Employee Appreciation Gifts: Why They Matter & 36 Ideas

Employee appreciation gifts are one way that dedicated team leaders can show that they truly care about their employees. Like any type of gift, there are so many options, and it can feel incredibly overwhelming deciding exactly what to get your employees to show them you appreciate them.

To save you the heartache, here are 36 of the very best employee appreciation gifts for any team.

Table of Contents

What Is The Purpose Of Employee Appreciation Gifts?

DIY Employee Appreciation Gifts

Inexpensive Employee Appreciation Gifts

Personalized Employee Appreciation Gifts

Remote Employee Appreciation Gifts

What is the purpose of employee appreciation gifts?

Whether you’re the CEO of a large tech company or a writer for a small blog, everyone wants to feel recognized and appreciated. Feeling appreciated means that you are rewarded for your small wins, your dedication, your growth, and your place in the team.

Research has shown that employees who feel wanted and appreciated often have better health, less stress, and fewer sick days. A study by Glassdoor found that appreciated employees are more productive, with a massive 81% of surveyed employees agreeing that they felt motivated to work harder when their boss showed signs of appreciation. Needless to say, employee appreciation is a big factor in a healthy workplace.

The purpose of employee appreciation gifts is to ensure that your team remains in optimal health, is less stressed, and is more productive. Essentially, providing these gifts is a win-win situation for everyone.

How to choose the right appreciation gift for your team

Everyone loves presents – from an excitable five-year-old on their birthday to a miserable old man at Christmas. The love, thought, and time that goes into a present brings many of us so much joy. Therefore, any appreciation gift you get for your employees is better than no appreciation gift at all. 

How do you show employee appreciation, whatever the budget? Well, you find an option that’s fun, memorable, unique, meaningful, collaborative, and something that everyone will like (we’ve listed options below).

To make buying employee appreciation gifts suitable for any budget, you can purchase them in bulk. Buying in bulk ensures that you can show all your employees’ appreciation and save yourself a few dollars too. However, watch out that you don’t go for cheap-looking bulk gift options, or buy so many of the same things that it becomes impersonal for recipients.

To prevent you from spending your money on pointless gifts, we’re here to help with some awesome gift suggestions team members will love.

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What are good employee appreciation gifts?

Now that we’ve covered why you should be giving your employees appreciation gifts and how you should choose the right gift, we can get down to the details of the different kinds of available gifts and good ones to pick. Good employee appreciation gifts are ones that are thoughtful, personalized, and meaningful. They don’t have to be expensive, in fact, there are plenty of ways to show your employees you appreciate them on a budget. 

So, if you’re ready to improve your employee engagement and team productivity by making your employees feel appreciated, then this article is for you. Below, we share the top employee appreciation gifts, ranging from those bought in bulk for under $10 to others personalized for each employee!

DIY Employee Appreciation Gifts

Sometimes, doing it yourself is the best way to do it! In this section, you will discover the 8 best DIY employee appreciation gifts.

1. Scavenger hunt

Encourage your team to use their problem-solving skills to work through several clues that lead to an exciting prize. Scavenger hunts can easily be a ‘DIY’ game, as you can make it yourself by picking a topic, creating the clues, and picking the prize!

2. Offer public shoutouts

Recognition is an excellent form of appreciation. One easy way you can show your employees recognition is to shout out employees for good work. If you feel that an employee has done particularly well recently, for example, closing a new deal or hitting a record number of sales, send an email out to your whole team (or post it on a bulletin) to congratulate that fantastic employee publicly.

3. A team baking/cooking session

By taking ‘DIY’ to a literal level, you can give your employees an afternoon away from work and get them baking or cooking their favorite treats together. Not only can your team spend quality time in the kitchen together, but they can also eat what they’ve made afterward, enhancing those feelings of contentment and appreciation. 

4. Wall of gratitude

Find a space in the office that needs a splash of color and create a wall of gratitude. Employees can write a message of gratitude to their colleagues. They can write these on colorful post-it notes and stick them on the wall for everyone to see. This is a great way to show your employees you appreciate them, whilst jazzing up the office!

5. Morale-boosting SMS tests

Sometimes at work, things can get stressful, and this is when employees are most likely to feel underappreciated. To combat this, send mood-boosting texts full of positivity and motivation. You can send something like an inspirational quote and an emoji or two! This is a simple way to uplift moods and create happy energy.

6. Annual retreats

Although a rather expensive way to show your employees that you appreciate them, organizing an annual company retreat will show your employees how much you value them. Whisking them away to somewhere exciting will encourage your employees to build trust and think less about work, as well as reward them for their hard work.

7. Themed office celebration

Holding an employee appreciation day is a fantastic way to honor your team for their hard work. On this day, hold a themed office celebration to celebrate your team members. To add an additional touch, let your team choose the theme, décor, food, and activities. Then, let everyone take the day off work to come into the office and feel the fun!

