14 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts

14 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts
14 Best Employee Appreciation gifts

14 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts

What is one of the best employee appreciation gifts you have seen or would like to receive? 

 To help you with your gift shopping this holiday season, we asked C-suite executives and other marketing leaders this question for their best ideas. From catering your team’s lunch to creating a fame wall, there are several recommendations that may help you with giving your employees the best appreciation gifts in the future. 

 Unique employee appreciation gifts are always appreciated because they show that you've taken the time to consider team members as individuals instead of numbers. Turn a good employee appreciation gift opportunity into a great employee appreciation gift. 

 Here are 14 winning ideas for employee appreciation gifts:

  • Catered Lunch 
  •  Gift Cards to Favorite Local Businesses 
  •  A DIY Cocktail Kit 
  •  Handmade Flower Bouquets 
  •  Massage Gift Cards 
  •  A Day Off 
  •  Gift Experiences, Not Items 
  •  Custom Snack Boxes 
  •  Site Subscriptions 
  •  Blue Light Glasses 
  •  Handwritten Cards 
  •  Travel Vouchers 
  •  Office Equipment Upgrades 
  •  A Place on the Fame Wall

Catered Lunch

One of my favorite ways to show appreciation for employees is by getting lunch catered to the office. This not only shows appreciation for one single employee but for the whole team.  This provides a great change of pace during the work day and brings a sense of camaraderie with everyone sharing a meal together. To make employees feel more included, you could even let them choose a restaurant to order from.  

 Giving lunch as a gift is a great way to say thank you and give back to the people who work so hard for the success of the company! 

 Saneem Ahearn, VP of Marketing, Colorescience

A quote from Saneem Ahearn

Gift Cards to Favorite Local Businesses

One of the best employee appreciation gifts I’ve seen is a company that gives out gift cards to local restaurants, cafes, and bars. Employees can use it for themselves or give it to a family member or friend.  

 It’s not a huge, splashy gift, but it’s something that employees use and appreciate. I’ve worked in other companies where management would give employees gift cards to the same large retailer. It’s nice, but I know that a lot of employees would rather have something they can immediately use, like a gift card for a local business. 

 I employed this strategy one Christmas when, after several months of noting my employees' purchase behaviors, I got them each gift cards to their favorite local shops.  They were thrilled because it was a very personal gift, and they knew I had taken the time to observe their preferences. Nothing makes people feel more appreciated than thoughtful and generous attention, and this was a good example of that. 

 Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely 

 Gift cards make great employee appreciation gifts for remote employees since they're easy to include in a handwritten card. You can send warm appreciative thoughts along with a tangible gift they can use right where they live.

A DIY Cocktail Kit

I don't know of a better employee appreciation present than this. One of the nicest Thanksgiving gifts you can give your employees is a set of elegant cocktail-making supplies.  

 Make sure you've got everything you need to mix up a tasty craft drink in time for happy hour. You may make a delightful gift for an employee by filling a jar with miniature liquor, mixers, flavorings, and charming printable recipe cards.  

 To really wow, put together a bartender's gift basket with a couple of cocktail kits, a shaker, some bar towels, and whatever else you can think of. Mix up some drinks with me! 

 Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

A quote from Gerrid Smith.

Handmade Flower Bouquets

A beautiful arrangement of flowers is always an appropriate way to express gratitude.  The beauty of flowers is matched only by their modest cost. There's no better way to show your appreciation for your staff than with a beautiful bouquet, whether it's purchased from the supermarket, arranged by a professional florist, or gathered from your own backyard. 

 Use your brain when arranging flowers. Match the color of the flowers to the ribbons and tissue paper you use. Your flower bouquet will move from ordinary to exceptional with just that bit of more work. 

 Edward Mellett, Co-Founder, Wikijob

Massage Gift Cards

We all could use a bit more relaxation in our lives, and nothing feels better after a long day at work than a nice massage to relieve all the tension from our bodies.  

 That's why I will always advise bosses and CEOs that massage room gift cards will always be major hits among employees. I received such an employee appreciation gift some time ago, and only after the session ended I realized how much I needed similar treatment. I haven't received a better gift from my employer since. 

 Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, US Visa Photo

If you're looking for a way to dress up a massage gift card, consider purchasing a decorative gift box to contain it. These don't need to be wrapped, which is nice for fast staff appreciation gifts.

A Day Off

During our monthly social zoom calls, we’ve been playing games like Pictionary or doing scavenger hunts at home, and the winning team gets an entire day off (that has to be used before the next monthly social get-together).  

 Employees have had a really great response to this and the games we’ve been playing. It’s been a great way to have fun and get to know each other in an untraditional meeting setting, and everyone also really appreciated the chance to win a day off! 

 Tommy Chang, VP & Head of Marketing, Homelister 

 What's a more perfect gift than free time? Give high-performing employees an additional day off to do with as they please. It's the ultimate in personalized gifts — a day to do whatever they like!

