 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.

Employee appreciation gifts for birthdays 

Employee appreciation gifts for birthdays are a great way to show your staff that you appreciate their hard work and dedication throughout the year. A unique employee appreciation gift, such as a custom-made gift box containing treats and thank you messages, is an excellent way to recognize individual employees on their special day. There are many options for thoughtful staff appreciation gifts, such as edible treats, books, gift cards, and jewelry. Additionally, you can include notes of encouragement and employee appreciation messages in the gift box. This will make your employees feel genuinely appreciated and recognized by their workplace. Showing your staff that they are valued is key to a thriving company culture, and rewarding your employees for their contributions is one of the best ways to do this. 

No matter what gifts you choose for your staff members, ensuring they know how much you appreciate them on their birthdays and all year round will truly show that you value their hard work and commitment to your organization. Personalized appreciation messages or cards alongside a unique gift box are a great way to make your employees feel special and remind them of their importance. In addition, showing your staff appreciation and gratitude is an invaluable way to keep morale high and build stronger relationships with your team.

9 ways to give employee appreciation gifts 

Looking for employee appreciation ideas? Appreciating your staff is essential for a healthy office culture and can increase productivity. Here are 7+ ways to give employee appreciation gifts: 

  1. Unique gifts: Show your appreciation with a unique, personalized gift for each employee. A meaningful gift that reflects the individual's personality and interests can be a great way to show them how much you care.
  2. Company swag: Consider giving out branded items such as hats, t-shirts, or coffee mugs to show your team that you appreciate their work. 
  3. Bulk employee appreciation gift: Consider ordering bulk gifts, such as gift cards or subscription boxes, to show appreciation for the entire team. This is a great way to give everyone the same recognition and show them how much they are valued.
  4. Kudos card:  Send a kudos card with a personalized note to recognize an individual's hard work. A single card can go a long way in showing appreciation and being noticed.
  5. Employee recognition platform: Utilize an employee recognition platform to give thanks for a job well done. This will help your employees to feel appreciated and continue to work hard. 
  6. Meaningful gift: Give a meaningful contribution to show appreciation for the individual's efforts. Consider something like tickets to an event, a special dinner, or even just time with family and friends.
  7. Cookies: Show your appreciation with a sweet treat. Consider sending cookies or cupcakes to the office that everyone can enjoy.
  8. Gift basket: Create an appreciation gift basket filled with snacks, books, and other items your team will love. This is a great way to show your gratitude for their hard work. 
  9. Time off: Offer employees the chance to take a few hours off work to show their appreciation. This will allow them to relax and recharge while knowing they are valued at their job. 

Showing appreciation for your employees is essential for creating a thriving work environment and developing strong relationships with them. Using these 7+ ways to give employee appreciation gifts, you can show your team how much they are valued and appreciated in the workplace.

How to find inspiration for employee appreciation gifts

Finding the perfect employee appreciation gift can be a challenge. Whether you're looking to recognize individual employees or show your team some love, coming up with staff appreciation ideas that make everyone feel valued is key. Here are a few tips for finding unique employee appreciation gifts that will be sure to make a lasting impression:

  1. Think about your employees: What do they like? What motivates them? If you're sure of the answers, you can use that knowledge to find gifts that show your team how much you truly care. For example, if one of your remote employees loves cookies—send them a package! 
  2. Look for ways to make it personal: An employee recognition platform can help you identify special moments in each person's job and ensure your appreciation is tailored to them. For example, instead of generic gifts, add a personal touch with personalized cards or customized gifts that thank each employee for their hard work and dedication. 
  3. Utilize an employee recognition platform: An employee recognition platform allows you to easily send virtual badges, certificates, and gift cards quickly and efficiently. This helps with productivity and provides tangible rewards for a well-done job. 
  4. Pinterest: Another great way to find inspiring employee appreciation gifts is to look on Pinterest. You can search for "Staff Appreciation Ideas" or "Unique Employee Appreciation Gifts" and get a world of ideas at your fingertips that you can customize with your company's branding and gift budget. 

If you're looking for a way to show your appreciation for your team, there are plenty of unique and creative ways to find inspiration for employee appreciation gifts. From gifting remote employees with personalized kudos gifs to utilizing an employee recognition platform, these tips can help you show your staff just how much they mean to you.

Impact of employee appreciation gifts on company morale

Investing in employee appreciation gifts is one of the most effective tools for increasing team morale and strengthening relationships within a company. Employee appreciation gifts provide staff with tangible reminders that their hard work is appreciated and recognized, which can positively impact employee morale. In addition to showing gratitude to employees, giving out small tokens of appreciation like gift cards can also help to create an environment of respect and appreciation in the workplace.

Employee morale is essential to any successful business, as it directly affects productivity, job satisfaction, and overall job performance. By giving out employee appreciation gifts, companies are creating a culture of recognition and gratitude that encourages team members to stay motivated and continue striving for excellence. This type of recognition also serves as a reminder that employees are not just an asset to the company but members of a team with valuable contributions to make. Gift cards are one of the most popular employee appreciation gifts because they allow staff to purchase something they want or need, which helps show gratitude. Gift cards are also a great option because they provide flexibility and convenience. By giving out gift cards, companies can show appreciation without worrying about finding gifts that fit into their budget or the individual tastes of each team member.

Overall, employee appreciation gifts significantly impact company morale and create an environment where employees feel recognized and appreciated for their contributions. By investing in small tokens of gratitude, companies can show their staff how much they value them and create an atmosphere of respect and trust. Gift cards are a popular choice for expressing gratitude as they allow team members to purchase whatever they desire. This way, gifting employees appreciation gifts can help build lasting relationships between staff and the company.

Final tips on increasing engagement with employee appreciation gifts

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

  • Keep employee appreciation gifts personal: Don't give appreciation gift ideas that don't mean anything to the employee. For example, handwritten cards are always appreciated; you can handwrite them for all employees - every employee is essential!
  • 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 company cares about them, but it can also serve as an employee engagement strategy for increasing employee appreciation gifts. So 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. Employee engagement will increase if you continue using employee appreciation gift ideas.
  • Be flexible: Remember that employee appreciation gifts don't have to be tangible; feel free to get creative with employee recognition! For example, employee time off instead of employee gifts is an excellent employee appreciation gift idea. You can also give employee appreciation gifts like breakfast or lunch for extra employee engagement points.

Remember, employee appreciation gifts are not a stand-alone employee recognition program. Instead, 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, gratitude, and constructive feedback may not be easy, but it is worth it!

In conclusion, it is essential to recognize the work of team members and express appreciation for their efforts. Employee morale is directly affected by these expressions of gratitude and staff appreciation. A simple "thank you" can go a long way toward building trust and proving that the team's hard work is valued. In addition, to maintain a productive and successful work environment, it is essential to cultivate a sense of togetherness and understanding among team members. By expressing appreciation through words, actions, or rewards, it is possible to create an atmosphere of camaraderie that can improve employee morale and encourage collaboration among the workforce.

Are employee appreciation gifts important to you? Create a bottom-up culture with team recognition, celebrations, and rewards — all inside Slack or Microsoft Teams. Get started for free by adding Matter to your workspace.

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