8. Work from home day

The global COVID-19 pandemic changed the world’s view of what constitutes as a “traditional workplace”, as a lot of people worked from home; however, many businesses are back to working in the office full-time. To make your employees feel appreciated (and to prevent burnout) encourage them to work from somewhere other than the office for one day a month, whether that’s a coffee shop, a co-working space, or the comfort of their dining room table!

9. Work-life balance

Employees who have a great work-life balance are more productive, happier, healthier, and more likely to remain at their jobs. To help your employees experience less burnout and feel more appreciated, find ways to encourage a healthy work-life balance. For example, allow flexible working hours, give them an annual ‘duvet day’, or encourage them to take some time out to do activities for themselves.

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Inexpensive Employee Appreciations Gifts

Finding inexpensive employee appreciation gifts can be challenging. Often, we turn our nose up at gifts that seem cheap, but just because you’ve found a cheap employee appreciation gift, doesn’t mean that it’s bad. As we mentioned earlier, even small signs of appreciation are better than none.

So, here are our top employee appreciation gifts under $10.

Employee Appreciation Gifts Under $10

1. Coffee shop gift card

A coffee shop gift card is a simple way to make your employees feel appreciated. Like a nice hug, a warm cup of coffee says “thank you”. Support your local coffee

shop by purchasing a $10 gift voucher for each of your employees to spend as they please, whether that’s on a simple americano or an iced oat latte with sugar-free caramel syrup.

2. Send some flowers

Flowers are a wonderful way to show employees that you care. Available on a budget, you can easily find bunches of bright flowers for under $10 to send to all your employees. Watch as their faces light up, as well as the office!

3. Desk plant

Modern offices can often be clinical, white, and dull. Instead, brighten up your office space with some much-needed greenery. Pick a small plant and give one to each of your employees to display on their desks. Top tip: these are great bulk employee appreciation gifts to buy, so you can save yourself some time and money.

4. Audiobook credit

Give your employees a touch of escapism and buy them a $10 voucher to spend on an audiobook as a sign of your appreciation. Audiobook vouchers are great gifts because they can help reduce anxiety, offer a sense of calmness, and help us to relax and/or learn.

5. Sent a thank you card

This may seem like an incredibly simple idea, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Pick a nice card and write something meaningful and inspiring for each of your employees. This is another great bulk employee appreciation gift idea.

Employee Appreciation Gifts Under $20

If you have slightly more of a budget, here are our top employee appreciation gifts for under $20.

1. Charitable donation

There is no better way to show that you care and connect with others than by helping others. Ask your team members for their favorite charity so that you can donate $20 on their behalf. For an extra personal touch, you can sign your employee up for a newsletter from that charity, so that they can see how your donation has helped.

2. Food truck visit

We are all motivated by food, so treat your employees to a thank-you meal with a visit from a local food truck. This is best suited to teams that all work out of the same office, as the truck can park up in the parking lot and deliver all employees delicious food at the same time.

3. Budget gym membership

A fantastic way to encourage employee wellness, and show that you appreciate them, is to give them a gym membership. These are employee appreciation gifts that can be bought in bulk, as it’s likely that gyms will give you a corporate discount if you’re buying a lot of memberships, making it even more affordable. It is important to note that the price of the gym membership will vary depending on how many you buy. If you have more employees, the price per membership may decrease. 

Also, a gym membership is a great way for employees to build connections with each other as they are encouraged to get out of the office, outside their comfort zone, and try new things together.

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4. Thoughtful gift basket

For under $20 per person, you can create an incredibly meaningful basket. Depending on your team, you can create food-based baskets or go for something more beauty or relaxation-based. The choice is yours, but just ensure you put together something you think your whole team will like.

5. Reusable water bottles

Reusable water bottles are incredibly popular as they are useful, attractive, and good for the environment. As a result, they are fantastic employee appreciation gifts. For under $20 each, you can get water bottles in all types of patterns and colors, with the company logo on (if you want this), and options that keep drinks cold for up to 24 hours!

Personalized Employee Appreciation Gifts

Finding unique employee appreciation gifts can be difficult. However, just because it’s hard to do, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. Personalized employee appreciation gifts are special, as they show an extra touch of thought, consideration, and effort.

If you’re looking for inspiration on unique employee appreciation gift ideas, below are our top 7 suggestions.

1. Educational classes and learning

We all have something that we’d love to learn more about. From coffee art to coding, there are always new skills or hobbies to explore Whatever it is that your team members aspire to know more about, show them they’re appreciated by surprising them with a budget to put towards whatever learning they like.

2. Expert consultation

If your employee has shown lots of dedication, commitment, and hard work, reward them with a consultation with an industry expert to help them with their professional development. For example, you can connect a thriving team member with an SEO expert, professional content creator or marketing manager to help them grow and develop the skills relevant to their job.

