Unique gifts to show employee appreciation
Photo by Naassom Azevedo on Unsplash
Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.
Employee recognition can be a tricky thing to achieve. On the one hand, you want your staff to feel appreciated and valued. However, you cannot break the bank by doing this. In addition to financial constraints, you will need to identify who is valued. Do you show your appreciation to everyone or is there one particular staff member who went above and beyond the call of duty? This can change the type of donation you use to show your appreciation.
Banquets, awards and corporate logo gifts are nice, but they often seem impersonal and leave the recipient feeling less appreciated even if it was an expensive gift, because it’s not something given to him.
Tap into your inner gift giving talents and consider some of these unique gifts to show employee appreciation to your staff!
Did your staff work late nights or go above and beyond the job description? Show your appreciation by awarding a shortened work day. It’s a great one-off gift because it can be applied to an individual or your entire staff and you can spread out the shortened workday in a way that best suits your recipient(s).
“Who doesn’t like being able to arrive late or leave early on occasion?” says Sasha Ramani, Associate Director of Corporate Strategy at MPOWER Funding. “Plan a day or even a week where everyone can leave an hour early as a sign of appreciation. You can also hand out ‘leave work early’ cards for your staff to use as they see fit. This option is often much more appreciated that they can use it on the day of their choice to go to their child’s soccer game or to go out with friends on a date that suits them.
Food trucks are often a fun and exciting way to show your team appreciation while supporting a local business. Food trucks often offer their services and a limited menu or a certain number of meals for a reasonable price. This can be a great way to offer an exciting and unique token of appreciation to your staff.
“Obviously, this would be more of an all-staff appreciation event, but it’s still a hit,” says Stephanie Venn-Watson, CEO of Fatty15. “People can choose their own food, hang out with colleagues, and it’s less stuffy and generally less expensive than a formal banquet. Also invite your staff’s families to join the celebration if it’s in the budget and make it an event.
Extra time off is always a favorite form of employee appreciation. Recognize your MVPs with the unique holiday gift. People appreciate the time to relax, have fun with the family, and get out and enjoy their favorite things in life. Giving them an extra day as a token of appreciation is a unique and impressive gift of appreciation.
“In the grand scheme of things, giving an employee an extra vacation day here and there as an appreciation for going above and beyond is really not a big deal for us, but it’s huge for them,” says Omid Semino, CEO and Founder of Diamond. Castle. “Having an extra day they can use whenever they want is a great way to show your staff that you appreciate them and their extra effort. From a financial standpoint, if they’ve gone above and beyond their job description, they’ve probably saved you more money than a day without them will cost you.
Show your staff that you value them and their mental and physical health by offering self-care experiences as a thank you. While you may be tempted to think this only benefits the women in your company, the men need a day for themselves just as much and often benefit from a self-care day.
“Look into spas and therapeutic massage practices to see what kind of packages and gift certificates they offer,” says Rachel Roff, founder and CEO of Urban Skin Rx. “If they’ve worked really hard, they’re probably stressed and tense. A good massage or a day at the spa indulging in aromatherapy or a pedicure might be just what they need. Pair it with a gift card to a lunch spot near the spa, and you’ve got yourself the perfect staff appreciation gift for the self-care experience.
Looking for something to show your appreciation to your entire staff while providing an unforgettable experience? Explore corporate retirement options. There are many options when it comes to corporate retreats, so don’t rule this one out until you’ve explored the options available to your team.
“A corporate retreat can be a great way to bring everyone together and allow them to enjoy quality family time,” says Chris Bridges, CEO of VITAL. “A corporate retreat can be a weekend at a camp or retreat center or a day at a water park or a baseball game. Giving your staff a way to create memories with their family is a great unique gift to show employee appreciation. Company retreats don’t have to be boring professional development weekends – they can just be about having fun and bonding with colleagues.
This is a unique employee appreciation gift that allows your staff to develop some professional skills as well. The important thing here is that you consult with your employee to see what they want to pursue and not essentially to add a certification course to their already full plate. Think of it as a way to provide your business with better qualified staff too!
“Do you have a staff member who has gone above and beyond and expressed an interest in continuing their training in some way? Consider providing support as a sign of appreciation,” says Cesar Cruz, co-founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “Studies have shown that employees who feel invested are more likely to stay and pursue advancements internally rather than seek employment elsewhere.”
Show your staff you appreciate them by providing them with nicer office supplies. Depending on your budget, this could be something like upgrading their chair, providing wireless headphones, or even giving them a new laptop to use. Making their day more comfortable and convenient is a great way to show employee appreciation in a unique way.
“Upgrading their gear is a great way to show your staff that you appreciate them,” says Karim Hachem, vice president of e-commerce at Maxine of Hollywood. “If upgrading equipment isn’t possible or your employee likes what they have, offer to fund an office renovation and let them choose new decor or furniture for their space instead.”
Experiences are a great way to show appreciation for your employees in a unique way. If you know your employees well enough to know what events they would like to attend, you can buy them tickets to a concert, game or any other event they would like. (You’ll probably also want to grab at least one more ticket to bring a significant other or friend too – these are usually things they’d want to attend with someone else).
“Purchasing event tickets for your employee who has done the extra work and shown initiative is a great way to provide a unique gift of appreciation,” says Shaunak Amin, CEO and Co-Founder of SwagMagic. “While it does require some level of knowledge of their preferences, it’s usually worth it.” Another avenue for your staff who may not be attending the big events is to buy them a place in a creative or hobby class in your area. Some ideas for this could be pottery, painting, naturalism or yoga classes.
For employees who are very passionate about a special cause, donating to an organization close to their hearts on their behalf can mean more than any physical gift you might give them. Like some of the other items on this list, you will need to know your staff well enough to know which organization they would like to donate to or if this is even an idea that would mean anything to them.
“Some people have organizations they like to donate to in order to make a difference,” says Lilian Chen, co-founder and COO of Bar None Games. “Often you can find a creative way to donate on their behalf. Sponsoring the cost of adopting a dog at the local animal shelter, providing much-needed supplies to a homeless shelter, or donating new clothes to a domestic violence shelter on their behalf can be a great way to show your appreciation to your staff member while helping the community. in a way that means a lot to them.
Like retreat and food truck ideas, sometimes you just need a fun staff day. This can happen onsite or at a local park or it can be more like a retreat where you take your staff to an event. Whatever you decide, try to make sure they can leave the stress of work behind!
“A staff fun day is a great way to let your staff have a little fun,” says Matas Jakutis, CMO of Forcefield Digital. “The point of a fun day should be to allow them time to relax and unwind, so try to do it on a work day and not a day they would normally have off. If the event is to take place on a weekend, consider giving them a day off on Friday to compensate.
Showing appreciation to your staff is an important part of running a successful organization. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift to give to a special employee who went above and beyond their job description, or looking to lift the spirits of the entire team after a particularly trying season, these unique gifts are a great way to show appreciation in a way that works for you and your staff.