The Ultimate Guide to Employee Appreciation Gifts

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Appreciation Gifts

Discover how the perfect employee appreciation gift can transform your workplace! Dive into our guide for unique ideas that boost morale, foster team spirit, and create a happier, more productive environment.

Rick Cundiff

If you depend on your employees for your business success – as every business must – you know how important workplace morale can be. One way to boost morale is to present employee appreciation gifts. Small tokens throughout the year help show your staff that you value their contributions and promote a sense of teamwork.

In the holiday season, employee appreciation gifts take on added meaning. They serve as a meaningful thank you to your staff for their hard work and dedication over the preceding year. This guide will show the benefits of offering these gifts and feature examples of good ideas for them. Showing your employees that they matter to you can work wonders in creating a positive, energetic workplace.

Understanding Employee Appreciation 

Employee appreciation is a simple concept. It simply means you recognize the contributions your employees make to the organization and acknowledge them. The term refers to any way your organization thanks employees for their efforts. This can take many forms, including verbal praise at appropriate times, longevity awards, bonuses, even extra time off.

Why Employee Appreciation Matters 

Why does employee appreciation matter? Because people like to feel that their work is valued, and that their employer sees and recognizes that value. No one wants to go to work feeling they’re nothing more than a cog in a machine.

Studies have shown that most employees who leave a company for another job don’t do so for more money, but rather because they don’t feel appreciated. If you want to reduce turnover and have a happier, more productive and engaged staff, it’s important to show you appreciate them.

The Importance of Recognition on Workplace Morale 

Recognition is a critical aspect of workplace morale. Employees who feel that their employer values them are much more likely to be engaged and motivated to perform at their peak. If you foster a sense of belonging, they’re more likely to go above and beyond the minimum in their daily performance.

Increasing Employee Engagement 

Employee engagement is one key to business success. The more employees “buy in” to the company’s mission and goals, the more productive they will be. Employee recognition gifts help foster that engagement, in a way that leads to greater productivity and a generally more positive workplace.  

Increasing Retention Rates 

It’s no secret that employee turnover is costly. It takes time and money to recruit, orient and train new employees. You lose productivity while a position is vacant, and morale can suffer among the rest of the staff. 

Reducing turnover is a guaranteed way to improve productivity, lower costs and boost workplace morale. Employee appreciation gifts are a time-tested way to do that. Everyone wants to feel they’re a valued part of the team. When they do, they’re more likely to stay with your organization for a longer term. Even the simplest gesture of appreciation helps create a sense of loyalty and positivity.

Enhancing Company Culture 

Giving gifts for employee appreciation strengthens your company culture. It helps reinforce your company values and creates a sense of belonging that leads to a more positive environment.

Encouraging Teamwork and Collaboration 

Celebrating milestones and special events with appreciation gifts benefits both the honored individuals and the organization as a whole. Employees who feel seen and appreciated work better together as a team, and focus more on collaborative goals.

Ideas for Employee Appreciation Gifts 

Now that we’ve explored the value of employee appreciation gifts and what they can do for your workplace, let’s consider some specific gift ideas. Thoughtful gifts will go far in helping create a strong, cohesive, engaged workforce for your company. Here are some example categories to consider:

Personalized Items

Personalized items such as engraved desk accessories, custom stationery or monogrammed apparel show thoughtful appreciation for specific recipients. 

Gift Experiences

Experiential gifts such as trips to amusement parks, spa vouchers, classes in topics such as cooking or scuba diving, make for a memorable adventure that can create a sense of appreciation and loyalty.

Practical and Useful Gifts 

Practical gifts such as productivity tools, ergonomic accessories or tech gadgets show consideration and understanding of the gift recipient’s everyday needs.

Gifts for Personal Development 

Gifts such as educational subscriptions, skill-building courses and the like show you recognize both an employee’s current performance and their future prospects. They show an investment in the recipient’s potential.

Group Celebrations and Activities 

Group celebrations and activities such as team movie or bowling outings, at-work picnics and team-building events create a sense of belonging and team spirit among employees.

Events such as these both show appreciation for group accomplishments, but also provide extra motivation for team members.

Budget-Friendly Employee Gift Ideas 

Despite what you might think, employee appreciation gifts don’t have to be expensive. You can thank your staff on just about any budget. The following are some budget-friendly employee appreciation ideas:

Low-Cost Subscriptions or Memberships 

Subscriptions or memberships to products or services can be an affordable appreciation tool. You can give digital subscriptions to news sources, magazines or online learning apps for surprisingly little money, while showing you care about your staff.

DIY Appreciation Gifts 

Personalized DIY gifts are an outstanding, low-cost way to show employees that you value their contribution. Handmade items such as painted mugs, custom photo frames or handmade soaps and candles demonstrate a personal touch that recipients are sure to value.

Digital Acknowledgements 

Another cost-effective, meaningful way to show your appreciation is with a digital audio or personalized video message. It’s a great way to say thank you for your employees’ hard work. Take the time to create a heartfelt, thoughtful message, and it will have a lasting effect on the recipients.

Low-Cost Promotional Products

Don’t forget that custom promotional products don’t have to be expensive. You can get custom items that your staff will enjoy for surprisingly little money. Work with a reputable provider such as TJM Promos to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Tips for Implementing an Employee Appreciation Program 

To ensure a positive and effective employee appreciation program, it’s important to consider several factors. Keep the following tips in mind to successfully implement a program within your organization.

