Good employers reward staff with more than a paycheck. They recognize excellent workplace performance with gifts that build workers’ self esteem and motivate them to continue contributing their best efforts to your business. And you know what? Happier employees month means happier customers, and that leads to repeat business.
One tool that will help you remember employee appreciation opportunities is. Gusto, best known for its payroll software, also keeps track of employees’ birthdays, work anniversaries, and promotions.
Here are the top 25 employee appreciation gift ideas from the pros:
1. Snuggie: -
Deborah Sweeney, CEO,
Our most prized employee appreciation idea was last year’s winter gift: Snuggies, branded with our logo. It is hilarious because we’re based in sunny Los Angeles, but our employees would always complain about being cold. So, we bought branded snuggies, and they wear them everyday! It was reasonably priced and a true home-run gift.
2. Business Cards: -
Kim Turnage, PhD, Senior Leadership Consultant and Larry Sternberg, JD, Talent Plus Fellow and Board Member,
The best employee gift we ever gave was personalized for hourly employees. This gift really made them feel important, because in our society only important people have business cards. We know this because numerous employees told us how meaningful it was. The best gift is something that recognizes that you pay attention and know something about an individual’s interests and things they enjoy. The more you know about someone, the better you are able to personalize and individualize a gift that’s meaningful – regardless of the dollar amount.
3. Sleep Mask: -
Peter Yang, Co-Founder,
I always heard complaints from my employees that they were not sleeping well, so our company bought everyone a high-end sleep mask for Christmas. I’ve always taken great care in ensuring that I have a good night’s rest, so I have tested many sleep masks in the past. This one is my favorite, as it contains a luxurious memory foam that truly soothes the eyes. Virtually all of my employees had great things to say after trying it out, and there are almost no more complaints around the office about poor sleep anymore!
4. Teapot: -
Sophia Bland, Co-Founder,
We have a lot of tea connoisseurs in the office, and for good reason. Our employees spend all day speaking with clients, and certain teas can really soothe and protect your throat so that you don’t lose your voice. This being the case, I decided to get everyone a teapot as a holiday gift. Everyone loved it, and many of them keep theirs at the office so they can enjoy their favorite tea while working.
5.Spa Gift Certificate: -0
Priyanka Prakash, Editor,
A gift certificate for a spa treatment or massage makes a great employee appreciation gift idea because it shows the employee that you care about their personal health and well being. At a time when work/life balance is more important than ever, a gift certificate for a spa or massage makes a nice statement. It’s also memorable because it’s an experience, not an item. I received a massage as a gift from my team before I took my maternity leave last winter. I wouldn’t have spent that much money on myself if it were left to me, but thanks to my colleagues, I was able to treat myself, and it showed that they cared.
6. Game or Concert Tickets: -0
Paul Koger, Head Trader | Founder,
We offer these gifts whenever we have a difficult month at the office to lighten up the mood. The tickets have to be for something they like (favorite team / theater / band), which is easy to find out if you have a small business. It costs little, but the reward in employee satisfaction is noticeable.
Tommy O’Rourke, Domestic Coordinator, Global Forest Industry
The best employee appreciation gift was given to me by a former boss. My neck, shoulders, and back were aching from sitting in my chair 9 hours a day. My boss gave me a BodyworksBall, which I use several times a day to stand and roll away stress and muscle aches, so when I go home, I’m not aching from sitting at my computer, I’m feeling great. I also use it after I finish coaching hockey on my feet at night. My boss left the company 4 years ago, but I think about her each day when I use her thoughtful gift.
8. Personalized Music Item: -0
Nora Cottrill, Community Manager,
We had an employee go through a tough few months due to family and health concerns. She was well-liked by everyone on our small team. We all felt for her and admired her resilience. Two of her favorite things are writing and playing drums (she’s in a female punk rock band). I ordered a drumsticks set, engraved with a line from her favorite poem. We presented it as a team and needless to say, there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. She loved it!
9. Something Personal: -0
Laura Jennings, CEO,
I find something, without a logo, that speaks to our shared values and interests. It can be glasses made of recycled products, or shirts made by a women’s cooperative in Haiti — it must mean something. It must have a story. The best gift is one that says “I know something about you”. This is the highest form of flattery for an employee to see that the boss really notices and cares about them. So I would be sure to include a “why” with even the simplest gift..”I thought you’d appreciate this insulated tumbler because you always seem to be nuking your coffee.”
10. Sephora Gift Card:
Cindy Hayes, Sales Director,
With the exception of myself and our owner, our team is made up of all females 30 and under. So every year I buy them each a Sephora gift card. I know they love it because they’ve told me it’s one of the best gifts they receive. As a matter of fact, they usually start asking if that’s what I’m planning for the upcoming season when the holidays start rolling around.
11. The Fisher Space Pen: -
Gabriel Reyes, President,
I gave employees the popular Fisher Space Pen, and they loved it. It is not only beautiful but easy to carry and always functions. Writes upside down, at any angle, under water, over grease, and in harsh conditions. It is a gift they can always use and can be engraved or hot stamped with a logo or message.
12. As Seen on TV: -
Laura Handrick, HR Writer,
I’m a sucker for As Seen On TV gifts, whether Copper Chef pans (nothing sticks), Flex Seal Liquid (can seal a boat!) or a Handy Can Opener. I always want to buy them, but don’t want to give in to the advertising, or give out my credit card information to a call center. So as an HR professional here at Fit Small Business, I think a great employee gift would be something current, clever, and even a little bit quirky like this Shower Wow, based on an As Seen On TV commercial. I’d attach a note that said, “Wow! You’re the Best!”
