The stats are in! If our Business Gift Satisfaction Survey Reports have convinced you that you need an employee gifting strategy to improve retention, recognize special occasions and top achievers, and boost company morale across the board, you can start creating great employee gifts today using our expert tips.

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The most memorable gifts for staff and employees share a few key attributes: they include truly unique gift items, they are clearly hand-picked especially for the recipient, they come with a personal message from the giver, and they’re not branded or logoed (save those for the company-wide retreats). We’ll show you how to create unique employee gifts that you can give for staff appreciation events, company holiday parties, and personal milestone events like retirements, job anniversaries, and significant accomplishments. You can find gift inspiration in our list of the Top 10 Gifts for Employees or Staff, customize any of the gifts you see below, or use our tips to create your own employee recognition gifts from scratch.

Top 10 Gifts For Employees or Staff

  1. Thanks-olate Gift Set: When you need a small thank you gift for office staff or employees on your team, think beyond gift cards and treats. This “Thanks-olate” employee thank you gift does include a treat–what better way to say thanks than with chocolate, after all?–but it also includes an unusual notebook and rollerball pen for the desk or office. Both thoughtful and useful, it’s the perfect employee appreciation gift when you want to give something they can use and enjoy every day. 

    Chocolate journal employee gift

    Thanks-olate Gift Set

  2. Black Tie: Spiff up your gifting game with this versatile, stylish collection that’s one of our best-selling corporate gifts. This set includes a hand-poured soy wax candle created for Prosperity Candle’s Burmese Candle line and a crisp Bocelli Family Vineyards Prosecco split. The “Gratitude” candle, created by refugee women from Burma, is an evocative blend of lemon infused with jasmine, cedar and a hint of musk; an uplifting neutral fragrance that’s lovely during any season. We’ve paired it with a dry Prosecco from Italy’s Veneto region that tickles the palate with subtle floral and fruit notes, followed by a bright mineral finish. It’s an elegant gift for all manner of occasions. 

    candle & champagne gift

    Black Tie Gift Set

  3. Have A Nice Day: Whether you’re celebrating a specific co-worker or an entire team, this delightful gift is an unusual, special treat. Instead of coffee or tea, this gift includes a gourmet fruit and herb infusion sachet and modern Joey mug from Fellow Products. The scrumptious black lava salted caramels are an added surprise. Individually wrapped, they can be displayed in a favorite dish for sharing or become part of a sugar emergency stash. 

    tea caramels employee gift

    Have A Nice Day Gift Set

  4. Never Enough Chocolate: We all know the importance of a balanced diet, so don’t go filling up on just one kind of chocolate. This gift set is a treasure trove of cocoa-y goodness with a little something for everyone, especially the folks who frequent the office candy bowl. All the products in this irresistible collection are made with great care and a passion for chocolate-it’s perfect for someone you truly want to delight.

    Chocolate employee thank you gift

    Never Enough Chocolate Gift Set

  5. Creative Coffee Break: Great ideas start with coffee, so let this gift set inspire and uplift your brilliant employees and staff. We’ve included a special insulated travel tumbler, a handcrafted letterpress notebook and a retractable ballpoint pen so they can take their creative notions anywhere, and some delicious treats to lift their spirits. They’ll be delighted to a batch of New Orleans-style cold brew coffee concentrate with Grady’s Cold Brew Bean Bag and munch on Theo Chocolate’s incredible Big Daddy Marshmallows with caramel and chocolate for a snack that’s truly exceptional. 

    coffee gift for staff

    Creative Coffee Break Gift Set

  6. Dourado Gift Set: With a touch of gold throughout, the Dourado Gift Set is an elegant gift for any employee celebrating a special occasion, like a work anniversary or major accomplishment. Niepoort’s 2015 Vintage Port is an exceptional example of a Portuguese-style port wine with flavors of black cherry, raspberry and currant fruit. A pair of Gemma Aperitif Glasses with a gold luster finish and Fran’s Chocolates dark chocolate salted caramels complete this special collection. 

