A Quick and Easy Guide to Employee Appreciation Gifts

Ainsley Lawrence

Everyone loves gifts. Whether you’re the kind of person that prefers giving gifts as opposed to being given gifts, we can all relate to the act of giving in some capacity. 

Now, extend that to the modern workplace. Business leaders should strive to find ways to bolster company morale and convey their appreciation and admiration for their workers. You could argue one way of doing that is by giving raises, but there are other forms of small, more frequent actions you can take that will remind your employees more regularly that you care for them. 

Gifts can be a physical item, an extra vacation day, or even the option of remote work. Let’s explore a few creative topics on how to show your appreciation for your workforce through gifts

Subscriptions for the Workplace

A clever gifter will think of something that stands to benefit the entire company. Since coffee is renowned for its numerous benefits to office workers and is often the preferred morning beverage, many employees will rejoice in your effort to provide a monthly gourmet coffee subscription.

Look into a local coffee house or cafe that can host the subscription for your workplace. Some coffee companies will even lease professional espresso machines to companies along with the subscription. 

Another option could be distributing gym memberships to all employees as a gesture of gratitude and encouragement for them to maintain their physical health. 

Maybe you’d like to reward your employees with gift cards or monthly memberships to get their cars washed. 

Plant subscriptions could also be an endearing way of making the office greener. Many employees will feel touched by receiving a small plant for their desk. It can also coincide with programs and green initiatives related to planting trees.

Mental and Physical Wellness Gifts

Consider sponsoring chiropractor appointments for desk workers. Many American office workers will take care to ensure they’re maintaining their proper posture health, but some will usually put it off or postpone that maintenance until something dire happens to them. As we know, prolonged sitting in desk chairs can often lead to spinal issues. You can show your concern for their physical well-being by encouraging them and sponsoring their first chiropractor appointment. 

It’s no secret that employees’ mental health can wane in the workplace for a variety of reasons, both in and out of your control. It’s no doubt a sensitive subject to assume someone else’s own mental health, but you can make an offer of sponsored mental health assistance and preventative mental health care such as counseling and therapy to help employees maintain strong mental health. 

Along the same line, employees can be gifted sleep therapy sessions to encourage proper sleep health.

And furthermore, there are boundless ways that employers can implement stress reduction measures for all employees within the workplace, such as dedicating specific areas of an office as meditation rooms or yoga classrooms. 

A next-level company-wide gift can be installing a comprehensive gym in the workplace to create an environment encouraging physical wellness. 

Ethics & Etiquette of Gift-giving

Every workplace should implement a code to follow when it comes to gift-giving, making sure not to create uncomfortable situations. After all, our emotions can get the best of us sometimes. 

Take care to be inclusive with your gift-giving. Be cautious that you’re not giving successive gifts, one after another, to the same employee before other employees receive a gift. You never want to show favoritism. 

Communicate to employees not to give gifts to higher-ups. Although it might be a sweet and thoughtful gesture, it can be looked at as an attempt to endear management for special treatment in the future. It’s best to maintain a professional relationship and have gifts only come from the top down. 

Gifts for Employee Recognition

Gifts can also be leveraged as a reward system for reaching company-wide or individual KPI goals. 

Part of bolstering employee morale and strengthening employee retention can come from incentives and surprise gifts that come with reaching certain milestones, such as being given the option to work from home

Try to be creative with the ways you show your appreciation for their hard work and do so in a way that demonstrates to the whole company that you care about them and are thankful for their diligence!

A Word on Potential Tax Implications

Try to remain aware of the tax implications in your region that could be put on the receiver of the gift. If an employee receives employee appreciation gifts valued at $200 and later has to pay $75 in fringe benefit taxes, it can be an unfortunate way to diffuse the pleasure from the initial gift. 

Some types of gifts are considered “De Minimis,” which is to say that they are of insignificant monetary value and won’t be treated as income for the recipient. Look into your local laws surrounding this stipulation and consider the drawbacks if your gift idea bears tax implications.

You might attempt to give notice to each recipient of the gifts you wish to give them (before purchasing all of the gifts) to let them know of the potential tax ramifications they’ll be obliged to pay and give them the option to opt out of the gift if they don’t want that additional tax. 

Ainsley Lawrence

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