8 Top Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas

5 min read

Employee appreciation gifts may be more important than ever. Many employees are reporting higher levels of stress, feeling overwhelmed and increased burnout. With 60% of people now saying they are finding it harder to stay positive, making your employees feel valued is critical.

Employee appreciation gifts are just one way to show your team that you understand and recognise what they are going through. Showing gratitude and appreciation to your employees is essential for building a positive and productive work environment. Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge your team’s hard work and dedication

Appreciation is about recognising a person’s intrinsic worth. It’s about their value as a colleague and an individual. Praise and appreciation are essential elements in establishing a thriving workplace. People will feel a sense of accomplishment as long as their efforts and contributions are valued. From there, they will strive to achieve more with any job they undertake. 

Why employee appreciation is important

If you’re a manager, it’s essential to show appreciation for your employees. In Glassdoor’s Employee Appreciation Survey, 53% of respondents said that receiving more appreciation from their employer would encourage them to remain at their company longer (Glassdoor, 2013). Retaining your employees means less time and money spent recruiting new staff, whilst maintaining the loyalty necessary to operate a company. 

If the team members don’t feel rewarded or appreciated, morale will suffer, as will the quality of any completed work.

Employee appreciation seems like a no brainer, right? Not only does it improve the quality of work, but it also encourages longevity within your business. Let’s look at some employee appreciation gifts. The following can help the team get through the difficult times and add a little joy to their lives.

Mental Health Gifts

Employee wellbeing and mental health awareness gifts are great to give your employees as a token of your appreciation. These gifts can be smaller thoughtful gestures to luxurious hampers which will make your team feel valued.

At WellBox, we offer corporate gift boxes, covering everything from food hampers to drinks, health and wellbeing gifts, and gift cards. It’s easy to select what you want for your employee or give them the opportunity to create their own personalised boxes by setting up a gift portal.

Send your staff a BrainBox to inject a little fun into the working day

Our pre-made gift boxes have a range of themes, from classic relaxation packages to stimulating and educational ones packed with puzzles and challenges, so there’s bound to be something for everyone in your team.

Download the Employee Gift Brochure

WellBox Gift Brochure
WellBox Gift Brochure

Baked treats

Nothing says employee appreciation like free treats! Sending your team delicious treats, such as sweets or baked goods, can be a great way to cheer them up. If you’re giving your team food, such as snacks or treats, make sure you’re aware of any food allergies or food-related problems they might have.

Note any Individuals that are gluten-free or diabetic, for example, and make accommodations for them. If you are not conscious of this, your employee appreciation gift may have the inverse effect! You don’t want to show the team member that you haven’t been listening to them.

Cutter and Squidge, based in Soho in London, do cookies and cakes to order. These can be delivered directly to your employees’ home or workplace. Their assorted box of cookies is enough to make anyone smile!

Fitness programmes 

Research has shown that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

You may think about running a team exercise class, or if you have a distributed team worldwide, video-based services may be a great way to show your gratitude to your employees. What employee appreciation gifts could be better than the gift of good health?

Be Fearsome offers corporate fitness programmes. There is the option to join a private live session. Alternatively, you can join their public classes to keep your team active whilst working from home. Their 30- or 45-minute online private corporate fitness sessions feature a two-way live stream. This allows participants interact with each other and the teacher.

Time off

Time off or time to do something other than work is one of the best ways to show employee appreciation and honour an employee. This gives your employees the additional time to see friends, do charity work, practice their hobby or go on a short holiday.

These extra days off don’t have to be routine or consistent. An unexpected extra day off may be just the way to show a hard-working employee that their efforts are appreciated.

Upgraded technology

If your budgets allow for it, upgrading your team members’ tech tools such as their computer shows that you’re keen to help them produce the best work possible. Upgrading your technology can increase productivity. Businesses lose time to technology every day.

Employees have to wait for their machines to start up or for the programs they use to do what they want. Providing your employees with the best and speediest tools to complete their jobs makes their lives easier and far more enjoyable. 

