When you’re running a business – or even a single department within a larger company – it’s important to be able to keep employees engaged and reward them for the hard work they put in every day. However, when it comes to choosing the best way to show them how much they’re valued, you may experience something akin to “analysis paralysis.”
There are so many ways you can show appreciation for employees, but not all of them will be received the same way. For instance, springing for a round of drinks at happy hour on a Friday could go a long way in the moment, but it’s just that – a moment. Likewise, providing small rewards like Gift cards to local establishments or online shops can be nice, but it’s also a little impersonal.
With that in mind, you might need to do a little more to find the perfect gift for staff members that simultaneously hits a number of different sweet spots:
1. It needs to show your appreciation, without breaking the bank.
2. It needs to feel unique and personalized.
3. It needs to serve as a lasting reminder of just how highly valued its recipients are.
So you may be asking yourself, “What makes a great employee gift that falls into all three of these categories?” Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here; you can’t wave a magic wand and meet everyone’s needs. However, if you put a little more effort into choosing unique, personalized gifts, the payoff in terms of increased employee engagement can be significant.
Fortunately, the following guide should help you nail down an effective strategy to choose the right gift:
What are common gifts to give to employees?
When you’re thinking about getting gifts for your employees, the possibilities are pretty much endless. These days, you can get your company’s logo and customized text printed on just about anything, and often the options for doing so are relatively affordable. Gift ideas, therefore, don’t have to be limited to the kinds of corporate giveaways many employees may be used to, such as custom fleece jackets or sweatshirts, or something they can put on their desk like a clock or calendar.
You can, instead, show staff members your appreciation for all their hard work with fun gift ideas that go beyond the ordinary. For instance, instead of something warm a worker can wear around the office or when the weather gets a little chillier, you might want to think about gifting them a customized blanket they can keep at home or work. Or, instead of the increasingly popular gift of new headphones for listening to music at the office, for a workout or on the go, some Bluetooth-enabled earbuds could go the extra mile as well.
Likewise, instead of the classic gift of a branded coffee mug to keep at the office – which obviously carries a lot of utility and can last for years – something a little more unique could go over even better. For instance, a custom insulated travel mug that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours is a great modern spin on an old classic.
Of course, in a lot of cases, the type of gift you give your workers will depend heavily upon the occasion for which they’re being given. For instance, a birthday gift may be a little more flexible – it could be something like home or office decor, or a travel accessory kit – whereas a holiday gift could be a bit personal and specific to that time of year. Other special occasions, like if a co-worker graduates from a post-secondary program, could require a bit more consideration, but items like a tech accessories kit or pen set could come across as both practical and thoughtful. You should also keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to celebrate employees’ work anniversaries with a commemorative gift, especially around milestones.
Just because a gift like branded clothing is common doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated. However, because there are so many options at your disposal, thinking within that relatively narrow window might not feel as special to your employees.
How much should I spend on employee gifts?
As with the initial question of “What’s a good gift for employees?” there’s also no hard and firm answer to how much you should be looking to spend. If you have a small department to oversee, you can perhaps afford to splurge a bit and spend $50 or more on each employee gift. With that said, just like you’ve probably experienced during the holiday season, it’s not always the amount being spent, but rather the thought that went into the gift that counts. An impersonal gift worth $100 might not be as well-received by your workers as a thoughtful gift that only cost $10 or $15.
In fact, there are a host of great gifts available for less than $25 that can show your appreciation at a low cost, and provide plenty of value to employees. These gifts can be items like desk decorations or framed posters that provide workers with a little more motivation or show your appreciation for their hard work, or something they can take home like a custom tumbler set or mini throw pillows.
Again, there’s no hard and fast rule for what to spend on employee gifts, and there’s also no number that ensures such a gift will be well-received. With that in mind, it might be wiser to put some extra thought into what your employees might want or need – perhaps by reflecting on conversations that came up in the course of the last few months – and research something that fits both your budget and those requirements.
For as little as $10, you could find something everyone in the office is going to appreciate.
Are gift cards good gifts?
In recent years, giving friends and family members gift cards for special occasions seems to have become especially common, but there are some who frown on the idea because it can come across as impersonal. On the other hand, you might be thinking about giving out employee gifts to five, 10, 20 or more different people – all with their own individual tastes – and see the challenge inherent to giving out a personalized gifts to suit every person’s preferences or needs without spending a ton of time on the process.
As a general rule, gift cards may be well received – certainly, people won’t turn up their noses at $25 or $50 from a local restaurant or grocery store. However, gift cards probably aren’t the best idea if you’re truly trying to impress your employees and make them feel appreciated. They have a static value – seemingly saying, “We appreciate you this dollar amount” – whereas a personalized item that costs less can have a higher perceived value.
