30 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts

30 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts
Last Updated: November 30, 2023


Employee appreciation gifts are a great way for you to show genuine care about your employees as a devoted manager. Giving your employees appreciation gifts is very thoughtful and is often received positively by employees.

Employee appreciation gifts can be a tool for multiple purposes in your organization. Research on employee appreciation gifts suggests that they can effectively make employees feel recognized and appreciated. These gifts can help employees feel valued and appreciated for their commitment and hard work.

According to the Society of Human Resources Management, apart from good pay and benefits, employees want to be fairly treated and to be valued and appreciated for their efforts. A good way to do this is for you to leverage employee appreciation gifts.

According to the Harvard Business Review, Fortune 500 businesses spend over $2,500 per employee per year on benefits and incentives but do not provide what their employees desire. Employees seek connection, progress, purpose, and a sense of appreciation more than flashy perks and benefits, all of which employee appreciation gifts offer.

Steel City recommends gifting useful desktop items, as they are normally well received by all employees. It is important to consider the needs and preferences of your employees when selecting these gifts. Incorporating the company logo or customizing items with the individual's name can make the gift even more special. Check out other best employee appreciation gifts below.

Related: How to implement employee recognition programs that will increase morale

What are good appreciation gifts for employees?


Like with any present, there are numerous possibilities, making it difficult to choose just what to give your employees as a token of your appreciation.

When I look at the case of employee appreciation gifts, I find that it is a relatively personal issue. As such, the choice of gifts should reflect this. For employee appreciation gifts, it is difficult for you to assume a one-size-fits-all approach. Research has found that pricey gifts may not always have the same impact as meaningful gifts that are thoughtful and genuine.

According to research by the employee engagement firm Snappy, based in New York City, around 80% of U.S. workers have received unwanted gifts, primarily from managers. This dilutes the whole purpose of employee appreciation gifts whilst financially costing your company.

When selecting employee appreciation gifts for various causes, it is important to dig deep into the recipients, as each individual has different needs and preferences.

The budget is a key issue when choosing good employee appreciation gifts. Budgets for employee appreciation gifts can vary from organization to organization. However, as a manager, having a budget that does not strain your organization and ensuring compliance with that budget is important.

According to a recent work-study by SHRM, the budget for employee appreciation gifts should be higher than 1% of the payroll. HR professionals in the survey reported that the appreciation gifts were "excellent" when the budget was at least 1% or more of the payroll.

O. C. Tanner recommends that businesses allocate $200 to $350 per employee annually for employee recognition.

Related: 40 Employee Appreciation Day Ideas

Types of appreciation at work

Employee appreciation can take different forms. As a manager, there are different types of appreciation at work at your disposal. This section looks at the 5 key types of appreciation at work.

1. Verbal Appreciation

It is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to show appreciation to your employees. It entails expressing gratitude in words for a worker's efforts. Saying "thank you" for a job well done, complimenting someone in a team meeting, or sending a sincere email can all be considered simple ways to show appreciation.

Verbal acknowledgement is important because it creates a nice work atmosphere and offers quick feedback. According to a recent survey, over 40% of employed Americans believe they would work harder if recognized more frequently, and 9 in 10 employees are more inclined to repeat a certain action after the action has been acknowledged.

Additionally, 85% of employees are satisfied with a simple "thank you" for their daily efforts and accomplishments.

2. Tangible Rewards and Gifts

Giving gifts and other tangible benefits is a concrete expression of gratitude. These could be personalized presents, company-branded goods, or even gift vouchers.

These presents can be presented for important events, such as birthdays or work anniversaries, or as a thank you for a job well done. According to Deloitte, recognition through rewards and gifts raises employee engagement, improving work performance and creating business value. This acknowledgement boosts worker performance, productivity, and engagement by 14%.

Choosing employee gifts requires careful consideration to ensure they are thoughtful, meaningful, and aligned with company culture. Consider personalizing gifts with the recipient's name or a special message. Ensure the gifts reflect the values and culture of the company, such as sustainability, if it's a priority.

Take into account individual preferences, considering hobbies, interests, and lifestyle. Employers must also factor in the occasion for giving the gift, whether it's a holiday, work anniversary, or special recognition. Establish and stick to a budget for fairness and consistency. Choose practical and high-quality gifts that are likely to be appreciated and used.

Opt for gifts with longevity and thoughtful presentation. Incorporate company branding subtly and seek employee feedback through surveys if unsure about preferences. Furthermore, consider legal and cultural aspects, ensuring appropriateness for all recipients. Choose gifts that offer flexibility, such as the option for exchanges or a selection of items.

3. Recognition and Awards

Awards and recognition programs are also useful ways to show employee appreciation. This could include certificates of commendation, performance-based bonuses, and employee of the month or year awards.

