All 12 Thoughtful Employee Gift Ideas to Recognize Your Employees’ Work

12 Thoughtful Employee Gift Ideas to Recognize Your Employees’ Work 

Use these thoughtful employee gift ideas to reward your employees for their hard work from home or from the office.

user icon Sara Ana Cemazar date icon October 4, 2020 clock icon 9 minutes
employee gift ideas
employee gifts

What are some good employee gift ideas? This question is often on mind of HR Professionals, especially the ones dealing with employee recognition and rewards.  

To come up with some good gift ideas for your employees, you need to know them and what they like. Therefore, you can conduct an employee survey before developing your gift strategy. 

🎁 In this article, you will find out about various employee gift ideas, and why it is important to reward your employees. Before you start, get our Employee Recognition Playbook to find out all about best ways to implement an employee recognition program in your organization. 

Non-Monetary Employee Gift Ideas  

It is true: employee gifts do not need to be expensive! One of the main lessons we learned about employee recognition and rewards programs is that non-monetary recognition also has great power to transform your company culture and employee experience. 

For example, employees prefer verbal “Thank you” for their day-to-day accomplishments and growth opportunity for significant accomplishments.  

employee gift ideas

Here are some other free employee gift ideas. 

1. Employee of the Month award 

Employee of the Month award is one of the most popular ways to recognize your employees. One of the most important aspects of this award is its publicity. Since it is visible to everybody, it stimulates a sense of proudness for the awarded employee, but it also inspires others to aim for the award. 

However, you should disperse this award only after establishing rules and conditions for getting the award. When it is assigned randomly, employee of the month award loses its purpose. 

2. Employee appreciation cards 

Appreciation cards can be great employee gift. If they are personal and sincere, the chances are they will really make someone’s day! Moreover, if they are printed and given in a nice envelope, they are a standalone gift that employees really cherish. 

🎁 Get our editable employee appreciation cards and customize them with one of these employee appreciation quotes! 


3. Framed photo 

A key to a good employee gift is to make it personal. This will make employee feel valued and part of the team. One of such ideas is to frame a photo – it can be from team building, or it can be a funny picture that reflects on an internal joke. Sign it and present it to your employees on special occasions. 

4. Shout out on social media 

Commending your employees’ hard work, dedication and success on social media is a great way to showcase your appreciation. As a matter of fact, it is also an awesome employer branding activity. Try to include it in your practice since it is an effortless way to show your employee appreciation and has multiple benefits. 

5. A good parking spot 

Giving someone a parking spot near to the company entrance has long been an established practice associated with employee promotion. It still represents a good employee gift idea, but make sure you do not give it to someone who has no use of it! Moreover, a good parking spot can be awarded on monthly basis if you want to have it as an award for Employee of the Month. 

6. Day off 

Did you know that employees with 5 years of working experience get only 15 days of vacation on average in the US? This presents a good opportunity to give your employees some extra days off as a gift for job well done. In fact, getting more vacation time is one of most popular employee benefits, with 80% of employees considering more vacation time important when signing up for a job. 

employee benefits

Employee Gift Ideas during COVID-19 

COVID-19 has disrupted many workplaces and posed a challenge for HR Professionals around the globe. Suddenly, many employees started working remote. In the US, the percentage of employees working from home rose from 33 to 61%This also posed a challenge for employee recognition, since in many companies it rested on in-person appreciation and group gatherings. 

Here are our employee gift ideas that you can use while your employees work from home during COVID-19. 

1. Book 

Do your employees like to read? This employee gift idea is perfect for bookworms that love cozying up with their favorite book. During challenging times of COVID-19, it is important to help your employees maintain their mental health, so you can try giving them a book that helps them overcome their anxiety and stress. If you do not think that is a good idea, try with literary classics. 

2. Prepaid card 

Prepaid cards are very popular employee gifts, with 88% Millennials choosing it as their favorite type of monetary reward. 

employee gift ideas

It is not surprising that prepaid cards are such a popular employee gift option, since they give employees the opportunity to buy something they really want. In a way, it is a bullet proof option that gives employees the greatest choosing power. 

3. Streaming service provider subscription 

Since during COVID-19 pandemic employees mostly work from home, why not give them subscription to Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services? This is a good employee gift idea since these services have been widely popular, and even more so during pandemic. 

