As part of our inquiry into what makes a great business gift, we surveyed 500 people across the U.S. about the nuances of gifting for clients, colleagues, and employees. In our first 2018 Business Gift Satisfaction Survey Report, we learned what clients and colleagues think of the business gifts they’ve received over the years (you can read those findings here). In our supplemental report, we’ll dig even deeper into the impact of business gifts that employees received from an employer. Our first installment covers why employee gifting is a worthwhile investment for companies, while our second report will share strategies for creating great employee gifts your reports will find meaningful and memorable.

business gifts

Why Employee Gifting Matters:

  1. Gifts from an employer can make employees feel noticed and valued. 81% of employees who responded to our survey say they feel appreciated when they receive gifts from their employer, and 56% feel recognized for doing a good job. These gestures can positively influence an employee’s perspective of their employer, which can go a long way toward boosting morale and creating a thriving workplace. Have a look at our top 10 corporate gifts of the year
  2. The right gift can make employees feel more connected to the company and more likely to want to stay. Among the employees who reported receiving a “very memorable” gift–one clearly chosen thoughtfully, just for them–45% said that the experience made them feel more loyal to the company and more likely to want to work there longer. When gifting is carried out as a practice of gratitude and appreciation, the sincere effort shows–business gift recipients can always tell when a gift is given out of obligation or necessity!
  3. Gifts for junior staff can help increase job satisfaction and loyalty. A word to the wise gift giver: C-Level, Director, and Manager staff were likely to report finding their gifts “very satisfying” and “memorable” but junior staff were often less pleased with their gifts. Given the reports that a thoughtful gift can make employees feel more connected to their employer and the company at large, invested gifters would do well to consider gifts for junior staff and entry level talent. (This is another opportunity to practice one of our favorite tips: give a gift that aligns with shared values to make it even more meaningful to your recipient.)
  4. Employees know that company swag is not a gift! Though a great business gift can showcase your brand and your company’s mission and values, branding the gift with logos or giving generic swag is a surefire way to disappoint some recipients. While you might want to give a logoed gift (think travel mugs and tote bags) for recruiting events, new employee welcome packages, corporate events and company meetings, take care not to brand any gift for a more personal occasion, like birthdays, important business milestones, and holidays. Logoed gifts are 60% less likely to be considered memorable than non-logoed gifts, and many recipients admit they’d sooner regift a branded item.
  5. Across the board, there’s room to improve! 52% of people we surveyed did not consider their last gift from an employer “very memorable.” The good news is, it’s not that difficult to give gifts that are more awe, less blah. We’ll explain how to create very memorable gifts in the follow-up to our 2018 Employee Gifting Survey Report, but if you feel stumped on what kinds of gifts to give your employees, know that you’re not alone.

How 3 Different Companies Went Above & Beyond With Their Employee Gifts

Case Study 1:

A business manager from a Northwest tech company approached us with a special request: could we add an additional item to the gifts she’d created for an executive retreat? Absolutely–customization is our specialty, after all.

The business manager assembled a gift of artisanal products, some of which are only available through Knack, like Meg Maggie Margaret’s assorted caramels. She paired them with a bottle of fine Washington wine, a handblown stemless wine glass from DECICIO Artisan Glass, a stylish corkscrew, and a few snacks like gourmet popcorn and cocktail peanuts. The finishing touch–that special request–was a book chosen for the retreat. Each recipient received a copy of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth for use at the meeting (no word on whether the wine was enjoyed simultaneously!).

Assembly and delivery couldn’t have been simpler. The business manager sent us the books to be packed, and we shipped the completed gifts directly to the lodge where the meeting was held. Sixteen gifts (including a specially-customized one for the General Manager) were distributed to the participants, who enjoyed a successful, productive strategy meeting. 

Employee business gift idea with wine and chocolate

Case Study 2:

A wealth management firm contacted us in search of showstopping, high-end gifts to thank their employees for a successful year. Since they wanted to give something unique to several dozen employees, we helped our contact at the firm create 4 distinctive gift styles that featured products the recipients would truly cherish–each and every one fit our “give unique and useful gifts” motto.

The products weren’t the only thing that made these gifts special. The company had the gifts shipped to their office across the country, where they personally distributed them to each recipient. Most importantly, each gift contained a completely customized (and often bilingual) message for the employee thanking them for their hard work and the value they added to the company, and encouraging them to enjoy the holidays–it was the final thoughtful detail on an exceptionally meaningful gift.

4 employee gift ideas from employer

Case Study 3:

An organization in the Pacific Northwest wanted to send gifts to a select group of colleagues and friends to show their gratitude for a supportive year. We helped them choose items from small, women-owned businesses that support philanthropy and sustainability, some of this company’s key missions.

The gift messages to their recipients shared the story behind each gift item and explained how the products aligned with the company’s mission and values. They emphasized how each product represented an essential facet of the business, and how the gift, as a whole, reflected the relationship between the company and each recipient. It was a celebration of independent, women-led businesses, sustainable craftsmanship, and fruitful collaboration that resulted in a beautiful and meaningful gift.

Handpicked gift for employees


Inspired? Download our 2018 Employee Gifting Supplement Report to read more about improving your employee gifting strategy.

business gifts