The Secret to Great Employee Holiday Gifts
Do an internet search for “choosing the right employee holiday gifts” and you’ll find story after story about bosses who made the wrong choice.
Usually these anecdotes of bad holiday gifts include branded clothing in the wrong size or something too personal or potentially inappropriate, like perfume or alcohol.
It’s easy to get disheartened and opt for what seems like the easy choice: cash.
But, as Inc. columnist Rebecca Hinds writes, “gifts of cash have little more impact than lumps of coal.”
It’s not that your holiday cash bonus won’t be appreciated — it will — but nothing can replace a thoughtful, meaningful token of gratitude that you’ve chosen for employees to enjoy.
What makes a great employee gift is the gratitude you share with it.
And there’s more to sharing gifts than passing them out. Employee holiday gifts count most when shared in a workplace culture that values appreciation. Sharing your employee holiday gift is a priceless opportunity to share your appreciation for your team’s hard work, contributions and loyalty to your business.
The good news is that insights like these make choosing employee holiday gifts easier. Choosing holiday gifts to share with employees should be rewarding and simple!
Read on for the latest research on workplace gifts and appreciation to help you choose your company’s employee holiday gifts this season.
Choose Employee Holiday Gifts Like a Pro
Why do gifts have such a longterm impact on employee engagement?
“While cash is more practical, in-kind gifts convey the notion that an employer has taken time to hand-select an item. Employees feel more valued, with the result that they are more satisfied. Productivity increases as a result,” Inc. columnist Rebecca Hinds writes.
She cites as an example a study published by German and Swiss researchers that found gifts are far more motivating than cash:
As part of the study, one group was gifted with a water bottle worth about seven Euros. The other received seven Euros in cash. Productivity among employees who received the water bottle increased by 25 percent — an increase that more than offset the cost of the bottle itself. In contrast, productivity among those who received the cash remained stagnant.
Now this is where the study gets interesting. When offered the choice between the water bottle and seven Euros, 80 percent of subjects opted for the cash.
It’s counterintuitive, but many of us have learned to de-prioritize gratitude in the workplace despite growing research that shows how valuable it is.
The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley examined this contradiction in a recent blog post:
“Gratitude is not thriving in the workplace. In fact, people are less likely to feel or express gratitude at work than anywhere else, and managers tend to underestimate their employees’ need to feel appreciated. It seems that the myths and misconceptions we have about gratitude hold even greater sway in our professional life, an environment where we’re more used to displaying power and gravitas than authenticity and emotion.
Greater Good’s Amie M. Gordon identifies four common objections to gratitude in the workplace — that it’s forced, fake, “fluffy” and undermines authority.
She debunks all of these objections.
“Encouraging leaders and followers alike to take the time to say thanks when there is something to be thankful for will boost genuine acts of gratitude, no inauthenticity necessary,” Gordon writes.
Moreover, how gratitude is shared in your company is up to you. There’s no cookie-cutter for employee appreciation. Whatever fits your company culture is best.
“Gratitude doesn’t have to be a long love letter to your employees every week. … It can be gift cards as part of an employee recognition program or recognizing people’s accomplishments on projects at meetings. It can be making sure employee evaluations identify strengths as well as weaknesses,” Gordon writes.
When it comes to employee holiday gifts, your goals are simple. Your gift should:
- Celebrate in the joyful spirit of the season
- Be something special that employees can enjoy with family and friends
- Make life a little easier
- Clearly express your appreciation and excitement for the New Year
Gift Certificates and gift cards are particularly effective, according to Inc.’s Hinds, because they compel employees “to treat themselves to something specific,” she writes.
Meanwhile, “cash gifts typically go straight to the bank — to paying bills and other expenses.
“The opportunity to treat oneself without feeling guilt or remorse — an opportunity that uniquely is afforded by gift cards — speaks to why 8 of 10 employees prefer gift cards over other incentives.”
And, last but certainly not least, share your gift with a personal message of appreciation, whether in person, in a holiday card or via a handwritten note. It’s your sincere gratitude that will make your gift meaningful and memorable for employees.
Learn More: Download gThankYou’s Guide to Better Employee Holiday Gifts
Inspired to give amazing employee holiday gifts this year and share your seasonal gratitude in your workplace? Download your FREE copy of gThankYou’s Ultimate Employee Gift-Giving Guide and begin the process now — just in time for holiday appreciation and gift-giving!
gThankYou’s new, updated Ultimate Employee Gift-Giving Guide has fresh case studies, more resources and the latest research in HR management. It’s the perfect resource for planning employee gift-giving at the holidays and recognition efforts for the New Year.
About gThankYou, LLC
Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any grocery store in the U.S. Find out more: gThankYou Gift Certificates.
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