The end result is that workers can feel more annoyed by a gift than if they hadn’t received anything — like, Yeesh, now I have to lug this home because I don’t want the boss to see it in my office trash. Obviously, that’s not an optimal outcome, especially not when at least one recent report says employers spend an average of almost $80 per employee on holiday gifts.
While we can’t guarantee you’ll find the perfect present for everyone on your team, we can offer a few critical tips and suggestions for employee gifts for the holidays.
Tip 1: Money Isn’t Everything
Don’t let that $80 figure upset you. Not only are you not obligated to spend so much, the value of a gift to the recipient also doesn’t necessarily correlate with its cost. As an expert quoted in an HR Dive discussion of good employee gifts for the holidays says, “The best holiday gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive, but show an understanding of the recipient.”
Makes sense. Would you rather have, for instance, $500 worth of movie gift certificates if you never go out to the movies, or a $50 gift card to your favorite coffee shop? This comes down to the difference between recognizing and appreciating employees.
Money, of course, can be very welcome in the form of a holiday bonus. Just be careful that you’re issuing them fairly. Employee gifts for the holidays should bring joy, not cause resentment.
Tip 2: Be Consistent — But Treat People Like Individuals
Writing for Fundera, Rieva Lesonsky advises: “Choose a price range for your gifts that’s reasonable for your business and one you can stick to in the coming years even if your budget gets tighter.” You might not want to get your employee Jill and her cubemate Jack the same gift — if he’s a caffeine fiend, he might love a desktop coffee warmer; while she, with her green thumb, may prefer an elegant succulent that sits next to her monitor. That’s fine; just don’t spend $50 on one of them and $8 on the other. They’re likely to notice the discrepancy, and it could have a deleterious effect on both their relationship with you and their relationship with each other. At the same time, don’t be too rigid: Small differences ($5-$10) are fine. Most people will be much happier with a gift suited to their wants and needs than upset that you spent a little more to make a co-worker feel just as appreciated.
If a gift is customizable, that works too and is a way to get everyone the same thing while making it theirs. Whatever you land on, do maintain about the same budget from year to year, as Lesonsky suggests. If you decide to go overboard at the end of an unusually successful year, that’s probably OK. Just make sure your employees understand it’s a special occasion and not the new normal in employee gifts for the holidays.
Tip 3: Shared Experiences Are Treasured
We know that shared experiences make for better learning and stronger teams. But research has shown that even outside of work, shared experiences tend to make us happier and strengthen our memories of the experience. This is probably because social needs fall just below air, water, food, and shelter as critical to our well-being.
If you want to give employee gifts for the holidays that will be remembered and treasured, look for ideas that will allow employees to spend time with other people. There’s a good chance they’ll look back on your gift as something truly special for years to come.
Tip 4: Make It Personal
We harp on this one a lot, but only because it’s so crucial: Whatever employee gifts for the holidays you decide on, do everything you can to deliver them in person (with a big smile and a handshake) and include a handwritten note. Both of these things are gestures that demonstrate that you see your employees as people and sincerely care enough to spend a few minutes acknowledging that.
A Few Ideas for Employee Gifts for the Holidays
- Gifts for someone’s work space are nice — as long as you know their style.
- If your employees travel for work, there are useful and inexpensive travel accessories out there.
- Tickets to shows, fun classes, and food items can be a wonderful treat, and mean way less clutter!
- One of the most popular employee gifts for the holidays, across all industries, is time off from work. (And it requires a lot less wrapping on your part, too.)
Of course, we want to remind you: If you’re looking for a customizable, inexpensive gift that can be part of a happy memory, gThankYou! Turkey and Ham Gift Certificates or any of our other Certificates of Gratitude make perfect employee gifts for the holidays. You can also order and get them delivered quickly (in large quantities if necessary), in case you’re still looking as we get closer to year’s end! Find out how they work now.
Whatever gifts you decide on, we wish you and your employees the very happiest of holiday seasons!
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.
Download it FREE today!
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