Workplace GiftGiven a choice between a workplace gift or a cash bonus, research shows employees value gifts more.
It seems paradoxical — who doesn’t love free money? — but the impersonal, unwrapped nature of bonuses actually drives employee motivation and satisfaction less than a thoughtful, personalized gift. Several studies have come to this surprising conclusion, writes Ray Fisman in a Harvard Business Review blog post titled “Forget About That Cash Bonus.”
In one German experiment, researchers hired students to file library books for a morning. One group was given a cash bonus representing a 20% pay hike, while members of another group each received a gift-wrapped water bottle, equal in value to the bonus.
What the researchers discovered should perk the ears of any manager. The cash bonus had no effect on the students’ speed or accuracy filing books. Meanwhile, those who received the gift-wrapped bottle “upped their data entry rate by 25%, a productivity increase that more than offset the cost of the bottle itself,” Fisman writes.
In essence, it truly is the thought that counts.
Fisman concludes, “Even the smallest gesture of kindness that shows they’re part of an organization that actually cares can give them purpose — and that leads to motivation.”
So what sorts of gifts really convey your genuine gratitude to employees? Follow the Three P’s of giving workplace gifts!
Practical. The memory of the 2008 Great Recession has not yet faded, and businesses and employees alike are still in a frugal, practical state of mind. A study earlier this summer found the majority of consumers are using gift cards for necessities, not treats. Gifts with no real practical use won’t have the same impact as a gift certificate or a houseware that meets an everyday need. Think about what your employees and their families can really use. Just be sure your gift isn’t so routine and everyday that it doesn’t feel special (socks, anyone?).
Pretty. Presentation matters, so dress it up. In another study on gift-giving, quoted in Fisman’s Harvard Business Review post, researchers found that a 5 Euro note folded into an origami shirt was well-received by participants. The monetary value was the same as handing over a bill, of course, but turning the money into a work of art impressed study participants and ultimately boosted their productivity.
Personalized. (But don’t get personal.) It would be inappropriate to give employees cologne, pajamas or religious artwork, but it is appropriate to personalize your gift, either through monogramming, a handwritten note, a photo or other signifier that shows you’re giving with the specific employee in mind. The gift certificates gThankYou! offers, for example, are all customizable and come with free “thank you” cards that have space for a personalized note of gratitude.

For more ideas on great workplace gifts, download our free Employee Gift Giving Guide today by clicking the image below.

Workplace Gift - Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift Giving

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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.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.
gThankYou, LLC ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at or 888-484-1658.
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Gift Certificates

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Recipient and Giver names (optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.