Employee recognition is a critical part of team leadership. There are various methods you can use to recognize contributions and achievements, but everyone loves receiving a gift. Gifts serve as a tangible reward for great performance. In addition, rewarding employees with corporate gifting is a chance to be original and memorable. Employers can flex their creative muscles and find gifts that are fun, unique, and useful to give their employees.
Although every company has their own budget to determine employee appreciation gift ideas that are viable, there are plenty of options to choose from at every price point – even if you’re considering making the gifts yourself. There are also various employee recognition platforms and employee engagement platforms that make tracking and distributing gifts that much easier.
Whether you’re looking for holiday gifts or employee appreciation day gift ideas, you’re sure to find something from one of our lists of unique employee appreciation gifts below.
31 of the Best Employee Appreciation Gifts
Ensure your employees are up-to-date with modern times by giving them smartphones or covering a portion of their monthly phone bills. This is especially great for remote employees as you’re giving them a great device, but also making communication easier.
2. Exercise Equipment
Keep your employees fit and healthy by providing them with exercise equipment for their home, such as active gear, bicycles, running shoes, or fitness watches. Bear in mind, not all sports goodies need to be expensive. Even company-branded water bottles are a nice gesture. You can add the employees’ names to their water bottles for a personal touch.
3. Musical Instruments
Providing your employees are professional or part-time musos, gifting them an instrument for a major milestone (like a work anniversary or birthday) is a great way of supporting their interests.
Flower bouquets are a great way to freshen up someone’s desk, and they’re one of the most instantly recognizable forms of expressing appreciation. For an extra special touch, add a handwritten note or thank you card to the bouquet.
5. Sweet Treats and Candy
Much like flowers, sweet treats like candy, chocolates, and pastries make very good employee appreciation gifts, especially around Valentine’s Day. Edible treats are easy to come by, super fun, and relatively affordable. Just make sure you find something they like and that is appropriate for the receiving employees’ dietary requirements.
6. Gadgets and Tech
Support your employees’ comfort and leisure time by giving them smart devices and nifty gadgets to use around the house. This includes Bluetooth music stations, smart televisions, and plenty more appliances that they would love to have in their home.
7. Event Tickets
Using event tickets as employee appreciation gifts is a great way to reward your employees with something fun and memorable. Look out for events with live music, sports, or culture that you know they would like.
8. Computer Peripherals and Software
Hardware and peripherals, like keyboards, joysticks, and mice, are great employee appreciation gift ideas, especially for employees who need to kit out a home office.
In addition, software subscriptions that can make their life or work easier is a nice way to support their interests. For example, you can give them a well-being app that would support their mental health and overall employee morale.
A perfect gift choice for remote workers and those in IT-related roles, laptop computers will keep your employees connected with their entire team.
10. Office Furniture and Decor
Help get your employees organized at home by giving out office furniture as employee appreciation gifts. Chairs, filing cabinets, tables, chalkboards, and whiteboards are all great options. To make their home office more comfortable, you can also give small thank-you gifts like coffee mugs, swag, and succulents to decorate their working space.
11. Ergonomic Seat Cushions
Let’s face it – many office workers spend the majority of their workday sitting down. Why not make this time a little more comfortable with a seat cushion?
Make your employees’ at-home repair jobs a little bit easier by providing them with basic tools like hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches.
13. Cutlery and Cooking Utensils
High-quality cooking utensils, crockery, and kitchen knives are a thoughtful employee appreciation gift, especially if your team includes a few foodies. With different styles, sizes, and price points available, you’re sure to find something that matches your budget and would be a welcome addition to their kitchens.
14. Jewelry and Watches
Many companies use jewelry to reward employee milestones and recognize achievements. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are all great options. The traditional gold watch is still a highly prized way to recognize ten years of hard work.
Express your appreciation – and your sense of style – by giving out hats as employee appreciation gifts. This could be a fun baseball cap with your company logo or something more unique like a Stetson.
16. Outdoor Grills
Give your employees the ability to cook on an outdoor grill, and they might never return to their traditional stoves again.
Great for the summer months, coolers help keep your employees’ food and beverages cold and make for great gifts just about everyone will appreciate. You can do a larger size, ideal for picnics and camping. However, lunch pack sized coolers they can bring to the office are ideal small appreciation gifts for employees.
Approximately 75% of Americans drink coffee on a daily basis, so you really can’t go wrong by giving the gift of coffee. You can order in everyone’s favorite, or get a gift card they can redeem as the caffeine cravings set in.
