A Complete Guide to Gifts to Employees (Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 19, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Those who want to improve organizational culture and who want to show appreciation for team members may wonder about giving gifts to employees. These gifts require thoughtfulness and improve motivation by encouraging team members to continue delivering impressive work. By providing employees with gifts, you can increase their overall wellbeing and show them that they meet your expectations. In this article, we discuss the reasons to provide team members with gifts, discuss a guide to help you give gifts, provide several tips for gift-giving, and show you several types of gifts.

Reasons to give gifts to employees

Giving gifts to employees, coworkers, and team members shows others that you appreciate their hard work and that you recognize their accomplishments. Gift-giving is voluntary and also occurs during holidays, birthdays, and work events. When you provide team members with gifts, you can enhance work output by motivating them to continue the work you recognize or appreciate. Some decide to provide group gifts to team members and employees that allow team members to share larger gifts.

For example, some supervisors provide team members with upgraded work equipment, skills training, or a new lounge. Providing group gifts reduces the amount of money you spend on those gifts and contributes to the organizational culture.

Related: 11 Amazing Gifts for Your Boss (And Tips to Help You Choose)

How to give gifts

Here's a guide to help you give gifts to coworkers, employees, and team members:

1. Show attentiveness

You can provide team members with relevant gifts by showing attentiveness and by demonstrating that you listen to their input, thoughts, and feedback. To do this, consider interacting with the receiver before you buy their gift and note any interests or dislikes that they discuss. This provides you with an idea of which gifts to buy and how important those gifts are to the recipient. It's also beneficial to listen to any items that the recipient wants to replace.

For example, some team members break cookware throughout the year that you can replace to prevent them from spending more money. When possible, keep your gift receipts to provide the recipient with the opportunity to return the gift.

2. Ask questions

If you want to buy a team member a gift that you know they can enjoy and use, it's beneficial to ask them for a list before buying them a gift. This provides them with the opportunity to choose gifts that coincide with their priorities and to show the recipient that you care about their input. When possible, include an additional aspect to the gift that surprises the recipient. For example, you can engrave or customize gifts.

Related: 65 Icebreaker Questions

3. Know when to buy

When buying gifts, you may want to consider when to buy those gifts. You typically want to avoid buying gifts close to the giving deadline. It's beneficial to plan events in advance that provide you with the opportunity to buy gifts as you see them. This also increases the chance of you finding sales that allow you to spend less money.

4. Show diversity

When providing gifts to others, it's beneficial to consider how you can show diversity in gifts. This requires you to provide different gifts to team members when you provide more than one gift at a time. For example, if you have a team appreciation event in the near future, consider how you can show your appreciation to individuals by obtaining unique gifts. By providing team members with unique gifts, you can show them that you care about their needs and interests.

5. Avoid gift cards

It's beneficial to avoid gift cards if you want to show others that you care about employees' interests and if you want to provide them with unique gifts. While gift cards allow team members to choose their gifts, they often lack sentiment and individuality. Instead, you can ask them about their favourite stores and choose items you think they enjoy from those stores.

6. Consider personalizing gifts

You may want to personalize gifts if the company you buy from provides you with the option. This can include engraving emojis or slogans onto gifts, or it can include having their name engraved. This provides the receiving team member with a sense of individuality and shows them that you prioritize their uniqueness.

7. Use strong gift wrapping skills

Using strong gift wrapping skills shows professionalism and care. When team members receive gifts that you carefully wrapped, this shows them that you took the time to wrap their gifts and that you care about the presentation of those gifts.

Tips for gift-giving

Here's a list for those who want to give gifts to others at work:

Focus on equity

When giving gifts to others, you may want to consider how you can improve equity within the organization. This requires consideration of which employees you provide gifts to and the price of those gifts. To buy gifts that you know others can appreciate, you can communicate with them and learn about which gifts they prefer.

Related: What is Equity in a Company? (With Definiion and Types)

Prioritize privacy

If you decide to provide employees and team members with gifts, it's beneficial to ask whether they prefer privacy. If you have close friends at work with whom you want to exchange gifts, this privacy is especially important. This helps to ensure that all employees and team members feel appreciated and included.

Show gratitude

When choosing gifts, you may want to consider how you can show gratitude with the gifts. You can do this by considering the team member's interests and their hard work. For example, if they have a favourite charity, you can donate money to that charity. This shows the team member that you remember their interests and that you care about them.

Consider boundaries

When providing team members with gifts, it's beneficial to consider boundaries within the workplace. If you're a supervisor, manager, or someone with a leadership position, you can consider whether you have a personal relationship with the person, along with the power dynamics involved in your professional relationship. This helps you determine potential boundaries and helps to direct you with gift-giving decisions.

Avoid funny gifts

When providing team members or supervisoes with gifts, it's best to avoid providing them with funny gifts. This is because funny gifts lack professionalism and may cross boundaries. Instead of providing funny gifts to employees, you may want to consider how you can provide team members with sentimental or personalized gifts that they genuinely enjoy.

Types of gifts for team members

Here's a list of the types of gifts you can buy for team members:

Office supplies

Some gifts for your team include office supplies and supplies that make their jobs easier. For example, some leaders buy charging stations for their team, along with miniature vacuum cleaners for their desks. When buying office supplies for teams, you can observe which needs individuals have and how you can buy unique gifts that fulfill those needs.

Lifestyle gifts

You can also buy lifestyle gifts for members of your team. To do this, consider how they interact with those around them and how you can make their lives easier. For example, some team leaders buy heated gloves for team members who often have cold hands while using their computers' keyboards. Alternatively, you can also buy a desk fan for those who experience extreme heat.

Internship gifts

If you have interns who show promise and who consistently provide you with high-quality work, it may be beneficial to provide them with gifts. Many team leaders provide interns with gifts when they leave an organization or when they reach career milestones. This is a good way to maintain a strong relationship with the intern and to encourage them to apply for a full-time position at the company following their studies.

Hobbies gifts

You can also provide team members with gifts that correspond to their hobbies. This shows your team members that you pay attention to their extracurricular activities and to their interests. If you share interests with team members, you can also buy gifts that you both appreciate to support collaboration and teamwork. This also provides you with topics to discuss in your spare time. For example, you can buy your coworker, who loves to paint, a brush set that you particularly enjoy using.

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