Upgraded technology can increase productivity

But besides benefitting your employees, investing in new technology can improve your business’s security. The latest versions of software and devices usually contain more up-to-date security functions. These will stop hackers from infiltrating your computer system. 

Self-care apps

A self-care app that teaches your employees how to meditate or practise mindfulness is an excellent way to offer compassionate encouragement to each person during a difficult time. The Shine App is a great platform that offers corporate packages. 

The app includes thousands of short, accessible meditation sessions relevant to the stresses of our world. It has daily mood and gratitude check-ins. These help employees reflect on their feelings and thoughts. It also recommends articles based on the employee’s specific struggle. Lastly, to ensure your team fully engages with The Shine App, they assign you a dedicated Shine At Work advisor to help your employees get the most out of the app.

Employee appreciation gift cards

Giving a gift card, along with a thank you card which includes a hand-written note to each member of your team, is a great way to make them feel valued. A personalised message, including why you value them and how they have helped your business, is a great touch! 

Gift cards for restaurants you all like or generic gift cards are both appropriate. Ensure you comply with all corporate rules about the amount of money you put on the cards before purchasing.


There is plenty of flexibility with bonuses, since you’re in control of how large they are and how often they’re given out.

Small bonuses, also known as spot bonuses, are small monetary incentives offered regularly by one colleague to another to appreciate a significant contribution. Managers can provide small bonuses, but they can also be given by co-workers or even a manager’s direct report.

Small bonuses come with a variety of advantages. Staff appreciation in the form of incentives, like spot bonuses. These can be granted right after an employee makes a significant contribution. Since the action is rewarded almost instantly, when it is top-of-mind, it is most effective. Employee recognition provided in the moment has the most significant potential for effect.

Meanwhile, larger, less-frequent bonuses are often given at certain times of year, like around Christmas or at the end of the tax year, as a thank you for employees’ hard work over that period.

Company retreat

Retreats for companies are invaluable opportunities for community building, brainstorming, and relaxed creativity. During their retreats, startups reported improved camaraderie, collaboration, and productivity (The New York Times, 2016)

You may plan a one-day offsite retreat locally or a multi-day trip out of the country. When planning the perfect company retreat for your team, you can be imaginative, have fun brainstorming ideas, and create an atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

A company retreat can be the ideal way to improve teamwork

Host a lunch for peer-to-peer recognition

Remember that praise does not always have to come from the top. In reality, peer-to-peer recognition has a 35 per cent higher chance of improving employee satisfaction than recognition by a manager alone.

Employee recognition improves productivity and retention, as well as employee satisfaction.

If you have a peer-to-peer appreciation programme (which you should), put the employee’s name in a hat every time one of their co-workers is recognised.

The more kudos they send, the better their chances of being chosen. Pick two names from a hat at the end of the week and treat those workers to a meal on the company’s dime.

Enquire into employee appreciation gifts they’d like 

All of the above are great ways to show appreciation, but only if they are what your employees want! In terms of how you prove you value them, ask them what they’d like from you. One way to do this is by taking a poll of your team members. You may be shocked by the results, but you can rest assured that you’re rewarding your employees with something they’ll appreciate.

Rewarding your staff based on their individual needs or interests uniquely shows your appreciation to each person. Finding out what they’d be interested in, their hobbies, or what they want the most. This is the best way to show how much you value others.

Over to you

There exists a plethora of employee appreciation gifts to choose from that will show the team how important they are. This is especially important during tough times when your team is put to the test.

As a quick reminder, here are several ideas to consider:

  • Wellbeing gifts
  • Baked goods
  • Fitness programmes
  • Self-care apps
  • Extra time off 
  • Bonuses
  • Peer-to-peer recognition
  • A company retreat
  • And whatever your employees might want!

Whatever employee appreciation gift you decide to choose, make sure that it sends the right message: that you’re proud of and impressed by your employees’ hard work, and that you appreciate them for it. And that’s a message any employee wants to hear.