5 Affordable Employee Appreciation Gifts

by Allan Peretz

Your employees work hard for you day in and day out. You need to show them that you notice and not just once a year. While verbal recognition should be the foundation of your employee appreciation efforts, sometimes you need a little bit more.

While there are many options out there, many aren't affordable for every day recognition. What's more, the ones that ARE affordable are often "cheap" - they're more likely to offend your employees than inspire them.

So how do you deliver special appreciation to your employees without breaking the bank? Look no further - we've compiled a list of five affordable staff appreciation ideas, just for you.

Thank You Notes & Letters:

Sometimes the best gifts don't cost any money at all. A simple thank you note or a more formal letter is a free, yet meaningful, way to show your staff that you care.

Want to go the extra mile? Send the note or letter to your employee's home address. It will only cost you a stamp, and your staff will also know that you appreciate the time they spend away from home making sure your business runs smoothly. A letter sent home is also more likely to be discussed with family which will make your employee feel even more special.

Gift Cards:

When you're thinking about gifts to show your appreciation, think about what your staff will actually use. Purchasing gifts that get used make your employees happy and it also means you're not wasting money on something that will just get stuffed in a drawer or tossed out.

Make sure you're thoughtful about the type of gift card you choose, however. A Starbuck's card for an employee that drinks no caffeinated drinks might be a little useless.

You don't have to spend a lot of money, either. Just 5 or 10 dollars that they didn't have before will definitely brighten your employee's day. 

Lunch with the Boss:

Your employees want to know you as more than just their manager. It's incredibly comforting, especially during difficult stressful times, to know that you have a personal connection with leaders in your workplace.

Simply drop by your employee's desk and thank them for their accomplishment, chat a bit, then ask if they have plans. If they do have plans or seem uninterested, let it go - the gesture is enough. If they do agree, make sure that you're thoughtful in your lunch choice and that you understand any dietary restrictions / preferences your employee has. Also, stay away from anything too fancy as that will be awkward.

Meaningful Keepsakes:

It's important to not only let your staff know that you appreciate them but to let them know exactly why you appreciate them. No matter what you do to show your appreciation, make sure it's specific and not generic.

As an option, we sell high quality thank you coins. When you give these out, you'll encourage specific behaviors and also leave your employees with something special to display on their desk.

Extra Time Off:

For most employees, time is every bit as precious as money. Surprise time off can be a blessing - time to catch up with a spouse or spend time with family members. Consider giving this gift to a truly deserving employee. Thanks them and offer them a half-day, an extra day, or whatever feels commensurate with their accomplishment.