Will your company provide its employees with a year-end holiday bonus or gift this year? Approximately 80 percent of employers offered some sort of gift (cash or other) in 2015. While the majority gave cash, 15 percent gave gift cards or tangible gifts.

What do staffers prefer? When asked, “How do you wish your company showed appreciation? … ” almost half indicated they preferred a holiday bonus, pay raise or additional time off. Gift cards or tangible gifts represented just 6 percent. However, research shows “acts of kindness by employers” (i.e. thoughtful gifts) are by far bigger motivators than cash, alone. Perhaps a combination is in order? Keep reading for 4 gift ideas for employees that show you care.

Employee gift ideas

  • Cash: Who doesn’t love a little extra cash? The holiday bonus, not to be confused with the annual performance bonus, is certainly a useful gift. However, a direct deposit does little to show that caring sentiment.

If you do gift cash, do it with style. In one study on the effects of gifts on productivity, a company presented workers with either a tangible gift, cash bonus or cash bonus in the shape of origami. The origami yielded the highest increase in productivity. If the art of origami isn’t your strong suit, at least print a paper check and accompany it with a handwritten greeting.

  • Gift cards: Gift cards can be great gifts if they are tailored around employee interests. In other words, a gift card to your local coffee shop doesn’t necessarily scream, “I appreciate you!” to the non-coffee drinkers in your group. If you do choose gift cards as one of your employee gift ideas, get personal. Find out where your employees like to eat, shop, play, etc. Include a foldable gift card holder for ultimate presentation. For the employee that has everything, check out tisbest®—you can purchase charity gift cards staffers can use to support a cause of their choice.
  • Gifts: A gift has a far longer shelf life than cash or a gift card. Plus, when you choose something useful, it serves as a constant reminder of employer kindness and goodwill. If you’re looking for gift ideas for employees, consider functional items such as a logo’d tool kit or BBQ set. Or go the wellness route with a fitness tracker or premium gym bag.
  • Experiences: Are a couple extra vacation days in the budget? Time off is a great gift. Make it even better by providing an experience to go with it. Perhaps tickets to a show, an overnight stay in a hotel or plane ticket voucher. Just remember to tailor the experience to the employee.

Remember, whether you choose a holiday bonus or are looking for gift ideas for employees this holiday season, make sure your choice is thoughtful and reflective of employee interests.

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