3. Monthly staff appreciation award

Why show your employees that you appreciate them once every blue moon? Having a monthly staff appreciation makes appreciating your employees a regular activity. You can make this as lavish or as casual as you like but ensure to reward a different employee each month for something that they have personally done to help the company.

4. Favorite drink and snacks cupboard

A small but effective way to put a smile on your employee’s face is to ask each employee what their favorite sweet treats are. Once you’ve found this information out, give your employees a personalized package or gift basket with their all-time favorite sweet treats!

5. Write a recognition letter

A bit like the thank you card idea that was mentioned before, writing an employee recognition letter will make them feel personally valued and appreciated. In this letter, you can give examples of the skills they have that bring great value to the organization, such as their positivity, motivation, or empathetic nature.

6. Personalized mug

Personalized mugs are ideal employee appreciation gits because they offer a personal touch, making them unique. They are usable, yet meaningful, and demonstrate to your employees that you have taken the time to get something just for them.


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Remote Employee Appreciation Gifts

Giving remote employee appreciation gifts should be essential for any online team, as these gifts will connect virtual teams in ways that other things cannot. Giving your remote team appreciation gifts will boost morale and engagement, and encourage these employees to feel an emotional connection to the company and to their work.

team building virtual escape room Orlando

1. Virtual escape room

Escape rooms provide an immersive race against the clock as teammates navigate the thrills of puzzles, challenges, and twists along the way. They make for an excellent team building activity as they allow employees to collaborate, connect, and use their skills to escape. Team Building Hub’s virtual escape rooms are guaranteed to excite your team and give them an unforgettable experience together. There are plenty of themes to choose from, including a treasure hunt, a prison break, and an art heist.   

2. Home baking kits

Baking is incredibly therapeutic. Nothing encourages us to switch off more than creating a masterpiece to share with the people we love. Therefore, sending your virtual employees a home baking kit (i.e., the ingredients for a cake and a recipe card) is a great way to offer them some time to relax, and to show them that they are appreciated.

mystery game example

3. Virtual mystery game

Encourage your team to use their problem-solving skills as they join a team of detectives and compete to solve a crime. Perfect for showing your virtual team you appreciate them, this virtual mystery game will engage your employees as they work together to sift through surveillance footage, psych reports and other evidence to figure out who the real criminal is. 

online game show example

4. Online game show

Team Building Hub has created a fantastic online game show that is guaranteed to make your team feel appreciated. Hosted by a team building expert, your team will endure 5 rounds of fast-paced fun that will encourage relationships to flourish and leave them feeling fulfilled. 

5. Virtual staff party

Let your team unwind by hosting a virtual staff party to show that you appreciate them. Encourage your team to talk about things other than work, and to make the extra effort, you could even send each team member a cocktail-making kit in the mail for a virtual happy hour 

6. Virtual scavenger hunt

Virtual scavenger hunts provide an amusing and unique way to engage your employees, boost morale, and make them feel appreciated. They are sociable and require some moving around, which will get the blood pumping and boost the mood. You can also host an entirely digital scavenger hunt that challenges team members to locate objects either on the internet or within a game platform.

7. Home office upgrades

Surprise your virtual team members by giving them a budget to upgrade their home office as a way of expressing your appreciation. Employees can use this to buy anything they like, from a new pen stand to an office chair. This gift is meaningful, but also practical, making it the perfect employee appreciation gift.

8. Virtual mentors

Assigning every remote employee a virtual mentor allows them to speak to each other about whatever they like over online communication channels. Employees can offer each other words of encouragement and support and can also go over any queries or worries they have, which will make them feel happier and more appreciated. This can be especially helpful for onboarding new employees to pair them with those who have more experience at the company.

9. Send a Door Dash or UberEATS gift card

Because you can’t get your employees together in person to enjoy a food truck, send them a gift card to order food at home. You can get everyone to log onto a Zoom meeting at the same time and eat together, making it a fun team lunch to chat and connect. 

10. Online app subscription

Invest in your employees by buying them a monthly subscription to an online app, such as Headspace or Apple Books. This way, you will show your employees that you appreciate them by investing in their self-development, stress management, and mental wellbeing.

11. Early finish Friday

Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is time. To give this gift to your dedicated employees, schedule a surprise meeting to tell your team that they will be allowed to finish early (and get paid for it) on a Friday coming up in a few weeks. What better way to show your appreciation than by allowing your team to have paid time off to spend however they like?

Conclusion

These employee appreciation gifts will increase employee engagement, team morale, and productivity. It is so easy for employees to feel undervalued in today’s busy working life. By showing them that you appreciate them, you are telling your team that you notice their hard work and dedication, which benefits both your team and the company’s bottom line.