The Best Employee Gifts for Increasing Loyalty

Most employers enjoy giving gifts to employees as a little extra “boost” during the holiday season, but sometimes it’s hard to know what is the perfect gift. So we asked employees: what gift did your boss or company give you (or your spouse) that made you feel more loyal to that company? Here are some of our favorite responses.

The best employee gifts, according to employees

“No lie, the owner pulled me aside and told me how much she appreciated me. Nothing major, but made my day.” –M.B.

“[My husband’s] company has the ‘fist bump club’ and they took him and four other people in front of the company and handed them each $500 just for doing a good job. They do this each quarter for different employees. Then his boss sent him a random email for no reason saying how happy he is to have him on their team. It was the boost he needed to know that he is right where he belongs.” –L.E.

“Roses for my wife and a family trip to Disney World for completing a successful deal.” –C.M.

“I got a gift card to Starbucks on the first day at a job and an Amazon gift card as a Christmas present. It wasn’t so much the actual gift, but the thought.” –E.H.

“One company I worked for had us show up for our normal work day, only to learn they had actually rescheduled all the patients and were instead loading us into cars for a day of shopping and dining. They even gave us spending money!” –A.O.

“Right before my wedding, my boss gave me 8 hours of paid leave to take before or after the wedding…this was in addition to my days off. It showed me that she really cared about what was going on my life outside of work, and wanted me to be happy.” –K.A.

“I have been given ‘time off’ awards with an accompanying letter of appreciation.  I could use it any time within a year. It made me feel like they recognized how hard it is to balance personal, family and work responsibilities and how precious time with my family is. I have received award money, too, but it didn’t mean as much to me. My boss started periodically checking with each of us to see what means more to each person: money, a gift, or time off. (Even if we chose one, we could let him know we changed our mind at any point.) Awards don’t come often, but it means a lot when they do, especially if it’s something you really want.” –M.E.

“When we managed apartments, the owner would randomly stop by for inspections. Every now and then during these inspections, he would give us cash, usually $50-$100, or he would tell us to go buy a nice dinner and send him the bill. He was always so generous and it was always at random times.” –A.F.

What gift should you give your employees?

Employers also gave us some ideas of what has worked well for them as employee gifts. Many mentioned the value of paid time off or even “surprise days off” that were outside of regular PTO plans to help employees recharge. Other ideas were embroidered swag and apparel, luncheons, murder mystery dinners, spa vouchers for anniversaries, short trips that include spouses and/or families, desk décor, and baby gift baskets. Corporate cell phone plans that include spouses are another great idea, with phone accessories as an additional gift. Perhaps the most thought-provoking comment about employee gifts was this: “To build loyalty, one must make the employee the hero in the eyes of their family.”

At the end of the day, employees will appreciate any thoughtful gift, whether it’s a thank-you note that expresses genuine appreciation, or an item that is purchased. The best insight we got from workers, however, is for employers to get to know their employees; learn what makes them tick and keep notes! Whether you’re developing a reward system for random awards throughout the year or simply want to provide a holiday boost, your meaningful efforts to reward them in a way that motivates them the most will pay off significantly with increased loyalty and a desire to work harder.

To get more morale-boosting ideas, please visit our Employee Morale category.

employee gifts

Looking for some employee gift ideas? Here are some suggestions.
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Brad Fagergren

Author Brad Fagergren

Brad has been a certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) since 2010. He services both local and multi-state client companies and is our in-house FMLA expert. Outside of work, you might spot Brad mentoring, chaperoning, watching, or participating in sports.

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