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Gifts for Employees: What to Give and What Not to Give

Whether it is in recognition for a work achievement, to celebrate a birthday, holiday or end of the year, or for a work anniversary, giving your employees gifts can be a great way to show them that you appreciate them and their work. Selecting the right gifts for employees can sometimes be a challenge.

To help you with your gift selection, here is a list of items employee say they want and a few items employees do not appreciate.

Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through the links provided, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.


Gifts for Employees: Gifts to Give

Before we jump into what to give your employees, let’s quickly discuss why gift giving is important.

Giving gifts is an opportunity to build rapport and enhance relationships. Dedicated employees want to feel like they are more than just a worker. Meaningful and well-timed gifts can help prove just that.


Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

In most cases, gift cards or gift certificates are the most wanted gift.

While all types of gift cards seem to be appreciated, the favorites among employees tend to be those for general/big box stores (Amazon, Target, Walmart) or for a local grocery store. These two types let the employee use the card to buy what they need or gives them a wide range of items to fulfill a want.

Another favorite is restaurant gift cards or certificates. However, if you are going to give this type, make sure the value is enough to cover an entree for at least them and preferably a guest. Otherwise, you might be giving a gift that the employee cannot afford to use.

The goal of a gift card/certificate is for your employee to feel that you gave them something; not for them to think that they had to spend money to use it.


Extra Time Off

Whether it’s an extra vacation day for them to use at their choosing, or surprising your employees by announcing the office will be closed for a few extra days around a holiday (with pay of course), extra time off is always an appreciated gift.

This type of gift allows your employees to see that you remember that they have a life outside of work. In addition, shows them that you want them to enjoy that life.


Wine, Liquor, and Beer

For some employees, the gift of a nice bottle of wine or liquor or a selection of local craft beers is the perfect gift.

However, a word of caution if you plan on giving your employees alcohol-related gifts.

First, don’t give gifts of alcohol to employees under the legal drinking age.

Second, remember that not everyone drinks and will enjoy the gift of wine, liquor or beer. Therefore, it is suggested only to give employees this type of gift if you know that drinking alcohol is a part of their current lifestyle.


Something Related to the Company’s Mission, Purpose, Industry or Activities

While company branded gifts are not suggested (see gifts to avoid below), gifts that match the company’s mission, purpose, industry, or activities are sometimes ideal.

What is meant by a gift that matches the company’s mission, purpose, industry, or activities? Here are a few examples:

Travel industry or for employees who frequently travel – Personalized Luggage Tag

Environmentally focused – Yeti Tumbler, Corkcicle, or other items that promote reuse over disposable

Social Media/Marketing industry – Portable Cellphone Charger to recharge the phone battery drained by scrolling online


Gift Boxes and Baskets

Gift boxes and baskets are a great way to give an employee multiple related items. Whether it’s a theme of wine, candy, a lovable pet, coffee or more, coordinating pieces are sure to impress.

To put together the perfect, personalized gift box for your employees, you can use a service like Ceh Flora Gifts. Based on the information you provide, the company will select the right items for each gift box. The hand-selected items are then beautifully packaged taking the hard work out of your hands.

Examples of some of their beautifully assembled gift boxes can be seen here: https://www.cehfloragifts.com/ceh-flora-gallery/



Gifts for Employees: Gifts to Avoid

While knowing what gifts your employees might want is important, it’s also important to understand what they don’t want. After all, a bad gift can cause unintended negative feelings.

Here are some items that are best to avoid when selecting gifts for employees.


Company Branded Items

Put your logo or company name on an item, and it goes from being a gift to promotional swag. This is true no matter the cost of the item.

No one sees promotional swag as a gift. This is due to the feeling that the items are more about the company than the employee.


Desktop Clutter

Employees don’t like the gift of desktop clutter.

This is because some employees prefer to keep their desk spaces simple or because they do not want to feel obligated to display a gift they might not like.

When you give an employee knick-knacks, in most cases, they believe it needs to be on show whether they want it there or not. This is because they often feel that if they don’t display the item, you will think that they did not appreciate the gift.

Therefore, unless the knick-knack fulfills a need the employee has specifically mentioned, it’s best to avoid this type of item when selecting gifts for employees.


Gifts from Bad Bosses

While you might think that all gifts should be appreciated, it turns out that a gift from a bad boss might be worse than no gift.

Gifts do not make up for poor leadership skills.

While gifts can help build relationships, they won’t fix a bad one. Instead, the gifts from bad bosses are often seen as condescending.

Before your employees see your gift giving as a weak attempt to win their favor, let’s see what else we can do to improve the employee/boss relationship within your workplace.

Set up a discovery call today and let’s uncover what’s causing the employee issues within your small business.

Gifts for Employees: What to Give and What Not to Give