6 best practices when giving employee gifts
Throughout the year, there are plenty of excuses to give your employees gifts. Whether to celebrate a promotion, anniversary, holiday or other occasion, demonstrating your appreciation through gifting can help keep your team engaged and motivated at work.
No matter the reason or the number of gifts you want to send, there are a few considerations to ensure the gift you’re sending meets the experience you intended. Here are five best practices to keep in mind.
1. Be thoughtful
Research shows that companies with engaged employees are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable. One way to help ensure employees are engaged at work is through recognition and appreciation. Recognition and appreciation can come in many shapes and sizes; the key to effective employee recognition and/or appreciation program is ensuring your acts demonstrate genuine gratitude. The key to showing gratitude through gift giving is ensuring that the gift feels thoughtful.
For smaller companies, it may be feasible to spend the time and budget purchasing individual gifts based on each individual employee’s lifestyle. This often feels challenging for large teams and companies, and that’s when we start to see gift givers rely on generic gifts such as new T-shirts with the company logo.
While a customized, personalized gift based on an employee’s interests goes the farthest in showing employee appreciation at companies of any size, it can be daunting to send multiple personalized, thoughtful gifts at once, while staying on budget. There is a great solution for this: gift choice platforms.
These platforms give your employees the ability to choose what they want when they want it. Depending on the platform you use, your recipients have the flexibility to select a gift that they actually want, redeem it when convenient to them and oftentimes can choose between a physical gift or charitable donation.
2. Align employee gifts with company policies and values
When rewarding employees with gifts, you’ll want to ensure that it aligns with your company policies and values. Depending on the industry you work in, your role at the company or the role(s) of the gift recipients, you may have specific policies you must adhere to for any gift-giving behaviors.
Secondly, as people continue to hold brands true to the values they promote, it’s important to align your employee gifting with these values. For example, if your company claims to support sustainable business practices, the vendor you’re purchasing gifts from should ideally align with this value. Learn more about ensuring your gifting programs align with your company values in this blog.
3. Be inclusive and don’t make assumptions
There’s nothing worse than sending gifts to your team and realizing after the fact that you left someone out. There’s also nothing more awkward than sending a gift for a holiday or occasion that someone doesn’t celebrate. In order to be inclusive with your employee gifting, we recommend:
- Triple checking with HR, team leads, managers and/or peers that everyone that should be included is included
- Confirming your gift sends don’t make assumptions, particularly around the holidays people celebrate
- Using a gifting platform that can automate your gifting efforts, reducing the chance for error
4. Understand what employee gifts are taxable
Depending on the type of gift you’re giving, it could be taxable. And if your recipients have to cover the tax on their gift, it takes away from your gesture of gratitude. We recommend consulting with your accountant or controller to understand what types of employee gifts are taxable so you can plan accordingly.
Here are some additional resources on understanding what type of employee gifts are taxable:
5. Steer clear of alcohol and food
From food allergies to personal preferences related to food and alcohol, it’s best to steer clear of gifting a bottle of wine or a basket of food. Unless you know that your employee is a pear aficionado, a basket of pears is a surefire way to feel impersonal. A gift’s intention is only as good as its impact, which is where the gift of choice comes in handy.
Regardless of an individual’s interests, lifestyles and values, they’ll be able to select a meaningful gift that they’ll use. Additionally, it helps avoid making assumptions that could tarnish your relationship with an employee. For example, if you know an employee drinks based on prior experiences, it’s possible that they may not be currently drinking for different reasons such as becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, we have heard stories where these kinds of assumptions are made and therefore unintentionally reveal someone’s pregnancy before they’re ready to share the news. Moral of the story: give the gift of choice and let your employees choose a food or alcohol-related gift if that’s what they want.
6. Include a personal note
A hallmark of a great appreciation and/or recognition program is clearly communicating to each employee how they’ve made a positive impact or contribution to your team. Including a personal note is a great way to ensure employees feel individually valued and not just like another number or item on a to-do list. Here are some things to include in the notes you send with gifts:
- A friendly greeting with their name
- At least one specific, unique statement related to their contributions to the team
- An appreciation-focused statement
- A future-forward note that lets them know you’re looking forward to continuing to work with them
- A friendly signature with your name
If you’re preparing to send holiday gifts, we have a couple of templates you can personalize to send with your gifts.
With these tips, you’ll be able to deliver employee gifts that align with your company policies and values, and are meaningful to your team. If you’d like to see how Loop & Tie can help you deliver employee gifts that give back, book a demo now.