Incentivizing Quality Work: 18 Employee Gift Ideas
Good employee gifts are thoughtful surprises that express gratitude and improve the employee’s ability to thrive by encouraging happiness, wellness and efficiency. That being said, if you’re the boss, finding the right gifts for your employees might feel TOO thoughtful in the sense that you have a million thoughts and questions about it! How much should you spend? How do you find a gift everyone will like even though they are all so different? How do you make their gift special if it’s the same as everyone else's?
Along with these questions, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our work culture, creating even more incentive uncertainty. If members of your team are working remotely, it may be harder to get gifts to people, many of the gifts that worked in past years may not seem as suitable this year, and there are many new avenues to explore than in past years.
Around these parts, we are pretty proud of our company culture, and we’ve also been helping other companies put together amazing gift bundles for years! This year is about doing things differently — so skip the usual, boring gifts and surprise your team with something unexpected. From virtual subscriptions for remote employees to cool and current company socks, the best employee appreciation gifts will bring your team together — even if the pandemic has them scattered.
how do you make your gift special?
By adding your special touch, incorporating their personality or customizing simple items, it’s possible to turn even a function-forward gift like the office supplies they use every day into something special.
gifts for new hires
Gifts for new hires should make them feel welcomed and integrated into your team, while showing them what your team is all about. Getting the right gift for a new employee can help you nail that important first impression and encourage an engaged team.
funny coffee mugs
Start them off right with a smile on their face and coffee in their hand. Funny mugs filling the cupboards at work will help your new employee get comfortable in their new environment knowing humor is permitted, and the coffee will keep them going, as well as keep them coming back to their mug!
Nearly everybody has their morning (or all-day) fuel, whether it be coffee, tea, smoothies or juice. This is a gift that may take a bit of research, but it is worth the effort to check around and find a local café or bistro that offers a membership or subscription program. Typically these types of programs will involve someone — you — purchasing unlimited beverages for a set amount of time, but they can vary widely, and some can be a lot of fun! Giving your new employee the gift of daily fuel will start their journey off on the right foot at your company. This a great option to combine with the fun mug, too!
Bringing breakfast for your team, or having it catered, is a nice way to welcome new employees, reward loyal ones, let the two mingle and connect more easily and fuel them all for a good day. In the summer months, or for a nice change of pace from the traditional pot of coffee in the break room, consider an iced coffee keg as an addition to get the room really excited!Browse Our Employee Appreciation Gifts
gifts for remote employees
Remote employees often find themselves feeling disconnected, but sending your remote employees gifts, no matter how big or small, is the perfect way to create a more tangible connection and show them they are never forgotten even though they aren't there.
fun office desk accessories
Your team may not be there with you, but you can still set them up with the things they need to jump-start or excel in their home office! From cord control to stationery stations, consider looking into how to organize your desk office or cubicle at work to find them the perfect piece! Even small items like funny sticky notes or pens with hilarious sayings on them can bring a ton of joy to an employee. Plus, they’ll think of you whenever they utilize that kind gift.
blue light glasses
Though not all remote employees work exclusively on computer screens, most do, and glasses designed to reduce eye strain from the blue light they emit will be appreciated by your employee. It also shows you care about their health and general wellbeing.
For you, it may just be a work uniform — but for them, it’s a motivator, a reminder, something to be proud of and a way to feel like part of the team. Not only this, but allowing your remote employees to represent your brand and name in remote areas is a great way to get the word out about your company! They’re a walking ad — literally! Plus, we offer fun ways to customize socks that allow a pop of color for your employees. Check out some of the work we’ve done in the past, and contact us to get started!
Prior to COVID, it may have been difficult to determine what might be a good gift for an employee. But with our regular Zoom calls, you may have learned about or became virtually acquainted with their new furry co-worker. What better way than to send cute dog toys? Or, if you know they’re a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods fanatic, a cute, small tote bag is the perfect gift. And for even bigger fans, consider a funny, larger tote bag.
Holiday gifts for employees should represent the spirit of the season or occasion and be just-for-fun in their intent. Holiday gifts will make company celebrations more memorable and motivational, so make sure you embrace these!
We know we already mentioned custom socks, but you can order fun, unique socks with funny sayings or phrases as well. Show your team you think of them like family and make them smile with this perfect gift. Not only can you find socks for your employees any holiday, season or occasion — but personality, too! This is a gift that will never go unappreciated thanks to the variety of options, so whether it be a sock bouquet that employees can pick a pair from, Santa sloths on Christmas socks for the whole office or funny football socks just for the fathers on Father’s Day, never be hesitant to go with (or add in) some socks when purchasing employee gifts!
Consider putting together a recovery care kit featuring the essentials employees need to bounce back from seasonal celebrations and office parties, or for when they’re struggling with the sniffles that seem to accompany the changing of the seasons (and normally, the holidays).
a day off to enjoy the holidays with their family
As we get older, we tend to skip the celebrations and treat certain holidays and occasions (like our birthdays) as regular days. But celebrations matter (after all, one of our top values is remembering to “go giddy”)!Give your employee some of these special days off of work to spend with their friends and family like they used to!
Virtual gifts for employees are a fresh way to create a sense of celebration whether you can’t get out shopping to make a physical purchase, have remote or hybrid employees and want to avoid shipping, need a quick and accessible last-minute gift or if you’re an innovative company. Though the giving aspect may be limited, the impact of receiving these gifts can be major.
access to wellness training
Give your employees access to the tools that they need to succeed and excel, in every area of life (and in turn, their job) by providing access to online yoga, fitness and meditation classes. Pair a group class, followed by a company virtual happy hour, with a hilarious candle to truly destress your employees and put them at ease.
access to books
The gift of knowledge is always appreciated and always beneficial. Aside from the resources they could access and ways they could grow, giving them a virtual gift card for a virtual bookstore can prompt them to finally read the book that they’ve been trying to make time for, discover new interests, encourage them to relax and help you bond when the two of you talk about the books they’ve read.
access to music
A lot of people utilize music, and in particular, specially-made playlists, to improve their work. Give your employees the ability to be their most efficient selves with a subscription to their preferred music streaming service — and make sure not to cheap out! Premium versions of subscriptions may seem unnecessary, but the benefit of not getting interrupted and thrown off your flow from sudden ads is worth the upgrade. An even cheaper option: Ask your employees to submit a list of a few favorite songs, then put together a virtual playlist for them that you can all listen to while working on the same day. We did this with our team, and it was a hit! We especially loved guessing who submitted which fave song. The Ghostbusters theme? Come on!Get Fun Office Desk Accessories Your Employees Are Sure to Love
how much should you spend on employee gifts?
Ultimately, your annual budget will be the main deciding factor in how much you get to spend on employee gifts. That being said, it’s important to celebrate your employees and showcase your appreciation, so we do recommend including gifts and swag in your budget each year! Luckily, as we’ve seen, fun and thoughtful gifts can be found for employees at any budget!
giving the best gifts to the best employees
Gifts for your employees, no matter what the occasion, are investments. Employee gifts, incentives and acts of appreciation are a powerful tool when it comes to employee engagement, retaining good employees and keeping those employees happy and motivated.
It’s perfectly normal to wonder if your friends or family liked the gift that you’ve given them, and it’s equally reasonable to wonder this about your employee gifts and even track their success! By asking subtle and casual questions, offering surveys that allow insight into gifts and encouraging honesty, it can be easy to improve your approach and make your gifts worthwhile investments.