Unique gifts that serve them well in various aspects of life, such as branded tote bags or notebooks, could give you even more bang for your buck, because engaged employees tend to be more productive. Along those lines, gift cards aren’t as valuable in terms of engagement because they’re spent and then they’re gone, while personalized or unique items will potentially be on the person’s desk or somewhere in their home for years to come.
What makes a great employee gift?
Simply put, not all corporate gifts are created equal. Again, while even the simplest gift will be appreciated on some level, companies have to go above and beyond the bare minimum to really boost employee engagement.
In fact, even if you put a lot of thought into a gift that you think works well for every employee in your department, and spend lavishly to buy these items, there may be further work to do. That’s because if a gift isn’t personalized in some way, it might not be truly appreciated. Personalization doesn’t mean simply putting an employee’s name on the gift – whether it’s laser-etched into a paperweight or embroidered on some corporate swag – but rather showing the worker how much you considered them. That could be as simple as including a hand-written note along with the gift box, expressing your appreciation or admiration for their efforts on a daily basis. However, even if you go to those lengths, if you don’t have the right gift to accompany that note, the sentiment might ring a bit hollow.
In addition, you might want to think about providing gifts that show off a little more quality without adding to the price. For instance, if you purchase a customized tumbler set that’s made with leather and stainless steel, employees might see more value in that kind of item – still available at low prices – than a similar product that’s just made of plastic. The same is true of choosing customized wooden or glass items that can go on an employee’s desk, as opposed to plastic or metal.
When choosing the right employee gift, it’s not an overstatement to say that presentation and perception are a lot more important than the amount you actually spend. As such, if you’re truly trying to motivate and excite your workers, you may need to go above and beyond not only when it comes to choosing the gift itself, but also the way in which the gift is given.
What are cute and inexpensive gift ideas for employees?
If you’re trying to stray away from more practical gifts and want something that will be well-received for its uniqueness, erring more on the side of “cute” gifts could be a great way to go. That may be especially true if it’s more of a “just-because” gift instead of something meant to celebrate a team achievement or the anniversary of an employee joining the company.
Something like a branded or otherwise customized stress reliever that can sit on a desk or in a drawer can be seen as both funny and useful – after all, who doesn’t have workplace stress now and again? Likewise, magnetized items for storing paper clips and other everyday metal office items can be well-received and give employees an occasional distraction. Other items in this vein could include pen holders or other containers that come in unexpected and uncommon shapes (such as candy dishes shaped like light bulbs or coffee mugs that look like bowls of soup) to add a little fun to the office environment.
Another gift of this type that could stand out as both thoughtful and helpful is a customized stand for a smartphone or tablet that allows employees to keep their chosen devices close at hand while also reminding them every day how much they are appreciated.
Getting it right
If you have a basic idea of what you want to spend on your employee gifts, and put in the effort to carefully consider what kinds of gifts are likely to be received best, it’s time to start shopping for these items.
As mentioned, you can typically find a lot of high-quality, attractive gifts to convey your message of appreciation to every recipient without spending $50 or $100 on every item. For $10 or $25, you may not only be able to impress your office staff with some great gifts, but also get a better return on investment in the long run because you kept costs down and still got similar results in terms of higher employee engagement and satisfaction.
Attaining proper motivation goes well beyond the traditional idea of giving a more expensive, beautiful gift – such as wine glasses – around the holidays and hosting the occasional post-work happy hour. While it’s great to give co-workers the opportunity to come together and celebrate their collective achievements, a steadier diet of low-cost gifts that aren’t being given for any reason other than to show the company appreciates their hard work can be even more effective than the periodic get-together.
With that in mind, having a strategy to set up reminders about employee birthdays, anniversaries of a person’s hiring and other important events over the course of the year is an absolute must for any supervisor who’s looking to boost engagement and motivation. A little additional planning can go a long way and provide significant return on investment throughout the year. Whether you make a point to highlight each employee individually as part of the gift-giving effort – such as by making an announcement to co-workers with some details of their hard work – or simply with a personalized note included with the gift, making them feel a little more appreciated will only increase the impact of the gift itself.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a unique and highly personal item that highlights just how much you value an employee, or a fun giveaway that will go over well with an entire office, Successories has what you’re looking for – and more. With a range of thousands of customizable gifts that can fit any office budget, taste and desired “feel,” there’s virtually no end to the number of options available to you.
All it may take to find the best unique and personalized gift ideas for your staff is a little research and some consideration of exactly what makes every member of that team so special and valuable to your organization.