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What Makes a Great Employee Gift?

Do you have an employee recognition program?  If so, you’re certainly not alone.  Studies have repeatedly shown that such programs do wonders for employee morale, which decreases turnover rates and increases productivity, but there’s a catch:  That’s only true if you give gifts that are well-considered and appropriate to the employee you’re recognizing.

Nobody appreciates a generic gift given without forethought and careful consideration.  Those kinds of gifts make it seem like you’re trying, in a ham-fisted way, to buy the affection of your employees.  A recognition program shouldn’t be about that.

Here are a few questions for you:

  • Do you have somewhere you keep a list of employee birthdays?
  • Anniversaries?
  • Do you know which of your employees are married?  Which have children?
  • Do you know which of your employees are avid readers?  Basketball fans?  Which ones love golf?
  • Do you have any employees who are allergic to chocolate?  Do you have any that don’t drink?
  • Do you know any of your employees’ favorite colors?

If you can’t answer all that many of those questions, then you’re probably going to struggle to buy great gifts for the people who work with you.  You’ll end up say, buying a golf-related gift for someone who can’t stand golf but really enjoys baseball.  Or buy a book for someone who doesn’t read all that often.  You get the idea.

Fortunately, that’s a pretty simple problem to fix.  If you don’t have the information you need to buy a well-considered gift, get it.  It’s readily available, and even in cases when it isn’t, you can resort to the most time-tested method of all:  Ask.  Just start engaging with your employees on a more frequent basis and finding out those details.

The other big tip where giving great gifts is concerned is not to obsess over price.  Your employees understand that you’re on a budget.  They’re not expecting a new car from you.  In fact, they’re probably not expecting any sort of gift at all, which means that when you give them something that comes from the heart, and shows that you know something about them and their likes and preferences, it will really have a profound impact.

Finally, simply giving a gift—even a thoughtfully selected one—isn’t enough.  It’s a great start, but if you want your recognition program to be maximally effective, then there’s one more ingredient you need to add:  Personalization.

The simplest way to do that is to include a thoughtful, hand-written note with whatever gift you’re giving.  It doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it does need to be heartfelt, hand-written, and personal.

Pair that with a thoughtful gift and you’ve got a recipe for success!  If you’re looking for a great source of gifts to fit most any budget, but sure to spend some time on our site.  We’ve got an extensive list of products and we add to it regularly.  If you can’t find the perfect employee gifts here, you can’t find it anywhere!

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