    Port wine and chocolates gift set

    Dourado Gift Set

  7. Serenity Desk Gift Set: A well-equipped desk is a thing of beauty. This set brings a sense of organization and calm to any office surroundings, and makes a wonderful welcome gift for a new employee. This collection includes a popular Moleskine notebook, two unusual pens (they’re so unmistakable, they’ll always get them back if they lend them out), a 16 oz stainless steel water bottle with a faux wood pattern, and three delicious chocolate bars from jcoco by Seattle Chocolates–the perfect afternoon pick-me-up! 

    desk gift for office

    Serenity Desk Gift Set

  8. Modern Champagne Toast: Cheers! These pretty champagne glasses with an etched geometric pattern and flecked with metallic gold leaf accents are the perfect vessels to raise for your next toast. Pop a bottle of NV Brut Reserve from Bereche et Fils and enjoy the complex crisp blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier next time you and your employees need to celebrate an important milestone, partnership, or closing of a big deal. As an added treat, enjoy Fran’s salted dark chocolate and smoked milk chocolate caramels. 

    champagne gift for employees

    Modern Champagne Toast Gift Set

  9. The Finer Points: This distinguished gift is proof that writing by hand will never be a lost art. After all, how could anyone resist the pleasure of a sumptuous leather notebook cover and a fine ink pen that glides silkily along the page, recording your most important notes and musings? This creative gift is both attractive and functional, and you won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else! The handmade notebook cover from Michael Zimmermann of A Word In The Woods is crafted especially for Knack customers. The leather cover holds up to two 3.5″ x 5.5″ notebooks (1 dotted graph paper field notebook included), a pen, other documents, a passport and bank or business cards. We’ve paired it with OHTO’s Liberty G Ceramic Rollerball Pen, an elegant tool that’s a pleasure to use in any setting.

    leather journal pen employee gift

    The Finer Points Gift Set

  10. Whiskey Business: Dashing, smooth, and sophisticated, this gift is a showstopper, perfect for greeting new executives, celebrating someone’s retirement, or giving to company partners for a special occasion. It features a handblown glass decanter with 2 matching whiskey tumblers crafted by DECICIO Artisan Glass. Crafted from a smoky gray-green glass with elegant details like the decanter’s gold foil stopper, the set is a beautiful way to showcase and enjoy a fine whiskey. We’ve paired this trio with a box of Fran’s Gray Salt Dark Chocolate Caramels for a luxury gift that’s perfect for business gifting. 

    whiskey-themed business gift

    Whiskey Business Gift Set

 

Wondering how else you can make gifts that will blow your employees away? It may sound daunting, but doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Knack’s Top Employee and Business Gifting Tips

  • Pay attention to your intended recipients to get a sense of their hobbies and backgrounds. You might learn that Steph in IT used to be an award-winning barista, or that Tom in accounting is taking a 3-week trip to Japan to celebrate his 20-year work anniversary…imagine how satisfying it would be to give gifts that suit them perfectly, like a gourmet coffee gift or a specialty sake collection.
  • Don’t shop just anywhere, or you risk spending valuable time finding gifts that, in the end, are just not quite right. If you have a list of gifting resources (or an on-call expert like one of our account specialists to advise you), you can save yourself time and a lot of “giver’s angst” when you need to find a great gift in a hurry. You can even shop our business gift collection for quick ideas. 

business gifts

  • When in doubt, or for occasions where a larger gift might not be appropriate, gift cards are still a good option for an employee gift. Gift cards came in second among clients’ favorite gifts, but they’re a top choice for employees–88% of employees ranked a gift card as their preferred gift, just a few points ahead of “unique and useful items.”
  • In our survey, most employees indicated that, when it comes to significant business milestone gifts, they expect their employer to spend at least twice the value of the annual holiday gifts. $150 is a good benchmark for gifts that celebrate company-wide triumphs, while $75 is the sweet spot for gifts acknowledging birthdays and work anniversaries.
  • There’s a time and place for giving branded items, but if your employees’ holiday gifts have your company logo emblazoned on them, you could come off as out of touch. Employees and clients alike tend to be skeptical of branded and logoed gifts–our survey respondents consider branded gifts 60% LESS memorable than non-logoed items, so save those for recruiting events, employee onboarding, corporate events, and company meetings.
  • No matter what you give, one guaranteed way to boost your gift’s “memorability factor” (yes, we made that up, and yes, we’re always paying attention to it!) is to include a personal note. Both clients and employees reported that many of the gifts they received in the last year did not arrive with a gift message, a stat we were dismayed to see, but one that’s easily remedied! If you find yourself at a loss for words, a brief explanation of why you chose this gift for this recipient is always a good idea. Your recipient will appreciate that you took the time to write, and if you share a personal anecdote about your connection to the gift item, it can make the gift feel instantly more thoughtful and meaningful. At the very least, make sure to mention the gift occasion in your message–wish the employee a happy birthday, congratulate them earnestly, or thank them for a job well done. These gestures get noticed, and they’re a simple and cost-effective way to make your gift feel even more special.