Recognizing an employee's outstanding work in front of coworkers and managers can increase their motivation and self-worth. It also promotes healthy rivalry and a sense of accomplishment.

According to research, awards have a high effectiveness rate in the workplace. According to a recent survey, 37% of workers said recognition was most important, while teams with the highest engagement levels saw 59% fewer turnovers.

4. Professional Development Opportunities

Investing in your employee's professional growth is a powerful form of appreciation. This may entail providing mentorship programs, workshops, training sessions, or courses. [Read More]. Employees' abilities are improved, and their long-term career happiness increases when they believe their employer is committed to their professional growth.

5. Peer-to-peer Recognition

Recognizing one another among peers is an essential type of appreciation. Employees who participate in this type of acknowledgement value and appreciate the contributions and efforts of their peers.

A Globoforce/Workhuman survey indicates that 41% of workers prefer recognition from a peer, and 37% prefer recognition from their bosses.

Peer-to-peer recognition is 36% more likely to have a positive impact on employees compared to manager-only recognition. Furthermore, peer acknowledgement is a major motivator for workers to go above and beyond, fortify relationships, and foster trust.

Related: 50 Employee Appreciation Ideas That Work

30 Best Employee Appreciation Gifts

Below is a rundown of some of the best employee appreciation gifts for you to consider and choose from. The list has been created using various literature sources that have found these most useful in organizations.

  1. Thank You Cards - A few handwritten words of gratitude can make a big difference!
  2. Customized Coffee Mug - Mugs bearing their name or a unique message.
  3. Gift Cards - To their favourite restaurant, online retailer, or store.
  4. Desk Plants - A small potted plant to brighten up their workstation.
  5. Custom Engraved Pen: A high-quality pen with the employees' name or a motivational message.
  6. Tech Gadgets: Consider wireless chargers, noise-cancelling headphones, or Bluetooth speakers.
  7. Spa or Wellness Vouchers: A gift certificate for a massage, spa day, or wellness retreat.
  8. Books: A bestseller, a self-help book, or something related to employee interests.
  9. Personalized Water Bottle: A reusable water bottle with the employee's name or design of something the employee likes.
  10. Gourmet Food Basket: A basket filled with delicious treats and snacks.
  11. Fitness Tracker: For those interested in wellness and health.
  12. Artisanal Chocolate: High-quality chocolates from a local chocolatier or exotic chocolates.
  13. Membership to a Streaming Service: Apple TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, or Showtime.
  14. Subscription Box: Consider monthly subscriptions like a book club, coffee, or gourmet meal kit.
  15. Company Branded Swag: T-shirts, hoodies, or other merchandise with the company logo.
  16. Custom Puzzle: A personalized jigsaw puzzle with a memorable image or message.
  17. Eco-Friendly Products: Reusable shopping bags, sustainable utensils, or a bamboo toothbrush set.
  18. Board Games: A fun board game or card game they can enjoy with family and friends.
  19. Workout Equipment: Dumbbells, resistance bands, or a yoga mat for home workouts.
  20. Home Office Upgrades: Items like a quality ergonomic chair, a standing desk converter, or a desk organizer.
  21. Cooking Class: A voucher for a cooking class to improve culinary skills.
  22. Handcrafted Jewelry: A unique piece of jewellery, such as a bracelet or necklace.
  23. Custom Portrait: A portrait of the employee or their family.
  24. Team Building Experience: Tickets to a team-building event, escape room, or adventure activity.
  25. Personalized Calendar: A custom calendar featuring photos and memories from the workplace.
  26. Wine or Whiskey Set: A bottle of fine wine or a whiskey set with glasses.
  27. Online Course: Enroll them in a course related to their interests or career development.
  28. Smart Home Device: A smart speaker or thermostat for their home.
  29. A Weekend Getaway: A gift certificate for a weekend retreat or hotel stay. 
  30. Cash Bonus: A cash reward or bonus can never go wrong.

Related: Employee recognition: What works and what does not work

When choosing your employees' gifts, always consider individual interests and preferences. Any present may be made much more memorable with a personal touch or a heartfelt message of appreciation. Additionally, ensure the gifts comply with the company's rules and regulations governing employee recognition and awards.

Cindy Baker
Brandon Murambinda
I am a highly organized and dedicated human resources practitioner and consultant with a passion for organizational design and development. I am also an experienced writer with a knack for creating clear, concise, and engaging content. I have hands-on experience managing human resource functions such as job evaluation, employee engagement, and organizational restructuring. I am also an enthusiast of human resource ethics.

Related Articles


Sign up now to get updated on latest posts and relevant career opportunities