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Employee Recognition Programs: Personalized Employee Appreciation Gifts & Corporate Swag

updated: November 11, 2023
The Importance of Employee Recognition Programs

Corporate awards and recognition programs play an important role in corporate culture. They are an investment in your company that can deliver significant savings over time and improve the quality of work that comes out of your employees. It is a way to show respect and appreciation for your employees for the work that they do and the role that they play in your company.

For recognition programs to have the greatest results for your company, you must make sure that recognition is coming from the right person, that it is sincere, and that you are recognizing efforts that are true to your company mission.

While it can be best for managers and upper-level employees to recognize workers, it is also extremely beneficial to embrace peer to peer recognition. Employees who work closely with each other and have similar responsibilities understand the normal in-and-outs of the job; therefore, their positive praise is seen as a true acknowledgment of their effort. Setting up a program that makes it easy for peers to recognize each other is a great way to drive employees and to alert upper management of employees to watch and offer new opportunities to.

How Do Rewards and Recognitions Benefit Your Company?

Employee Recognition Infographic

Employee Retention & Loyalty:

Employees who feel appreciated at their place of work are more likely to want to stay at their job. Under appreciated workers do not feel a connection with their workplace and do not care about leaving it for something better. An article in Forbes that reported on employee recognition said that the companies with the top recognition programs had 31% lower voluntary turnover.

Increased Productivity & Drive:

When employees know that their good work will be recognized, they are more likely to work harder in order to get that recognition. Being recognized at work is very fulfilling for employees and it gives them more of a reason to operate with purpose in their position.

Engaged Employees in the Office:

Setting up a recognition program that encourages peer-to-peer recognition or recognition of teams is a great way to increase engagement amongst employees in the workplace. When everyone is engaged, participation in your company initiatives will be higher.

Cost Savings and New Business:

There are many benefits that come from a company whose culture embraces recognition. Increased employee retention saves the company costs of recruiting, hiring and training new employees, as well as lapses in productivity due to changes in the position.

When employees are being recognized and feeling encouraged, it makes them work at their full potential. This also saves the company money because staff can get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. When employees are confident and driven, they will do better at their job. For those in sales and customer service, that confidence is passed on directly to the customer and their experience will likely be a great one. Great customer experiences equal sales!

How Can You Recognize Employees?

You can choose to recognize employees in any way that works for your company. Host an annual recognition event or recognize and reward employees continuously throughout the year. If you choose to hold an event only once a year, make sure that you are still verbally letting employees know when they are exceeding expectations or solving complex problems.

Common rewards for recognition include plaques, glass awards and trophies that employees can display in their workspace. Other rewards for more frequent recognition may include an engraved pen or a piece of company apparel. And that’s just scratching the surface of what you can do to say thanks.

Employee Appreciation Gifts to Boost Morale

Your staff works hard all year, so what better way to say thanks than with employee recognition gifts? Thank-you gifts for staff are the perfect way to acknowledge a job well done any time of year. Not sure when to give out thank you gifts for your team? Consult our guide to Employee Appreciation Days, Weeks & Months for Your Industry, featuring yearly giving events from Nurses Week to Teacher Appreciation Week, and our Ultimate Guide to Gifts for Employees, with awesome gift ideas for every budget & occasion, from employee service year anniversaries to staff birthdays.

From custom corporate apparel to employee swag, we offer a variety of personalized employee appreciation gifts that fit any budget. Thank your crew with these appreciation ideas and branded gifts for office staff:

Perk Up Their Desk with these Corporate Swag Ideas

Corporate swag items are an appreciated—and practical—gift for your employees. Remote and hybrid staff will love a custom webcam cover, and in-office workers will appreciate a never-ending supply of employee appreciation pens. Consider these employee gifts:

Want to kick it up a notch? Employee Appreciation Day is a time to recognize your team’s efforts, celebrate successes, and hand out awards and recognition items. Corporate swag and employee recognition gifts show you acknowledge their dedication and hard work. Make the next Employee Appreciation Day extra special with these cool employee appreciation gifts:

Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Let’s face it. Although there are lots of specialized recognition days like National Customer Service Week and School Librarian Appreciation Day, the most employee appreciation gifts are given out at the end of the year. Take a look at a few delightful holiday gifts for employees below, and check out our complete holiday corporate gift guide to find your perfect match.

For more festive employee appreciation gift ideas, check out our collection of easy, wrapped, and ready gifts and curated gift boxes.

Custom Online Employee Stores

Can’t decide on the perfect employee appreciation gift? Let Crestline build you a custom online store and let your associates choose their own. Combine this service with drop shipping to individual addresses for ultimate employee gifting convenience.

No matter how or when you want to express thanks to your staff, our terrific selection of Employee Appreciation Day gift ideas, recognition gifts, and custom corporate clothing show how grateful you are to have them on your team. Compound the cheer by adding fun employee appreciation sayings and designs to corporate gifts for your employees. With bulk discounts available, you can affordably spread your thanks and appreciation to your entire staff.

FAQs about Employee Appreciation Gifts

Good employee appreciation gifts make your employees feel valued for all the hard work and time they put into your company’s success. When choosing the perfect gift, take your employees' individual interests and personalities into account. Look for something thoughtful and intentional that they will be able to put to good use.

