Your Employees Don’t Like Your Gifts (And What to Get Them Instead)

Nov 17, 2021 | Rewards Programs

Before you hit “purchase” on that branded coffee mug, reusable tote bag or water bottle, consider this: your employees probably don’t like these gifts in the first place. Rather than waste company money on items that will be stuffed in a corner and forgotten (or worse, thrown away), now’s the time to think differently about your end-of-year gift.

Recognition matters:

Don’t just throw in the towel on gifting! Instead, double down to really show your team how much you appreciate them. Your employees really do want to be recognized, and according to our study of 3,000 U.S. employees, they want recognition to happen more frequently than during their annual review. In fact, 74% of our survey respondents stated they were more likely to remain an employee of that company if they felt like they were being properly recognized.

Give your employees what they desire and don’t save recognition for the end of the year. Instead, add special celebrations to recognize milestones, or create “surprise and delight” opportunities to recognize your team throughout the year. These will help build trust within your teams, enhance motivation and strengthen the relationship between you and your employees.

Choosing the right gift is important:

The right gift can go a long way in helping your employees feel understood and supported. But, chose the wrong gift and you may send the message that your employees are an afterthought. Not all employees are the same, and neither are their interests, which makes gifting extremely tricky. Popular gifts include those that help your employees stay active, healthy and feeling innovative. Think exercise equipment, tech tools and culinary experiences.

The power of points:

What if you did something new this year and you gave your employees a choice of what they want for their end-of-year gift? Better yet, you could create a rewards program that awards points to your team throughout the year to recognize them for a job well done and celebrate their accomplishments. These points could be redeemed by your employees throughout the year on millions of prizes that appeal to everyone’s distinct interests and lifestyles, wants and needs.

We aren’t alone in our thinking. A recent IRF study details just how powerful points can be as a motivating tool, especially when it’s part of a larger incentive and recognition program. If you need more motivation to get started, survey respondents shared that they preferred to work for an organization that offered a points rewards program.

Don’t settle for cash:

Cash is not a motivator, and there’s a lot of research to prove it. The excitement of receiving cash fades quickly when the money is quickly spent on everyday purchases, like holiday shopping for family and friends or paying the bills. As quickly as the cash comes in, the cash is gone again, and with it goes the employees’ memories of how they earned the cash in the first place. Because cash is so transactional, it doesn’t contribute to the long-term motivation of your team. There are much better ways besides cash gifts to create a meaningful impact on your employees and make lasting change within your organization.

This is the year to change the way you celebrate your team by rethinking your end-of-year gifting strategy. Our team of reward and recognition experts can help you develop a strategic approach that will build meaningful relationships with your team and enhance your bottom line along the way.

Learn more about rewards from One10 – both Experiential and Points-based rewards.

Mark Smith

Mark Smith

Mark is the senior director of rewards at One10. Mark worked for 10 years as an official team licensed apparel buyer and planner for clients such as the NHL and His experience also includes working in a Rewards Service Group as Ecommerce Marketing Manager for over 3000 programs internationally. You will rarely find Mark in a bad mood and his talents are many as he plays the stand-up bass in a community orchestra and the bass guitar in a rock-and-roll band.