Keeping employees motivated and feeling appreciated is one of the most important ways for an organization to improve productivity and morale in the workplace:
“Research shows that feeling appreciated—which comes from recognition from others—is one of the top three drivers of employee engagement. The best news is that showing appreciation doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money,” says Kevin Kruse, contributing writer for Forbes.
There are many ways to show appreciation to your employees ranging from unique gifts to hosting appreciation events onsite or offsite. The best part is you don’t have to spend a lot to be effective and show employees they’re valuable to the organization. Here are eight employee appreciation gift ideas that fit into any company’s budget.
1. Institute peer-to-peer recognition.
A peer-to-peer recognition program reinforces company culture and brings employees together, in addition to boosting employee appreciation, according to Sabrina Son of Tiny Pulse.
To encourage employees to take part in the peer-to-peer program, do a drawing where those who recognize employees get entered to win something. The more they acknowledge their peers, the more likely they are to be chosen.
At the end of the month or quarter, draw three names from the hat and let those employees enjoy a meal on the company, an extra day off, a Friday half-day, etc. Prizes don’t have to be expensive and employees will likely appreciate time off more than a physical gift.
2. Throw a party in MVP employees’ honor.
Make employees feel like king or queen for the day by throwing a party in their honor. At the end of each quarter, hold a nomination period where 3 employees are chosen as MVPs from the last three months. The winning employees get to choose where food and drink is catered from along with one other fun element, like what you’ll have for dessert, what day the party is held, and more.
This is a win-win recognition idea because office events help employees bond as well, allowing you to show appreciation and encourage connections.
3. Give unique and helpful gift cards.
Gift cards make for an easy employee appreciation gift, but the same old Amazon or Starbucks gift cards get boring after a while. Next time you’re showing employee appreciation, branch out with gift cards you didn’t know you could buy:
“You may be surprised to know that you can find coupons for services like Uber Eats, Delivery.com and GrubHub; grocery stores like Safeway and FreshDirect; and online food ordering with brands like Peapod and Schwan’s,” says Marco Piu, General Manager of Couponbox.com. Most of these gift cards also show employees that you care about their access to healthy food at home, which can also help boost loyalty.
4. Give something green for their desk.
Plants in the office increase productivity and happiness, as reported by The Guardian. Not to mention, “Your workers spend many hours of their lives at their desks, so they might enjoy adding some life to their environment. Consider giving each employee a small plant for their desks,” says Jackson Wise with Kasasa. “These gifts not only show that you care, they can add some calm to your office environment.”
Small plants also inexpensive, so if you’re on a budget, you can still make employees feel appreciated and show that you care.
5. Facilitate regular compliment gatherings.
Make employee appreciation a part of your company culture by having compliment gatherings once a week, month or quarter. You can do this at a group lunch or in the mornings before the workday starts. The idea is simple: everyone gets together, by department may be most manageable, and shares one thing about another employee that they’ve appreciated in the last week, month or quarter. When you do this regularly, it gets weaved into the fabric of your organization, making it even more powerful.
Employee appreciation is no longer a “nice thing to have.” More and more organizations are realizing the value of it and now’s the time for you to implement a program that works for your workplace—and your budget.
Author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer and content marketing consultant. She’s written for Forbes, Manta, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.