Your employees are a vital part of your company, and showing your appreciation for their hard work is essential. Here are some excellent employee appreciation gifts that will make your team feel extra appreciated:

  • Company Swag: Giving employees branded items like blankets, backpacks, pens, apparel, water bottles, and phone cases is a thoughtful way to show appreciation while also promoting team spirit. It's a win-win situation for both you and your employees.
  • Wellness Certificates: Surprising your employees with a treatment that promotes well-being, such as a spa day or yoga class, shows you care about their physical and mental health. These can be especially great employee appreciation gifts if you feel that your employees need some extra stress relief.
  • Donations of Choice: Many employees appreciate when their company gives back to the community. Consider donating to a charity of your employee's choice to show your commitment to social responsibility and community engagement.
  • Complimentary Dinner: Give your employees a gift card to a popular local restaurant so they can enjoy a nice meal with friends, family, or coworkers. Delicious food is a great way to reward employees for meeting goals and helping your company run smoothly.
  • Gift Baskets: These are a great option as you can fill them with lots of different goodies your employees will love, including beverages, apparel, and office supplies. You can even customize them based on each employee's interests and hobbies.

Employee appreciation gifts are generally taxable and need to be included on your tax forms at the end of the year, although there are a few exceptions. If you're planning to give a gift to an employee, you should know that it may be considered taxable compensation.

Unfortunately, the IRS doesn't consider most gifts to be de minimis fringe benefits, which means they're liable to taxation. The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 102c states that gifts from an employer to an employee aren’t excluded from the employee’s gross income.

In simpler terms, this means that most gifts you give to employees will be considered taxable income, and the employee will have to pay taxes on the value of the gift. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, holiday gifts or gifts with a low fair market value, like a gift card with a low value, may be considered de minimis and exempt from taxation.

Bosses should give gifts to their employees to show appreciation for their hard work and boost company morale, especially for important holidays. However, employees aren’t expected to give gifts to bosses and supervisors. The rule plays into the chain of command and office power dynamics, so while gift-giving may flow downward, it rarely flows upward.

When a boss is looking for great gifts to get their employees, they should consider the interests and hobbies of the recipients. Some examples that employees tend to love include hats, blankets, water bottles, desk plants, and mugs. Gifts can be branded with company logos to show team unity and spirit.

When it comes to holiday gifts, employees want to receive thoughtful yet purposeful gifts that they can put to good use. The gifts you choose depend on your employees, but they could be anything from delicious food items to fun branded company merchandise to gift cards for restaurants or services.

When the holidays roll around, it’s an excellent time to show your appreciation for your employees, and gifts can be a great way to boost morale and strengthen these relationships. Here are a few gifts many employees enjoy around the holidays:

  • High-quality sweets or baked goods: Delectable sweets, baked goods, and other foods are often appreciated by the receiver. Some bakeries and confectionaries even offer little gift boxes, so choose a packaged box as a gift to show your appreciation.
  • Gift cards: A gift or prepaid card is an ideal way to communicate heartfelt thanks for your employee’s work over the year. Choose a gift card to your employee’s favorite store or restaurant, or keep it simple with a generic prepaid card that they can use for anything they’d like to purchase.
  • Bonuses: It’s hard to beat a well-earned bonus when the holidays roll around. They’re a great way to show appreciation when you’re unsure of the best gift to give.
  • Concert tickets: If your employees appreciate one particular band or artist, show your appreciation by gifting them a pair of tickets to see the show with a loved one.
  • Gift baskets: Baskets filled with hand-selected items go a long way in showing your gratitude for your employee’s hard work. Choose things you think the employee might like, such as blankets, chocolates, coffee samplers, or apparel. You can even get these items customized with your company’s logo.

What to Give Employees for Recognition?

To recognize your employees for working hard or accomplishing goals, you should choose thoughtful gifts that make them feel appreciated and motivated. These will vary depending on the interests of your employees, but great options include gift cards, items related to their hobbies, interesting books, massage certificates, office awards, and complimentary lunches.

Recognizing your employees for their contributions to the workplace helps bolster morale, improve engagement, and minimize attrition. Here are a few great ways to recognize your employees:

  • Surprise lunch or treats: A surprise lunch or sweet treats during the workday can be an excellent way to recognize your employees’ hard work and dedication to the job. Bonus: Pick your employees’ favorite restaurant or bakery to supply the delicious food.
  • Celebrate birthdays: Note your employees’ birthdays throughout the year, as this is an excellent way to recognize them for their contributions. Gift them a sweet treat and a small gift to communicate your appreciation.
  • Public recognition: It’s nice to be recognized for your efforts, so show appreciation for your employees’ work through public recognition. You could verbally announce your gratitude in the workplace, acknowledge them on social media, or something similar.
  • Host a wellness day: Recognize your employees and show appreciation by hosting a wellness day or retreat. This could be a spa day, hiring an in-house massage therapist, or providing a gym membership.

For more fun employee gift ideas, find out how to Boost Workplace Culture with Company Swag and learn about The Importance of Corporate Apparel.

Customer Reviews of our Branded Employee Appreciation Gifts

“These are sturdy, well-made tumblers that look and feel high quality. We chose the laser engraving option, and the results were very striking. These were gifts we were proud to give to our employees and clients.” – Matt, LA 20 oz Himalayan Tumbler

“Our company ordered the "Campfire Mugs" with our logo and a meaningful quote printed on them, and they are the talk of the office. We gave them out to co-workers as holiday gifts, as well as to partners, and we're seeing social media pics and all kinds of good tidings. We highly recommend the work that this company put into the mugs, and we want to send a special thank you to our representative who was amazing to work with! Thank you!!!” – Erica, AR 14 oz Outdoor Adventure Mug

“Gave these to my employees for what would have been our summer picnic, they picked these up and haven't stopped raving about them. So pleased!” – Cheryl, AZ Perfect 3 Gift Set