People having fun in an escape room.

Gift Experiences, Not Items

My first boss gave me tickets to the local football game, and it's an experience that I remember to this day. I've received countless gifts from employers after this, but it doesn't stand out because it wasn't an experience. It was a boring gift that I forgot about after a few minutes. 

 So, as a rule of thumb, always gift experiences, not items. This could be a spa voucher or tickets to a music festival. 

 As a business owner today, I try to give my employees experiences that'll stay with them forever. I'll talk to them during lunch or after work, get a feel for their interests, and give them a present related to these interests. 

 Scott Lieberman, Owner, Touchdown Money 

 Sometimes great gifts aren't things at all. A memory lasts a lifetime.

Custom Snack Boxes

Customized snack boxes are one of the coolest employee appreciation gifts out there. Everybody has a favorite snack or food product they like to munch on now and again.  

 The beauty of subscription boxes is their many customization options. Simply asking an employee what their favorite kind of snacks are, chocolate, salty, etc. will give you the best idea of where to start. 

 Adam Bem, Co-Founder & COO, Victoria VR 

 Customizable employee appreciation gift ideas are always welcome. It's always less fun to get a gift that doesn't match your preferences. If you don't like dark chocolate you'll probably be much more impressed by a basket full of the milk variety. Even bulk employee appreciation gifts can be customized when your recipient makes the choices!

Site Subscriptions

Surprising? Not So Much. With most of Gen Z occupying 60-70% of the workforce, this is one of the coolest gifts you can give them.  

 Apart from office work, they prefer watching shows on sites like Netflix or even documentaries on YouTube. If you could make their life easier by providing them with OTT subscriptions to such sites, they would appreciate work more. Nothing says we value you like accommodating their preferred hobby.  

 However, I feel this also makes employees realize the equal give and take involved. Only those who show a better performance receive this appreciation gift. They further appreciate the fact that their work is being rewarded so they can relate to and enjoy it for a long time. I feel this might work in many organizations, especially for our junior employees. 

 Rick Nehora, Managing Partner, California Law Firm 

 This makes a unique employee appreciation gift, one that nurtures something your recipient loves. They'll appreciate the personalization and draw closer to your organization. Consider site subscriptions as rewards for employee appreciation day.

Blue light glasses

Blue Light Glasses

The workplace is getting more challenging day by day. Because of high competition, employees performing well need to be recognized publicly and appreciated periodically. This would motivate them to work with more passion and do better in the future.  

 One of the best employee appreciation gifts would be blue light glasses. Most of the employees have to operate on the system for long hours every day and the UV rays coming from it strain your eyes.  

 So, the blue light glasses would be the best appreciation gift. It would be useful for the employees and would show that you value them and care for their well-being. This token of appreciation would assist you in encouraging your employees to work with full concentration and, in turn, should facilitate your company's growth and productivity. 

 Jason Vishnefske, President, Santa Barbara Chocolate Company

Handwritten Cards

Personally, I love handwritten cards. It can be a printed card, personally designed, or purchased at a store. The most important part to me is the fact that an individual took the time to think about me intentionally and write down my impact. 

 In this digital age of interconnectivity, I feel like anything handwritten is of higher value compared to email, text, instant messages, etc.  

 It feels more personalized, and I keep every card I’ve received in a box at my home office. When I am having a bad day, I can open that box and smile, knowing that I’ve impacted so many individuals over the years. 

 Lia Wilson, HR Generalist, Aerotek

Travel Vouchers

Travel vouchers are a great way to recognize employees, I believe. They can include travel expenses, accommodation, experiences on holidays, and many more. 

 Vacations are a fruitful, well-deserved break from the work environment monotony. Rewarding employees with travel vouchers serves as a morale booster, which shows in their productivity.  

 It is not only a great motivator to work but also a valuable contribution to making your employees' dreams come true. Everybody needs some time off to relax, make precious holiday memories, and enjoy the company of their loved ones. Happy people are better. In the workplace and beyond. 

 Agata Szczepanek, Community Manager, LiveCareer

A nicely appointed office.

Office Equipment Upgrades

The biggest gripe about office work is often comfort. Some of the best employee appreciation gifts would be ergonomic office chair upgrades, standing or sitting desk upgrades, and, of course, a coffee machine update.  

 Employees would see and appreciate the value in these gifts as they affect their daily lives and could positively impact productivity. 

 Jarir Mallah, HR Specialist, Ling App

A Place on the Fame Wall

Without a question, this is the most heartfelt show of thanks to a hardworking employee I have ever seen.  

 A creative method to say "thank you" for a job well done, the "wall of fame" is a spin on the traditional "employee of the month" program. You may do whatever you want with your wall of fame, but a simple image of the employee with a description of their success makes for an interesting feature wall that will continue to draw people's attention long after the updates have been made. 

 Timothy Allen, Sr. Corporate Investigator, Corporate Investigation Consulting