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Showing genuine appreciation for employees is a must for any organization that wants to weather the Great Resignation. A company where employees don’t receive positive feedback and frequent appreciation is one they’ll seek to leave before long. Gifts are a wonderful way to make employees feel valued and recognized — if done the right way. Personalized, meaningful gifts that team members actually want go much further than yet another branded mug they don’t need or a gift card to a restaurant they don’t enjoy.
Keep reading for a comprehensive list of great employee appreciation gifts that fit any budget.
14 great employee appreciation gifts for every occasion
Finding gifts your employees will truly appreciate doesn’t have to be difficult. Take your pick from the great options covered below.
1. Anything they want, with reward points
What if your organization could empower team members with the ability to reward themselves with almost anything they could think of? With a points-based reward system, the challenge of providing employees with personalized appreciation is a thing of the past. Team members receive points on a monthly or other periodic basis. They can then provide these redeemable points to their coworkers whenever they want to show appreciation.
The enjoyment of watching your points balance rise over time is combined with the freedom of selecting rewards you’ll actually enjoy. This is made possible by the extensive reward catalogs offered by the top employee recognition platforms. Employees can select everything from unforgettable experiences they’ve always wanted, to a gift card for their favorite restaurant, to the latest tech they’ve been itching to try out. The simplicity and impact of points-based reward systems is unmatched, especially when combined with personalized messages of appreciation.
2. A message of thanks
The best reward in the world won’t mean as much if words of appreciation are missing. Whether it’s taking a minute before an all-hands to shout out a team member’s accomplishments or a quick moment of recognition after a great client meeting, social recognition is one of the greatest gifts any team member can receive. Make sure you’re delivering it effectively by following these core principles:
- Tie the message to the specific reason you’re providing appreciation
- Recognizing the individual in a timely fashion, rather than weeks or months after the fact
- Make social recognition a regular part of your organizational culture, rather than a once or twice a year occurrence.
3. Branded swag employees will use
Branded swag is a great way to show appreciation while also getting your company’s branding out there. Ensure that your company isn’t showing appreciation with gifts that will just sit on the shelf by prioritizing items employees will actually use. These include things like water bottles, sweatshirts, tote bags, umbrellas, and more. Your company can buy these items in bulk to reduce expenses. And your organization can even create welcome packages with these items included as onboarding swag for new employees.
4. Improvements for the (home) office
Whether your company has kept an in-office work arrangement, made the switch to fully remote, or adopted a hybrid of the two, funds for sprucing up employees’ work environment is always welcome. Organizations can provide employees with a stipend for improving wherever they work or give items they know team members want. Helping employees make their workspace somewhere they actually want to be is a win-win, boosting morale and productivity.
5. Charitable donations and time to volunteer
Everyone wants to contribute more to causes they care about, but time and money are often limiting factors. That’s why the opportunity to make donations or volunteer is one of the best gifts your organization can give employees — and there’s plenty of ways it can do so. For example, your company can match a percentage of sales made each quarter and let the top-selling employee choose the charity to which the donation is made. Or it can give all employees the afternoon off of work and encourage them to volunteer together at a voted-upon organization, building a sense of camaraderie.
6. Snacks, lunches, and delicious beverages
Everyone needs to eat! Food and drinks are always a welcome way to show appreciation, and your organization can easily personalize this type of gift to suit specific team members. For example, a simple gift card for a large restaurant group or a food delivery service gives employees the freedom to choose the type of food they prefer. But if you know the employee a little better, why not send a care package full of their favorite snacks? Giving them their favorite coffee, wine, beer, or even sparkling water provides a little extra touch that will make a big impact.
7. Support for professional development
Employees want to see that your company is invested in their success and growth. Demonstrating that your organization will do what it takes to help employees reach their career goals and realize their potential helps your company leverage in-house talent while incentivizing employees to stick around. Whether it’s paying for continuing education, establishing a talent development program, or tweaking an employee’s responsibilities to better align with their interests, there are professional development options available for any budget.
8. Fun and meaningful experiences
Your life is defined by your experiences, so an incredible experience is one of the best gifts you can give an employee. If there’s something you know an employee has always wanted to do, make it happen, and they’ll never forget it. A trip to a place they’re obsessed with, a concert headlined by their favorite band, or even that mountaineering class they’ve always wanted to take — whatever it is, an experience is a personalized, impactful way to show appreciation.
9. Additional paid time off and flexibility
Team members dedicate a huge amount of time to your company, so give some of it back. Award your employees with additional PTO when they’ve accomplished something impressive, or give your team Friday off for a much-deserved long weekend. Providing employees with additional freedom regarding when and where they work can make all the difference when team members are trying to achieve work-life balance.
10. Gifts for improved mental and physical wellness
As companies continue to adapt to our new normal, they can’t afford to neglect employee wellness. New stressors are contributing to an unfortunately high level of employee burnout. There’s plenty of gifts organizations can provide to boost employees’ physical and emotional wellness. Providing a gym membership, paying for a weekly yoga class, or even offering a meditation app are all great gifts that show your organization cares about employee wellness. Your company can go a step further by linking its recognition and wellness platforms, so employees are rewarded whenever they achieve their wellness goals.
11. Gift cards
Just like reward points, gift cards let employees select things they want and allow your company to perfectly align the gift with its budget. Gift cards can also be tailored to an employee’s tastes, or, if you’re unsure what they like, you can provide gift cards from major credit card providers or companies like Amazon. While everyone enjoys receiving a gift card now and then, it’s best to combine them with other types of rewards so team members know that your company hasn’t put its recognition program on autopilot.
12. Personalized awards
Personalized awards are a fantastic way to publicly recognize the many ways team members contribute to your company. Whether they’re given out annually, incorporated into an employee of the month award program, or simply provided whenever an employee has done something to appreciate, awards are a powerful way to show appreciation, especially when combined with additional rewards. You can get all employees involved with your awards program by mixing the criteria up, including everything from a coaching champion award to awarding an employee who truly exemplifies your company values.
13. Corporate and travel discounts
Discounts are another gift that provides employees with the flexibility to choose their own rewards. Discounted travel and hospitality options let employees take much-needed vacations that they might not be able to afford otherwise, while discounts at a favorite retailer or restaurant chain can quickly add up. You might think that only large enterprises have the ability to secure corporate discounts, but before writing this option off, note that there are services your organization can take advantage of to obtain discounts it otherwise might be unable to obtain.
14. Classes and subscriptions that match employee interests
Employees want to know your organization values them as individuals rather than simply as contributors to the bottom line. Show appreciation with gifts that help employees pursue interests and goals outside of work. Does someone dream of skydiving? Do they want to do something creative like an art class? Giving a gift relating to a hobby or dream is a personal, touching way to say thank you.
Deliver truly meaningful employee appreciation gifts with Achievers
A personalized gift that employees actually want makes a big impact when showing appreciation for a job well done. The Achievers Experience Platform is your company’s hub for providing meaningful gifts. It includes Achievers Recognize, a science-based recognition and reward platform that facilitates social recognition and provides a huge variety of rewards employees can redeem points for. Recognize integrates with Achievers Listen, a comprehensive employee engagement solution that helps your company gather and analyze employee feedback on recognition and more. The better you know your employees, the better your recognition program can meet their needs.