4imprint, LLC

5 min read

If it feels like just yesterday that you stuffed the workplace holiday decorations into a closet, this might come as a shock: 2024 is almost to its halfway point. And there may be things you intended to do this year that haven’t fully materialized—like showing your team a little love by giving them staff appreciation gifts.

Making employees feel recognized and appreciated is important for any organization. Gallup® research shows when employees feel that recognition is an important part of their workplace culture, they are 3.7 times more likely to be engaged and 3.8 times more likely to feel connected.

Two employees interacting at a desk.


The mid-year mark is a good time to show workers they’re appreciated. Here are five ways to strengthen your workplace culture as 2024 heads into the home stretch.

Plan a special event

Staff appreciation gifts come in many forms. Creating a memorable experience—something outside the daily routine—is one way to boost spirits. Arrange for a food truck to visit during the lunch hour so employees can have a bite and socialize. A lunch provided by a catering business or local restaurant are other tasty options. Sync up the meal with a guest speaker who can provide insight or advice on topics related to your industry. Perhaps the focus is workplace culture or teamwork and everyone gets a company-branded crewneck sweatshirt to unite the group.

If your employees include an abundance of dog owners (and dog lovers), plan an afternoon puppy party. Encourage employees to bring their pets to an outdoor space to mingle and play. Provide pet bowls and branded bandanas for the furry team members. Snap a group photo—dogs included—to commemorate the experience.

Give the gift of time

Extra time off is a great way to help employees “keep the faith.” And Fridays in summer are a prime time to surprise employees with an invite to wrap up their week early. Even if it’s just an hour or two, they’ll be overjoyed. Make a show of it and deliver the news in a meeting. Hand out can coolers and sunglasses to turn up the summertime vibes. Don’t forget to emphasize it’s not just because—it’s a show of appreciation for six months of hard work.

Not every organization has the resources to shut things down on a Friday afternoon. If that’s the case, consider giving workers the option to work from home. Or throw out the dress code for a day and let employees wear jeans and T-shirts if they choose. Recognize the team for a strong half-year with portable speakers, and elect an outstanding employee to be the office DJ for a day.

Get peers involved through workplace gifts

For 28% of employees, feedback from their peers has the most impact when it comes to feeling acknowledged. Set up a peer recognition program to encourage employees to applaud one another for their achievements.

Two employees giving each other a high five.


Establish a peer reward system using a trophy, which could be something traditional, like a crystal award, or something more light-hearted, like a baseball stress reliever. During a weekly meeting, an employee can pass the trophy to a colleague and explain why they’re worthy of the recognition. A week later, that employee passes it to someone new.

Create a wall of affirmations and invite employees to contribute. They can pin notes to a bulletin board recognizing one another for good work, above-and-beyond deeds or other meaningful actions. The affirmation wall doesn’t have to be physical—a digital space works too. Hand out small gifts, like lip balm or fidget sliderz, to employees who contribute or are recognized on the wall.

Make small gestures when the budget is tight

Not all employee appreciation gifts need to be sizable investments. Organizations with smaller budgets can focus on thoughtful, meaningful gestures. A small token, like a value coffee mug or tote bag, paired with a hand-written thank-you card, is a thoughtful way to send a message of appreciation.

A company social media profile can be used to shout-out employees who finished a big project, scored a major victory or are just having a successful year. Showing appreciation to employees online might even boost engagement—a win-win. Even better, 51% of employees who receive regular recognition are highly likely to recommend their company as a great place to work. So those social media efforts may wind up aiding in recruitment and retention too.

Person standing in front of a work team. The team is clapping.

Give simple gifts that still make a big impact

If you’re a traditionalist, distributing employee appreciation gifts the old-fashioned way might be the best approach. Drop a gift card for a favorite coffee shop, bakery or snack shop at your employees’ workstations. Add a small note or send an email explaining you appreciate them and the work they do.

To up the ante, assemble a swag bag for all employees—or a specific team—to let them know their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. If summer is the theme, put a beach towel, vacuum tumbler and sport flyer in a drawstring sportpack and pass it out at the end of a week. Office employees will appreciate upgrades to their desks. A hub desk caddy or office cube can be the centerpiece of any office space.

No matter how small, appreciation gifts for employees make a big difference in the long run. One study showed 84% of employees felt more motivated when they received recognition for their work.

A boss and employee are shaking hands. Team members in the background are clapping.

Keep that momentum rolling

Embrace staff appreciation gifts at this mid-year mark, and don’t let up as the months pass. Set reminders on your calendar for weekly or monthly acts of recognition to keep workers feeling upbeat and seen. If you’ve implemented endeavors focused on employee recognition, like social media shout-outs or weekly awards, stay the course. With help from your meaningful actions, the year will go out in a “blaze of glory.”




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