If you’re looking for a current list of in-demand employee appreciation gift ideas for your workforce, you’re not alone. Employee appreciation gifts are a proven way for large companies to reward their employees and express appreciation.
But before considering specific gifts that can truly impress and keep employees motivated, keep one thing in mind: People like variety. Employees often appreciate a unique and custom company gift. Other times, they value the option to choose a gift that meets their own desires or preferences—gifts that have meaning to them personally.
One way to perpetually offer wide selection of gifts is through a customized employee recognition program, like O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud for employee recognition Here’s why:
Why use an employee recognition program?
Employers soon discovered that moving employees to off-site work was not as easy as flipping a switch. Practically speaking, only certain types of jobs could be performed away from a business office or work facility. Businesses worldwide had to identify which roles or teams could carry out their work from a distance, and then orchestrate a transition.
A study by McKinsey Global Institute found that only 20%–25% of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home, between three and five days a week. But even those numbers represented four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic5.
The increasing dynamic of work from home created new challenges, and organizations wrestled with how to work efficiently as some departments worked remotely and others—such as front-line employees, production workers, or warehouse staff—remained on site.
When are the best times to give gifts to employees?
Employees can—and should—be appreciated whenever they do great work. That thanks can come in the form of an eCard, a social recognition post, or even a letter of appreciation. But on some occasions, employee appreciation events carry the most impact when they include personalized gifts or gift cards.
Regular calendar events, such as an employee appreciation week or day, can be excellent times to present employees with gifts or rewards. Some companies celebrate Employee Appreciation Day annually. For example, they may choose to offer their people a special Employee Appreciation Day gift on top of their ongoing recognition. Other industry specific days like National Nurses Day or World Teachers Day can be annual gift-giving events as well.
When new employees join the company, company swag serves as a great motivational gift. Gifts are also welcome when leaders chose to celebrate birthdays or celebrate years of service. An important company or team meeting may also be a perfect time to share something substantial. And of course, a work anniversary is always a great opportunity to give.
Which employee appreciation gifts fit the occasion?
Next, let’s get to some great ideas for employee appreciation gifts. Some gifts may be presented to a workforce to mark special occasions. In times like these, you may want to show appreciation to all of your employees for company-wide achievements. A software platform like Culture Cloud makes it easy to set up a one-time points deposit to every employee, for a special event, company milestone, or celebration.
Other times, points may be awarded for day-to-day individual achievements. Over time, these points accumulate and can be redeemed for a variety of gifts from an online reward center like Culture Cloud store. Both kinds of gifts can make a positive impact and boost morale within teams or divisions.
When redeeming accumulated points for gifts, employees may be searching for more valuable gifts or experiences. This is when employees appreciate an exhaustive awards catalog with products in many categories, allowing them to home in on just the right gift.
Following are examples of some of the most popular gift ideas in categories that provide opportunities for large employers to reward employees in unique ways.
When you give employees millions of gifts, gift cards, and experiences to choose from, what gifts do they choose most often? Here are the some of the most popular awards shipped from the Culture Cloud catalog.
High-tech gifts never go out of style. That’s why some of the most popular gift options come with batteries and screens. From cameras to home AV, to gaming, speakers, and even tablets, nothing says “great job” quite like the latest snazzy gadget. Some audio and video gifts can help spruce up the workplace culture around the office, too. Here are a few favorites:
People love their own music. As an added bonus, they can listen without disturbing their coworkers. Apple AirPods Pro are a top choice because they offer Active Noise Cancellation as well. This pair can connect to your iPhone or Apple Watch. Another selling point for this model is the wireless charging case with more than 24 hours of battery life.
These days, you can have a TV in just about every room of the house. Slim, high-definition TVs like the LG 55" 4K UHD Smart TV bring your employees’ favorite movies and shows to life. This one features a powerful quad-core processor that enhances picture and sound quality, while 4K Active HDR adjusts the picture scene by scene. Most all models work with a stand or wall mount.
Portable Bluetooth® Speaker
Big things comes in small packages. That includes the sound you’ll get from the gift of a portable Bluetooth speaker. A top choice for many reasons, quality speakers contain more volume and bass than you might expect. The best-performing portable Bluetooth® speaker from Bose is no exception, delivering true 360° sound for consistent, uniform coverage.
