A well-thought-out gift can show appreciation, boost morale, and improve retention. This guide will help you simplify the giving process and find the gifts that employees want most.
You might already give nonmonetary gifts to your employees during the holidays, but gift giving can be an effective year-round way to recognize employees, build retention, boost morale, and promote connection among your staff. You can make your employees feel more valued and foster company loyalty by giving gifts on birthdays, work anniversaries, and other milestones. However, it’s important to avoid a one-size-fits-all strategy since an impersonal item can backfire and make an employee feel underappreciated. “Gifting is a gesture that says this company cares, they see me, and I matter to them,” says &Open cofounder and CEO Jonathan Legge. Follow these tips to give thoughtful gifts your employees will love.
Your gifts are more likely to be well received if you do some research before gifting. One way to do this is to survey your employees via tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms about the types of gifts they’d like to receive. For instance, you could have employees rate certain gift ideas in order of preference or ask open-ended questions, and employees can answer by naming specific items. Or you can give your staff Amazon, Mastercard, Visa, or another gift card and encourage them to pick out something they’d enjoy. Alternatively, you could allocate employees’ credit to your company store to buy branded swag.
Use a gifting platform
You can increase the odds that your gift will be well-liked if employees are presented with a choice. Gift cards offer flexibility but can seem impersonal to some people. An alternative is to use a gifting platform, such as &Open, Giftpack, or Snappy. Some of these online gifting services use AI technology or questionnaires to find the most suitable items for you to give or allow employees to choose what they want from a selection of products. For instance, among the many unique products available through &Open are knitted wool socks from Ireland, a brass bird feeder from Sweden, and an Italian water carafe. You supply basic information about your recipients, and the gifting platforms handle the logistics, track when the shipments arrive, and share satisfaction reviews after the items are received.
Gift an experience
Giving experiences instead of wrapped gifts is becoming more popular, especially as more people look for low- or zero-waste gifting solutions. Instead of wrapping a physical gift, you could send your employee to a show or concert, a dinner at a gourmet restaurant, a day at a spa, or an evening wine-tasting class. Several gifting platforms, such as Blueboard, offer experiential gifts like these. You could also plan an experience for your employees, such as inviting a massage therapist to your workplace and treating employees to a half-hour seated massage. For remote employees, you could give them a massage-spa gift card or membership.
Make it job-related
Your employees are sure to love a gift that will brighten their workdays or aid their careers. For instance, you could help your team look more professional by gifting everyone a professional headshot, a desktop vacuum cleaner for tidying their desktops or computer keyboards, a charging station to charge their cellphones and other devices, or gift a MasterClass subscription so they can work on improving their knowledge and skills. Or go retro and gift an engraved luxury rollerball pen.
Employees may appreciate opportunities that allow them to positively impact their communities or help improve social and environmental issues. You can gift time off to help a cause of their choice, such as volunteering at a food drive or neighborhood cleanup. Alternatively, you can create a charitable matching program and match a certain percentage of employees’ monetary donations to charitable programs. You can customize your match program by setting a yearly budget for charitable matches and implementing employee and recipient eligibility criteria. A plus to such a program is that it could also help boost your company’s reputation and branding, as people like to work with brands that benefit charitable causes, and it could offer tax benefits to both you and your employees.
One alternative approach to gifting employees is offering small gifts throughout the year instead of giving a larger one once or twice a year. Or you could gift subscription boxes, through which giftees receive items along a certain theme a few times a year. These gifts can suit a variety of interests, such as books, coffee, and food. Some popular subscription boxes include BarkBox (dog treats and gifts), Book of the Month, FabFitFun (fashion), and Goldbelly (fresh food from top restaurants). Subscription boxes come in a wide variety of price ranges, with some costing less than $25 a month.
Offer time off
In today’s busy world, an extra day or two away from work could be one of the best gifts you can offer. If you’d like to recognize an employee, share some holiday cheer, or celebrate a work milestone, you could give employees an additional paid holiday for their birthday, or provide a long lunch, a few hours off, an extra holiday, or an additional paid day off of their choice. One fun way to gift time off is to add a fun paid holiday, such as International Thank you Day (January 11), National Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17), National Employee Appreciation Day (the first Friday in March), and National Relaxation Day (August 15), if they fall on a workday. Encourage employees to take the time to do something fulfilling, relaxing, or fun. They may return to work appreciating their job even more.
TAKE ACTION: Create a questionnaire to gauge the types of gifts your employees will most value, and use that information to plan a year’s worth of gifts for your employees.