19. Golf Clubs, Balls, and Tees
Treat your employees to a round of golf and make the day even more memorable by gifting them with a care package of golf equipment. This can include gloves, balls, tees, and even a nice t-shirt to wear on the course.
Glasses, cups, and mugs are all great gift ideas. Customizable options are usually available, too. for a real treat, make gift baskets that include the beverage as well. A single malt scotch with a set of crystal tumblers is lovely, or a set of coffee mugs along with some premium roasted coffee beans.
21. Camping Gear
Available in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and price points, camping goodies make great gifts for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
You can go all out and get your employees tents, or stick to smaller gifts like torches, jackets, camping chairs, and sleeping bags. A generator that they can use to power up their camp site is also a nice thought.
22. Tire Pumps and Air Compressors
Few things are worse than getting a flat tire on your way to work. Thankfully, tire pumps and air compressors can really save the day, making them a way to come to the rescue of your employees.
23. Bowling Balls
Whether your company has its own bowling league or not, bowling balls and other bowling-related gear always make great gift ideas.
24. Outdoor Decorations
Help your employees decorate their gardens and patios in style by gifting various outdoor decorations. Solar lights, wind-powered gadgets, and lawn ornaments are all viable options to consider and options are available at nearly every price point imaginable.
The sound of wind chimes in the spring and summer months can be quite relaxing, making these an especially nice outdoor gift.
25. Carbon Monoxide and Detectors
Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide results in 400+ deaths in the U.S. per year – so this, along with smoke detectors are employee gift ideas that might save a life.
26. Bird Feeders
A great gift idea for outdoor enthusiasts, especially birdwatchers, bird feeders come in a variety of types that can even attract specific types of birds.
Today’s tech-infused smartwatches are capable of tracking the wearer’s vital signs to alert them of any potential health issues. This makes it a nifty gift, not just for them to wear, but to protect your employees’ wellbeing.
28. Household Appliances
Various appliances, like coffee makers, smoothie blenders, air fryers, and robot vacuum cleaners are great ways of making an employee’s home just a little more luxurious.
29. Fishing Poles, Bait, and Tackle
Help your employees relax, enjoy the great outdoors, and have a blast by giving them fishing gear.
30. Vacation Expenses
Some companies express their appreciation by covering vacation expenses for their employees, either all or in part. This is a great gift to reward employees for hard work throughout the year because they can use the time to recuperate, have fun, and make memories with their loved ones.
31. Video Games
Although once considered a pastime for children, gaming has a huge following among professional adults. For this reason, video games also make great employee appreciation gift ideas that afford them a fun way to unwind after a day at the office.
17 Inexpensive Employee Appreciation Gifts
1. Traditional (Non-Smart) Watches
While smartwatches are the latest craze, traditional wristwatches are still considered stylish and thoughtful gifts. Depending on the brand, an attractive watch, presented in a nice gift box, can be obtained at a very reasonable price.
2. Desktop Fans
Help your employees cool down in the summer months with small desktop fans for the home or office.
3. Koozies (Can Coolers)
Available in different colors, sizes, and styles, koozies can even be customized with your company’s logo. These are nifty aids in keeping your team’s beverages cool and refreshing.
4. Company Swag
Branded t-shirts, lanyards, keychains, mugs, and other types of company swag make fantastic small appreciation gifts for employees.
5. Pamper Products
Consider assembling a gift basket of creams, lotions, bath products, and anything else you can think of as a small luxurious treat for your team members.
6. Board Games and Puzzles
Give your employees a new way to connect with their friends and family members by gifting them fun games and puzzles as appreciation gifts to enjoy during their evenings at home.
Whether you’re giving out bumper stickers or simple decals, stickers are a fun and inexpensive gift when expressing your appreciation.
Particularly useful in rainy regions, umbrellas are always handy to keep your employees’ clothes clean and dry while going from their car into the office.
With so many different genres available, you’re sure to find a good book for every member of your staff.
10. SD Memory Cards
Nearly everyone has a use for SD memory cards. They work in smartphones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and more.
11. Smartphone Cases
It would be difficult to find an employee who doesn’t have a smartphone. As such, smartphone cases are thoughtful and inexpensive gift ideas for staff appreciation.
12. Beach Towels
Ideal for companies in beach towns and those who live close to large bodies of water, beach towels can be bought in bulk and handed out as employee appreciation gifts during the summer months.