Home Goods Gifts
An especially great selection of gifts for employees who work from home is home goods. Within this category, just about every remote worker can find a unique gift to make home life better. Examples that score high on the likability meter include kitchen accessories, small appliances, cookware, as well as bed and bath merchandise. See some popular choices below.
Air Fryer Oven
Air fryers are a trendy kitchen appliance selection. A healthier choice than traditional deep fryers, air fryers use little or no oil as opposed to completely submerging food in oil. A good example is the Instant Vortex air fryer oven. The 8 simple touch controls allow you to cook with one of the Smart Programs, or set the time and temperature manually.
Remote workers can get other things done while working, like vacuuming. iRobot practically invented the category, so it’s no surprise that the Roomba e5 makes our list of awesome employee gifts. Intelligent sensors guide the robot around your home, navigating under and around furniture to help clean your floors. You can control it all with an app.
Yes, employees get excited over luxury cookware. The iconic Le Creuset Dutch oven is a prime example, appearing in the kitchens of home cooks and professional chefs for nearly a century. Long recognized for its strength and durability, cast iron is the prime material for slow-cooking, braising, and roasting at an even and consistent heat. Suitable for both stovetop and oven use.
It’s true that recognition can boost employee engagement and job satisfaction. Fashion gifts are perfect for many kinds of recognition because they are personal, stylish, and meaningful. A name brand watch, jewelry, or handbag can make the perfect staff appreciation gift. Check out these mainstays in fashion:
When it comes to fashion gifts, a good watch is timeless. Take the Rolex Datejust. Aesthetically, the Datejust has spanned eras, retaining the enduring codes that make it one of the most recognizable of watches. This men's model features a Jubilee bracelet and a blue dial powered by Swiss automatic movement.
Another classic fashion gift is a pair of designer sunglasses. This Gucci pair showcases an edgy, oversized cat eye shape in this chic, feminine accessory. The flat-top design boasts an interlocking GG logo sticker on the temple and a hot foil bumblebee on the end tip.
Jewelry always makes an exhilarating gift. Cue John Hardy's Classic Chain collection. This stunning sterling silver bracelet and dazzling intricate weave is the result of expert craftsmanship, highlighted by a brilliant cluster of blue sapphire gemstones.
Luggage & Backpack Gifts
Gift sets can make an employee’s day. And what’s more appropriate for professionals who travel than a set of luggage? Plus, when employees head out on a well-deserved vacation, they’ll appreciate a few extra bags to pack their belongings. Backpacks are also popular when it comes to corporate gifting.
Soft-Body Luggage Set
Keep work or leisure travel flexible with a sporty set of zipper-style luggage. This 4-piece Uintah luggage set from Samsonite features a large front panel pocket design to accommodates tickets and outerwear, while spacious interiors feature large, breathable mesh pockets and compression cross straps. Virtually silent wheels roll over the toughest terrains.
Hard-Body Luggage Set
When packing for an extended trip, you need enough space – and durable shell protection – to accommodate any scenario. That's what this Bugatti 3-piece hard-side case luggage set provides. It's lightweight, but also extremely durable thanks to the polycarbonate and ABS construction. Features directional spinner wheels and a fully-lined interior.
No question, backpacks make for great corporate gifts. This Tumi backpack is ideal for daily commutes to work or school, and for travels that take you farther. Zipper expansion allows for extra room when needed, and a multitude of organizational pockets store everything from a laptop to a phone so employees can carry it all in comfort.
Patio, Lawn & Garden Gifts
A new grill or outdoor furniture set make enjoying the patio and backyard even easier. Summer gifts like these will come in handy when entertaining guests as well. Even team members with limited patio or deck space can enjoy tasty meals cooked on a gas grill. Following are some popular options in this category.
It’s the gift that keeps on grilling. A popular choice in many reward points catalogs, the Char-Broil Performance Series 4-burner gas grill packs a ton of grilling features into a sleek stainless steel cabinet design. This grill is large and made to last, with easy-to-clean, rust-resistant cast iron grates.
Wood-Burning Fire Pit
Fire pits are another backyard pleasure. A gift like this helps employees feel the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace on their patio, deck, or backyard. The wood-burning Hexagon Firebowl by Blue Rhino features an oil-rubbed bronze finish and geometric design. Perfect for burning larger fires and roasting marshmallows.