Source: United By Blue
Brian Linton, Founder employee of the month certificate with photo and CEO,
Hats, both men’s and women’s, are often gifted to employees. The pom beanies in particular are great gift items, especially with the colder northeast winters.
It’s clear that our employees enjoy these hats as they’re often seen wearing them around the office, at our waterway cleanups, and at our company camping retreats.
14. Grocery Gift Cards: -0
Christoph Seitz, CEO,
Our office held an employee appreciation event where we had a catered lunch. I also purchased and distributed them throughout the office to each of my employees. I’m certain of one thing – all of my employees love food, and they all need to eat. I figured this was a great way to show my appreciation for their hard work and dedication, while lightening the load of their monthly grocery bill.
15. Mobile Desktop: -80
Dan Roberge, President,
We have a lot of employees who work remotely, which means they’re frequently on their laptops. To show my appreciation for their hard work, I purchased them a that can be placed on their armchair, lap, bed, or couch. It was only per desk, but totally worth every dollar. Each of my employees has expressed their gratitude, as they’re able to work from anywhere with ease and comfort.
16. Photo Tiles: -49
David Siracusa, Owner,
This gift is based upon Mixtiles, little pictures that are made from your own photographs. The nice thing about this gift is that it is relatively inexpensive and can be personalized to each employee. If someone got 0,000 in sales in a month, we determined that to be worth a trip to Orlando. So we got a picture of Orlando and then put congratulations with their name and the total dollar amount that they sold for the month on that picture. The tiles made the award vibrant, and they can put them up anywhere they want in their offices or homes.
17. Recognition Certificate with Gift Card: -0
Kimmie Marek, MS, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner,
goes a long way! Rather than spending a lot of money on a single employee, try creating a recognition certificate that recognizes specific employee qualities and their contributions. Present the certificate publicly. You can include a small gift card as a token of appreciation, but the public recognition and certificate will really show your small business employee that you’re grateful for all their efforts.
18. Healthy Lifestyle Gifts: -
Scott Caldwell, President,
I give passes to fitness classes () and gift certificates to a produce delivery service, Hungry Harvest. Employees had previously mentioned their zest for these activities and quickly used them. No matter the gift, we want it to be special and unique to the individual. Meaningful gifts are a great way to illustrate our firm’s investment in the individual.
19. Splurge on a Trip: 0-00
Ross Sapir, President,
My employees work so hard everyday to make this business successful, and I want to do just as much for them in return. I gave one of my top performing employees, Chakira Powers, Director Customer Success Team, a trip to Hawaii as she has been a loyal employee at Roadway for 8 years. Her goal everyday is to make sure our customers are happy at the end of every move, and if they aren’t, to remedy the situation immediately. She not only works well with our customers, but has built a responsive and caring department. She said it was literally the best experience of her life outside the birth of her son, and she has been in love with Hawaii ever since.
20. Wine or Whiskey Gift Bag: -
Nate Burlando, Owner,
Last Christmas, I wanted to give something original to my crew instead of the standard; something no one would think to get them. So, I decided to create a whiskey smoker gift bag. Smoking whiskey is something I heard about from an old friend, and thought my guys would enjoy it. So I bought some glass decanters online along with apple and cherry wood sticks to add some flavour undertones to the smoke taste. It was a great hit and all in all only cost me about, but cost can vary depending on the decanter.
21. Winter Coat: -0
Sharon Root, Owner,
We’ve always provided uniforms with our logo. But employees loved getting winter coats with the company logo too because they didn’t want to ruin their good jackets doing service work. They’re warmer while they’re traveling to/from jobs, and it helped market our brand because they wore them all the time, not just at work. We’ve started giving them a new one every winter at the.
22. MyPillow: -
Mike Lindell, Owner,
Sleep affects everything we do, and getting a good night’s sleep leaves people refreshed and energized. I give a MyPillow to all my employees. When our employees use a MyPillow at night, we know they will come in the next morning well rested and ready to work. Once employees start using a MyPillow and know the difference it makes for them, they have the same passion I have to provide a quality product and share MyPillows with customers around the world.
Sometimes the best gift doesn’t cost a penny. It’s the personalization of your kind words, and recognition of employee efforts that counts and helps employees feel valued. Read our article on to get a sense of how to recognize top performance in your company and reward team members for their great work.
24. Mall Shopping Spree: 0
Sharon Fisher, CEO,
I took my entire team to a mall and gave each person a 0 gift card. At the end, we went to a bar and everyone shared / modeled what they got. It was really fun perusing the purchases and turned the whole idea of a 0 gift card into something entirely different that they will remember. We’re still talking about it!
There were three rules. First, spend it on something for YOU! No buying anything for anybody else. Second, spend it on something you really WANT – not something practical. So if you want shoes – no practical flats, get those flashy heels. Third, you have one hour to shop. Any money not spent will be donated to charity.
25. Bus or Transit Pass: -0 per month
Max Robinson, Owner,
I gave one of my employees an annual bus pass, and they claimed that it changed their life. The pass was only available to people who had exclusive memberships, and I qualified. I got a huge discount on the pass, but I was only allowed one. I gifted it to my employee because they travel to work everyday on the bus, and I’m aware that the prices regularly increase. They were very grateful as they knew that it was a very exclusive pass that would usually cost literally thousands.
Commuter passes can also be part of an employee benefits package. Read to learn more.
Over to You
Rewarding your employees with more than just is a great way to ensure they continue behaving in ways you desire, such as providing great customer service or meeting sales objectives. The recognition gift you choose doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be personal, and it should have value to the individual receiving it.
We hope the employee appreciation ideas provided above will inspire you to come up with your own. We’d love to hear what you came up with, what it cost, and how it was received by your employees. As for me, I’m still waiting for the Copper Chef cookware to arrive!
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