Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Your Employees That They’ll Actually Like

3 employees holding a basket with gift

You may think it is a little early to start thinking about employee gifts right now. But as the holidays approach, that to-do list of yours is only going to get bigger. For that reason, it’s never too soon to start thinking about what you are going to do this year to thank your workers. After all, they help keep your business going every day!

If your gift budget is tight this year, here are a few inexpensive gift ideas that your employees will actually like:

Gift Cards.

If you can’t afford to give your employees a cash bonus, then you’ll do well with some good gift cards. This can be a really well-received gift idea, as long as you are familiar with the hobbies and interests of your employees.

Not sure which stores to consider for gift cards? Target, Amazon, and Starbucks are traditional favorites. You could also try any local businesses that you know your employees frequent. When all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to simply ask your staff for which businesses they would like to receive a gift card. They’ll appreciate that you didn’t just assume what they want, and it’s better to give something that they will actually use.

Paid Time Off.

If you can’t afford to give large bonuses or loaded gift cards, why not consider giving your employees a day of paid time off? People enjoy time away from work to just relax with family and friends, especially if it was an unexpected gift from the boss!

You can make up a simple certificate or coupon that displays your gift of time off, along with a note saying that the vacation day was well earned, or that you are happy to have them as a part of your team.

All-Company Lunch or Dinner.

You could cater an all-company meal. If you don’t have much to spend, you can order pizza and sides, Chinese food, or something equivalent- whatever your employees would enjoy. Depending on the nature of your business and the culture there, you should consider whether or not making this get-together during work hours would be beneficial. You may also want to consider allowing your staff to bring along their spouses or significant others. Again, all of this really depends on the unique character of your business and the employees who work there.

Company Outing.

Obviously, this option is going to be weather permitting if you want to do something outdoors, but if there is a local activity that most if not all of your employees would enjoy doing, then it may be something to consider. Some examples: rent out a bowling alley, a skating ring, or a place to play laser tag, go together to a sporting event, hire a local performer to do a company-only performance.

Gift Baskets.

Everyone loves to get gifts around the holidays, and employees are no different! Whether you have a small or large workforce, there are plenty of ways to make gift baskets work for your business.

You can order your baskets online, or you can choose to make them yourself. Include items like smoked sausage, salmon, cheese, crackers, cookies, biscotti, pretzels, chocolates, nuts, and anything else that you think would make for a good snack. You could also try some creative collections, such as nice bath soaps, and lotions for the women, and a “shaving pack” for the men.

There are plenty of ways to show your staff that they are appreciated, and you don’t have to spend a lot to do so! Just be sure to plan ahead, so that you are not left scrambling for something at the last minute. After all, your employees deserve to be treated for their year-long performance in an extra-ordinary way.

Tickets to a movie or a local event.

Another option similar to the gift card idea (but potentially a little cheaper) is to purchase tickets to a movie or another local event such as a professional sports game, or a concert that you know your employees will enjoy.

Company schwag. 

Many companies choose to reward their employees with an item that comes with a company logo stamped on it. This can work, and there are many relatively cheap gift items to choose from. BUT, you have to make sure it’s something your employees will actually want, and that it doesn’t come across as a cheap way to “advertise” your company. You’ll end up putting off your employee big time. Here are some good examples of company schwag done right: a good commuter mug, a cooler bag, Nalgene bottles, or a personalized notebook.

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