You can see why an electric smoker makes an excellent gift since no charcoal or propane is needed. With this Masterbuilt Bullet model, simply plug it in, set the analog controls, and it does all the work. Includes a removable porcelain-coated wood chip tray and two racks for smoking up to 50 lbs.
Sports & Outdoors Gifts
HR leaders may focus on organizational culture, but employees who are outdoor buffs claim a culture of their own. From camping and fishing, to golfing and biking, these hobbies require the right equipment and the right mindset. But one thing is for sure, gifts in this category are sought after year round.
Coolers make excellent gifts for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. One example is the Coleman 42-can soft-side wheeled cooler. Its removable hard polypropylene plastic liner offers antimicrobial protection to resist odor, mold, and mildew.
Another indispensable gift for campers and backpackers is a standard 2-man tent. A popular choice among employees redeeming points is the Eco Trail tent from The North Face. Recycled polyester ripstop rainfly keeps you dry while also keeping plastic out of landfills.
Team members who love the outdoors also love to keep lights, phones, and other gadgets powered up. Goal Zero presents a solar-powered generator for emergencies, camping, or wherever you need power. The Yeti 150 is a plug-and-play, gas-free source of portable power.
Tools & Garage Gifts
Gifts for the garage are in regular demand with employees who want high-quality tools and machines for the long term. Whether it’s for a special home improvement project or for regular household maintenance, these gifts are top choices in every season. Here are a few examples.
Cordless Drill Kit
Employees often redeem gift points for a versatile cordless drill set. The DeWalt 12-Volt Max 3/8" drill driver accepts bits up to 1" and offers shadow-free LED lighting and a belt clip. This driver also comes with two lithium-ion battery packs and includes multiple torque settings, variable speeds, and reverse.
Another garage necessity? The electric pressure washer. The K2000 by Kärcher, driven by a rugged induction motor, delivers 2,000 PSI of TruPressure for a high level of cleaning power. Includes on/off foot switch, pressurized hose reel, two removable half-gallon detergent tanks, and four spray nozzles.
Ladders make great garage gifts. When employees choose the Xtreme 2.0 articulating aluminum ladder from Little Giant they really get 24 ladders in one. This includes 4 A-frame positions, 7 extension heights, 4 scaffolding levels, 3 90° configurations, and 6 staircase ladders. 300-lb. Load capacity.
Today, large companies also look for more unique rewards they can offer to employees. Rather than products, some types of gifts and rewards are experiential. They provide opportunities to see exclusive events, travel to new places, or vacation at a resort. Employees can often earn larger gifts like these by stockpiling rewards points over time.
Luxury Resort 3-Night Escape
A truly wonderful gift for employees is a 3-night escape at their choice of 150 luxury hotels. They’ll choose from top brands like the Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont, Hyatt Regency, Park Hyatt, and Grand Hyatt Hotels. It’s a great way to blow off some steam and explore a new city.
Disneyland Family Vacation
They call it the happiest place on Earth for a reason. A trip to Disneyland helps employees make memories with their families as they enjoy exhilarating rides and meet favorite movie characters. Attractions include classics like Main Street, U.S.A. and Sleeping Beauty's Castle—plus new adventures like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Orlando Theme Park Adventure
A trip to a Florida theme park can help employees and their families live an adventure. One top adventure employees select is Universal Studios Florida. Visitors can go beyond the big screen and look behind the scenes as they jump into the action of their favorite films.
Bottom line? Variety is a winning strategy.
A large enterprise can employ thousands, or even tens of thousands of employees. So in the end, employee appreciation gift ideas for large companies should never be limited to a finite list. That’s the beauty of a gifting solution tied to a recognition and rewards program like Culture Cloud Recognition. Your gift options can constantly expand to include the massive variety your employees will appreciate.
Choosing the right gift for a special thank you, where you make the choice, can be difficult. In these situations, keep your gift simple and choose something that is generally used and appreciated by most employees, such as a watch, earbuds, a backpack, or other company swag.
For most gifts and rewards, allow the recipient to choose a gift they truly want. Whether allowing them to select from a small list (for reaching a specific milestone, for example), or allowing them to choose any gift in a virtual reward center (within the value or points range specified), your gift will be more personal and more appreciated.
We hope you find the perfect employee appreciation gifts for your people. Of course, the easiest way to do so is to find a trusted partner with the expertise to make employee rewards and recognition automatic and easy.