4. Dinner or delivery coupon 

If you were in the office, you would probably treat your employees with team lunch or have Pizza Fridays. Giving your employees a dinner or food delivery coupon is a nice way to showcase your employee recognition, especially if you know which restaurant they like the best. 

5. Spa day 

Did you know that 67% of employees report higher stress levels during COVID-19? 

employee wellbeing

This is exactly why it is important to keep up with your employee wellbeing practicesSpa day or massage coupon are therefore good employee gift ideas. Moreover, they can really help your employees relax, destress and increase their productivity levels. 

6. Gift baskets  

If you really want to lift your employees’ morale during these unprecedented times, you need to make your employee gifts useful and personalIf you send a gift basket filled with company merch, snacks or something else, attach a nice card showing your appreciation. This old-fashioned employee gift idea shows that you went out of the way to appreciate your employees’ hard work. 

When to Give out Gifts to Your Employees 

When should you be giving out gifts to your employees? The answer is simple – whenever you can. More specifically, this depends on your employee recognition budget. When organizations invest 1% or more of payroll in the program, HR professionals estimate it as most successful. However, there are some well-established occasions on which employees are given gifts.  

Employee anniversaries 

Employees are often given gifts on occasion of their work anniversaries. They represent employees’ loyalty to the company and are the most common work-related milestone celebrated in companies. 

🎁 Check out our employee service awards guide to get more ideas on rewarding your employees on their work anniversaries. 

Completing a project 

When your employees complete a complex project, it would be nice to reward them with a gift. However, you need to establish your employee recognition strategy first and see what will be the exact criteria for calling a project successful – this is something that will depend on type of work your employees carry out. 

Achievement and performance 

Not only completing projects calls for giving out employee gifts – other achievements and performance indicators present a good opportunity to reward your employees. What matters the most is to have an employee recognition strategy set out so your employees see their gifts as a reward for work well done. 

🎁 Check out these 6 reasons why employee recognition is crucial for company’s success. 

employee recognition ebook

Personal achievements and events 

Personal events such as birthdays, birth of a child or graduation should be recognized at work. After all, these events are a big part of your employees’ lives. Giving out gifts on such occasions will form a stronger tie between your organization and its employees. 

Career advancement 

You should accompany your employees’ career advancement with an appropriate gift, but the growth opportunity could be perceived as the gift itself. 68% of employees believe that training and development are company’s most important policies. Moreover, investing in employee development encourages employee retention and innovation. 

employee growth opportunity

Why You Should Reward Your Employees’ Work

It is no secret that employee recognition is one of the best ways to induce higher employee motivation and productivity. If you want to see the best results from your gift-giving practices, you should align your recognition practices with your company’s vision, mission and goals. To be more specific, you need to encourage the behavior you want to see by appreciating it with gifts. 

Here are some of the most important benefits you could see if you apply our employee gift ideas. 

Higher employee engagement 

Employee engagement is crucial in every workplace. It is the best indicator of employee productivity, retention and company culture. 

It is important to engage employees even if they work remote. 74% of employees say that they find it important to receive rewards from their employer during remote work. 

employee engagement

Employee turnover 

If your employees feel appreciated for the work they do, they will be more inclined to keep working at your company. Most HR Professionals’ KPIs include reducing the turnover rate, and introducing the employee recognition program with well-implemented employee gift ideas is one of the most effective ways to improve retention rates. 

Employee productivity 

It is no secret that when employees are recognized and engaged, they are more productive. This makes perfect sense since employees are more motivated to work when their efforts are recognized according to 78% of US workers. 

employee motivation productivity

Company culture 

Appreciation of employees’ work is something that consequently leads to improved company culture that rests on recognition. According to 2016 SHRM studypeer-to-peer recognition makes 90% of employees more satisfied with their work. Therefore, allow employees themselves to present some employee gift ideas they would like to give to their coworkers! 

Business results 

As you probably know, a well-designed and carefully implemented employee recognition program impacts your business in several ways. When employee engagement, productivity and retention are high, employees innovate more and give more attention to resolving customers’ issues. Consequently, business results are improved, and profitability is at its peak. 

Since it all starts with employee recognition and we’ve shown you how employees like to have a choice in the gifts they receive, check out our employee recognition platform JobPtsIts rich catalogues with thousands of employee gift options, all without markups, allow your employees to get the best recognition experience on the market.