13. Perpetual Motion Gadgets
Suitable for the home or office, perpetual motion gadgets are desktop-sized machines that usually use magnets or similar devices to remain in a state of infinite motion. The effect is mesmerizing and makes for a great conversation piece.
14. Picture Frames
Available in various sizes, styles, and price brackets, picture frames are thoughtful gifts that employees can use to keep their most precious photos at home or in the office.
15. Swiss Army Knives
This popular multi-tool is a great way to express your appreciation toward employees – and a poetic way to recognize those employees who hold multiple roles in the workplace.
16. Indoor Plants
Not only do indoor plants provide a nice aesthetic appeal, they also have health benefits, smell pleasant, and are interesting to care for.
Give the gift of audiobooks or audiobook credits to express your appreciation in a modern and digital manner. This is an especially thoughtful gift idea for employees who commute and would appreciate a productive means to spend their time in transit.
9 DIY Employee Appreciation Gifts
1. Greeting Cards
Handmade greeting cards are a personal and unique way of expressing appreciation. If you can’t come up with the words, our list of recognition words for employees can help. You can even assign unique employee award titles in the cards to recognize individuals for their contributions.
Are you talented at knitting or needlework? Quilts, comforters, and blankets help keep your employees warm while simultaneously showing your appreciation.
If you make your own candles, consider giving some away as employee appreciation gifts. Conversely, DIY candle gift sets let employees make their own!
4. Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner
If you consider yourself a good cook, you might consider making breakfast, lunch, or dinner for your staff. The gesture of cooking for others is always appreciated, and sharing a meal made by their leaders is sure to be memorable.
If you’re good with a pen or paintbrush, handmade drawings, and caricatures make great gifts for any occasion.
Alt tag: Manager taking home-grown kale to the office as an employee appreciation gift
6. Homegrown Fruits and Vegetables
Do you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Fresh produce you cultivated yourself makes for great employee appreciation gifts.
Handmade jewelry gives you the chance to show off your creative side when handing out small gifts for employee appreciation.
8. Herbs and Spices
Do you have a secret blend of herbs and spices that you use in all of your dishes? If so, consider sharing it with your employees as a means of expressing your appreciation. Simply mix up a batch and put it in a nice gift box or jar for an extra special token of appreciation.
9. Scarves, Gloves, & Mittens
Hand-knit scarves, gloves, and mittens are incredibly thoughtful and useful gifts, especially in colder climates.
The 9 Best Trendy and Unique Appreciation Gifts for Employees
1. Selfie Sticks
Even with modern cameras, selfies can be difficult to get just right. Make it easier for your employees to capture great memories by giving out selfie sticks as gifts.
2. Wireless Earbud Earphones
Featuring a slim and sleek design, earbuds let the listener enjoy their music without having to carry around big, bulky headphones.
3. Online Subscriptions
It’s difficult to find recognition gifts for remote team members. Gift subscriptions to their favorite websites or video streaming services are usually well-received.
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying the trend factor of cryptocurrency. Investing in an employee’s crypto wallet gives them the freedom to watch it grow, or spend it immediately.
5. Pet Toys
Show appreciation for your employees and their furry friends with various pet toys.
6. Water Filtration Systems
Modern water filtration systems are affordable and compatible with most water faucets found in homes today.
7. Green Screens
A great gift idea for your remote workers, green screens will let your employees hide their messy bedrooms during their next Zoom meeting.
Another great option for showing your appreciation to remote workers, webcams ensure they have all the equipment needed for conference calls and online meetings.
9. Craft Beer
For employees who enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time, it doesn’t get much trendier than craft beer. Pick up some of your favorite libations and share them with your staff as appreciation gifts.
The 8 Best Bulk Employee Appreciation Gifts
1. Gift Cards
If you’re looking for an easy way of expressing your appreciation for dozens or hundreds of employees, look no further than gift cards. Amazon cards allow for amazing freedom of choice, or you can give a gift card that is more specific. For example, to eat at a local restaurant, or purchase from a specific store.
2. Community Memberships
Apart from keeping your employees active in the community, having company-wide access to a local gym or community center can also serve as a way to have professional team-building activities.
Often available in bulk lots, pens, pencils, diaries, desk calendars, and notebooks can usually be customized with your company’s name or logo.
Shirts, sweaters, and even jackets all make great gifts when trying to express your appreciation for employees. Add your company logo or slogan to make it a team dress item.
If your employees tend to bike or walk to work, backpacks can make their daily commute a little bit easier. Specifically, look for ones that can accommodate a laptop.
