Top 10 Employee Recognition Gifts

Recognizing and rewarding employees for various reasons is a practice engaged in by several companies and the simple act of showing appreciation can go a long way toward building better professional relationships, improving morale, increasing employee retention, and creating a work environment that people look forward to being in.

Depending upon your budget, you can find a wide variety of ways to recognize your employees for a job well done, going above and beyond their daily duties, providing exceptional service to a guest or customer, or for any reason you feel the need to let your employees know they are appreciated.  Here are ten great ideas, of varying cost, that you can use to recognize your employees:

  1. VIP Parking - If locating a nearby parking space at the workplace is a challenge or if parking is not free for employees, provide VIP parking in the form of a premium space at the front door or pay for parking.  This can be for a one-time award or for a longer period like a week or month.
  2. Prepaid Credit Cards - Many retail stores (Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.) sell prepaid credit cards that can be purchased in any dollar amount.  These make excellent recognition gifts for any employee because it gives that individual the freedom to choose how they want to be "rewarded" by letting them make their own purchases.  Prepaid credit cards can be used just like a standard credit card for a variety of purchases via in-store or online shopping.
  3. Bonus Time Off - Give your employees an extra long lunch break, a half-day off, or even a full day off - with pay.  (Everyone loves to get something for nothing and what's better than getting paid to work when you're not even at the office?)
  4. Recognition in the Company Newsletter - Devote a full page to acknowledging the employee's input and recognizing them for achievements.
  5. Gift Certificates - Give a gift certificate to a local coffee shop (Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts) or restaurant (fast food or formal).
  6. Event Tickets - If your city has a sports team, amusement park, movie theater, concert venue, or other place of entertainment, recognize your employees with free tickets to various events.
  7. Free Lunch - Treat the employee to lunch for a day (or several days).  If your company provide discounted meals to employees, arrange to have the kitchen provide free meals to the noteworthy employee(s).
  8. Personalized Gifts - Have something made with the employee's name on it, whether it's a clock, mouse pad, coffee mug, desk nameplate, business card holder, or any number of small, inexpensive items that can be displayed on their desk or in their workspace.
  9. Edible Fruit Basket - These are very popular as gifts for any occasion and are healthy, too.  An infusion of fresh fruit can be very rejuvenating when someone has been sitting at their desk all day.
  10. Spa Treatment - Treat your employees to a manicure, pedicure, or massage (or all three).  Massages are a great treat during a long workday and can help release tension, ease stress, and encourage relaxation.

No matter which way you choose to recognize your employees, you should always keep one thing in mind - just saying "thank you" is the best recognition gift you can give, and it goes a long way toward fostering a positive environment for employees and generating respect for you as a supervisor.  All the tangible gifts you can think of will never be able to replace a sincere gesture of personal appreciation for the hard work and loyalty shown by your team.

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