Set Up a Recognition Calendar 

Start by creating a structured calendar that features important dates, such as work anniversaries, significant company milestones and employee birthdays. This will create a consistent framework and help prevent oversights and ensure that each employee is recognized throughout the year.

Include Staff at All Levels

Be sure your appreciation program includes everyone, from upper management to entry-level employees. This will help foster a sense of equality, and show that every team member’s work is important to the organization.

Create a Culture of Spontaneous Recognition 

One powerful way to improve morale is to encourage spontaneous recognition by employees for their coworkers efforts every day. Verbal praise, handwritten notes, even small gifts such as custom challenge coins all help create a positive work environment.

Seek Employee Input for Gift Selection 

If you want to really increase employee engagement, involve employees in the selection of appreciation gifts. That ensures that the items you offer will be relevant to their interests and preferences. 

Additionally, by seeking staff members’ input, you strengthen your connection with them. You’re demonstrating a genuine interest in them as individuals and appreciating their contributions.

Legal Considerations for Employee Gifts 

Keep in mind that appreciation gifts can have legal considerations attached. When in doubt, check with your human resources department to ensure full compliance with legal concerns, tax regulations and company policies. 

Tax Implications 

Don’t forget that employee gifts may have tax implications for both employees and the employer. The value of the gift can affect that tax situation for both. Once again, this is a matter that might require input from your HR department.

Gift Policies 

It’s crucial to establish clear, consistent gift policies up front. Your HR department needs to be involved in crafting these polices. To maintain fairness and transparency, such policies should address permissible gift-giving practices, reporting requirements (if any) and monetary limits on gifts. 

These policies will protect your organization from potential compliance issues and fairness complaints, and will ensure consistency among all departments.


Fairness is vital to the success of any appreciation program. Fair gift-giving practices are a must to prevent perceptions of favoritism and potential conflicts. Ensure that any gifts are distributed fairly and in line with company policies and guidelines. Any perception of unfairness will taint the appreciation program and undercut the team spirit you’re trying to build.

Measuring Employee Appreciation Efforts 

To know whether your employee appreciation and recognition efforts, you need to measure them. There are multiple ways to do this, including employee feedback and surveys, monitoring turnover and tracking productivity metrics.

Employee Feedback and Surveys 

Feedback and surveys from your employees give you firsthand knowledge of what they think of your program. Their direct responses allow you to evaluate their satisfaction and identify areas for improvement in your appreciation program. You also can use surveys to help determine which specific forms of recognition are the most meaningful to your workforce. Then you can tailor the program to their preferences and interests.

Monitoring Employee Turnover 

Monitoring turnover rates is a must for any business, not just for employee appreciation programs, but for the health of the business as a whole. Turnover is a critical indicator of the overall morale of your workforce. High turnover can show dissatisfaction and lack of engagement with the company. Low rates can indicate a positive work environment that employees appreciate. Tracking and analyzing turnover data allows you to take measures to improve retention, including the establishment of employee appreciation measures.

Productivity Metrics 

Productivity metrics can provide data on the effect of employee appreciation programs. You can measure productivity levels both before and after implementing recognition programs to determine the correlation between recognition and enhanced employee productivity. Useful metrics included key performance indicators (KPIs) such as efficiency improvements, team and individual outputs and rates of project completion.

Evaluating the success of an employee appreciation program depends on the ability to measure the effects. The combination of productivity metrics, employee feedback and surveys and monitoring turnover rates can produce valuable information about the effectiveness of the recognition programs.

TJM Promos can Provide Top Quality Corporate Gifts 

If you are seeking premium corporate gifts, TJM Promos offers a wide selection of high-quality products that are perfect for showing appreciation to employees, customers, or prospects. At TJM, we understand the significance of corporate gifting and provides top-notch items that can leave a lasting impression. 

Our corporate gift offerings feature a diverse range of products, from customized apparel and accessories to tech gadgets and luxury items. Our extensive collection ensures there is a suitable gift for every recipient, allowing you to personalize your approach and cater to the unique preferences of your gift recipients

With an emphasis on quality and customization, you can be sure that the corporate gifts you choose from TJM Promos reflect your brand's values, and express your gratitude in a meaningful way. Our dedication to excellence and attention to detail mean you can rely on us as a trusted partner for businesses seeking sophisticated and meaningful corporate gifting solutions. 

The Bottom Line: Employee Appreciation Gifts Boost YOUR Bottom Line 

As we’ve demonstrated, employee appreciation gifts can significantly affect workplace morale, motivation, and overall productivity. By recognizing and rewarding your employees’ hard work and dedication, your business can foster a positive work environment and reduce employee turnover.

With a wide range of thoughtful, personalized gift options available from TJM Promos, you have the opportunity to show your employees that you appreciate them in meaningful, significant ways. With a wide range of gifts available to fit virtually any budget, you have powerful tools to create a positive, appreciative culture in your workplace. The result will be a more engaged, upbeat, team-oriented workplace that benefits the organization as a whole.

Rick Cundiff

Rick Cundiff

Content Director, Blogger

Rick Cundiff spent 15 years as a newspaper journalist before joining TJM Promos. He has been researching and writing about promotional products for more than 10 years. He believes in the Oxford comma, eradicating the word "utilize," and Santa Claus.