6. Rechargeable Batteries
Used batteries already take up enough landfill space as it is. Give rechargeable batteries as employee appreciation gifts and help clean up the local environment at the same time.
7. Power Banks
Perfect for charging devices on the move, power banks are a practical employee gift idea just about everyone would be happy to receive.
Available in many different colors and styles, sunglasses are a great idea when considering bulk employee appreciation gifts.
How to Choose the Right Employee Appreciation Gift
If possible, try to give personalized gifts that match your employees’ preferences, styles, and interests.
Coming up with employee appreciation gift ideas can be difficult. Not only do you want to find gifts that your employees will love, but you need to choose gifts that still fit within your projected employee rewards budget.
To help narrow down the field and make this decision a little bit easier, consider all of the following points:
- Your company culture, values, and mission: Try to find gifts that align with your company’s character.
- Employee preferences and interests: Take some time to consider the personal preferences of your employees.
- Timing and occasion: Seasonal and holiday-themed gifts are fine as long as the timing is right.
- Your tech stack: A quality employee rewards program can help optimize the gift-giving process.
There’s no right answer when it comes to finding the right employee appreciation gift. Since so many different factors are involved, it’s important to take everything into consideration before making your decision. If you’re still in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your employees what they would like – they might give you new ideas for staff appreciation gifts that you never even thought of.
Best Practices for Employee Appreciation Gift Giving
Gifts are great, but nobody wants to be bogged down with useless junk. As such, it’s important to abide by some common best practices when coming up with employee appreciation day gift ideas.
As mentioned earlier, timing is everything. While a gift of appreciation can be given any time of year, from birthdays, to holidays, and during performance appraisals, not every gift is appropriate at any time. Nothing looks more like an afterthought than receiving a box of marked-down Valentine’s Day candy in March. Seasonal gifts should be given in season, holiday gifts should be given on or before the celebrated date.
Furthermore, employee gifts should be uplifting to the receiver and sensitive to culture and stereotypes. For example, although a lot of people may appreciate a bottle of fine scotch, it would be uncomfortable for someone who avoids alcohol on religious or personal grounds to receive one.
A good way to keep gifts appropriate is to give items your employees can use at work for work purposes. For example, a desk organizer, keyboard or diary.
Prioritize What Employees Really Need
There is a lot to be said for spoiling employees with appreciation gifts that are luxurious and decadent. However, you may be missing the mark completely. Employees who are struggling to make ends meet would likely prefer a monetary bonus over a spa day. Parents who work long hours may choose a paid day off to spend with their kids over any gadget you can buy.
Although it may be practically viable to give different gifts to employees in different departments, you have to be sensitive to how this might play out. If one group of employees perceives that you are favoring another, your efforts to show appreciation can have the opposite effect of what you were going for.
A good way to avoid this is to create a list of gift options that have similar value. Allow employees to choose the gift on the list that most resonate with them. Be mindful to include options that are viable for remote employees.
Don’t Give a Burden
Gift you give employees should never be cumbersome, gaudy, or create unsolicited effort from their side. For example, while a bonsai tree is a lovely thought, caring for one is quite a commitment that your employee may not want.
Similarly, a large ornament for their office is a bothersome gift, unless the receiver absolutely loves it. The same goes for awkward items to store, like cooler boxes, beach umbrellas, and sports gear. If the gift is something that the employee wanted, that’s great. If they don't, it’s a bulky item that will clutter up their home until they get rid of it.
A good rule of thumb here is to give items that are physically small, consumable, and need no maintenance once received.
Put Real Thought into Your Gifts
Remember, these gifts are specifically meant to show your appreciation and gratitude. Don’t just pick the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, take some time to consider your options, meet with your executives and come up with an idea that everyone will love.
While a branded item can be a great gift for employees, the goal of appreciation gifts is not to promote the company. Be sure to check with employees whether they feel a non-branded version of the gift would be preferable.
Think Outside the (Gift)Box
Generic gifts are cheap and easy – which leads some employers to believe that they’re a great option. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, generic gifts can cause more harm than good if your employees perceive your choice was made as an afterthought.
If generic gifts are your only option, you might be better off allocating your budget to employee perks.
Giving Gifts to Appreciate Employees and Reward Accomplishments
Although some companies only consider gifts and other non-monetary incentives at certain times of the year, others are ready to recognize employee contributions all year round – especially after certain milestones or goals have been met.
Whether you save all of your gifts for a specific date or distribute them throughout the year is up to you, but for best results, try to remain as consistent as possible when expressing appreciation and rewarding achievements.