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26 Best Employee Recognition Gifts to Show Your Appreciation

May 30, 2024

Your employee recognition gifts will sit on your crew's desk or get stuffed in a cabinet somewhere. It either hits the mark or is a total waste of money, and you (obviously) want more of the former.

The best employee recognition gifts:

  • Reflect genuine gratitude
  • Create lasting memories
  • Serve a purpose
  • Build a connection to your brand
  • Focus on the individual

Nailing the right employee recognition gift for a modern office is easier said than done, though. Sometimes, finding a gift will feel natural—other times, it'll feel like hunting down something (anything) for your first cousin once removed's surprise birthday party.

Below, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about employee recognition gifts to find the right rewards that best show your appreciation.


What Is an Employee Recognition Gift?

An employee recognition gift is a special present that tells your team members you notice, appreciate, and value their hard work. These gifts can come in all shapes and sizes—it could be as simple as a new techy gadget or as complex as a custom-made glass trophy.
It's all in the name. Employee appreciation gifts should be:

  • Personalized: >The gift should be unique to your employee. Every team member is different—no two employees probably want the exact same gift.
  • Appreciative: The gift should show that you notice and appreciate your employee's efforts. It shouldn't feel like a participation trophy.
  • Award: The gift should have value—whether that's practical or sentimental. It should feel earned and not just a handout.

How to Choose the Right Employee Recognition Gift

Not all employee recognition gifts are created equal. It's not enough to just give your employees something—it needs to hit the right notes of thoughtfulness, usefulness, and wow factor.

Your gifts should be more than just rewards. They should show your employee they're valued and recognized in a way that genuinely reflects their contribution to your company.

Here's how to pick employee appreciation gift ideas that hit the mark:

  • Match the Gift to the Milestone: Tailor your gift choice to the achievement. A five-year work anniversary might warrant a more substantial gift than a small project completion.
  • Consider the Price: Sure, if price wasn't a factor, you could just get every employee a brand-new car. But that's not realistic. It's about finding that sweet spot where the cost of the gift aligns with its impact on employee morale.<
  • Prioritize Quality: Choose something that won't fall apart the next day. A quality gift shows you care.
  • Personalize Your Gift: Personalized employee appreciation gifts add a special touch that shows you've put thought into the recognition. Whether you engrave their name, include a personalized message, or select a gift that suits their unique interests, personalization makes it matter.
  • Choose Practicality When Possible: Find gifts that your employees can actually use—whether it's upgrading their tech with new thingamabobs or gifting something unique for their desk.
  • Find a Cultural Fit: Double-check that the gift fits within your business's cultural context. What works in a trendy tech startup might not be the right fit in a traditional law firm.


The Best Employee Recognition Gifts in 2024

There are as many unique gift ideas as there are employees, so you'll need to do your due diligence to sift through the options and find the right ones.

Fortunately for you, we've done the hard work in narrowing down your list. Below, we've cataloged the best employee appreciation gifts in 2024. This list is bound to give you answers or at least spark your creativity in finding the perfect gifts—whether it's for Employee Appreciation Day or to recognize a one-off accomplishment.


1. Handwritten Note

A handwritten note will always offer a personal touch that no digital communication can match. Whether it's penned on elegant stationery or a simple card, this kind of personal gesture speaks volumes about appreciation and respect. It's a perfect way to convey gratitude for day-to-day achievements or add a heartfelt touch to any formal gift.


2. Reward Platform

Choose an employee recognition program with a one-stop-shop marketplace to let your employees choose the gifts they want. This pla food to tech gadgets to wellness packages—letting employees choose their own gifts based on points earned through their achievements.<


3. Custom Engraved Trophy

Create a custom-engraved trophy made of wood, glass, or polished metal containing the recipient's name, the date, and a recognition message. These are great employee appreciation gifts that are classic symbols of achievement that stand the test of time (literally).



4. Useful Desk Accessories


5. Software Subscription

Reward employees with software subscription that aligns with your team's interests or professional needs—be it graphic design programs, advanced analytics tools, or premium project management software. These gifts make their lives easier and show that you support their growth and development.


6. Professional Development Opportunity

This could be anything from funding for a specialist workshop, a course in an online academy, or tickets to a big industry conference. You're not just giving them a pass to learn—you're opening doors to new skills, networks, and opportunities. Gifting employees these experiences is a powerful way to say, "We believe in your future."

7. Subscription Box

Choose a theme that resonates with their personal interests. Whether it's gourmet snacks, craft coffees, books, or even geeky gadgets, each box is a monthly reminder that you appreciate their hard work.


8. Wellness Retreat

Express gratitude by treating your star performers to a wellness retreat. Whether it's a day of pampering at a luxury spa, a peaceful yoga retreat, or a weekend escape surrounded by nature, this gift is an excellent way for employees to unwind and disconnect from the daily hustle.


RELATED: Mental Health in the Workplace: How to Support Employees’ Mental Health at Work 


9. Paid Time Off

There's no gift quite like the gift of time. It's something that money can't buy—really, though. Offering extra paid time off is an excellent way to let your employees enjoy some well-deserved rest, pursue personal interests, or simply recharge their batteries.


10. Personalized Artwork

Improve an employee's workspace or home setup with a piece of personalized artwork. This could be a painting of them or one of their passions (think hobbies or sports teams) that'll make them light up every time they see it.


11. Stock Options

Give your employees stock options to give them more say and investment in the company's success. These options can create a greater sense of ownership and commitment, and it shows you care about your employee's financial well-being, too.


12. Charitable Donation

Make a charitable donation in your employee's name to a cause they care about. Let them choose.


13. Event Tickets

Show employees you care by scoring them tickets to a concert, play, or sporting event. Make sure it's something they want to go see—do your research, listen, and ask coworkers.

14. Office Makeover

They spend the majority of their waking lives serving your company—why not make it a bit more comfortable? Upgrade their chair for ergonomic comfort, add some smart, sleek storage solutions, or splash some color with vibrant art.


15. Drinkware

Improve your employee's hydration game with tried-and-true drinkware options. Think insulated stainless steel water bottles, elegant coffee mugs, or even a high-end tea set. Personalize these meaningful gifts with their name or a motivational quote.


16. Coffee

Make those coffee breaks that much better with premium beans from around the world. Whether they're espresso enthusiasts or French press fanatics, give them some extra fuel to enjoy. You could even get them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.


17. Book (or Audiobook)

Give your book lovers (you know who they are) their next favorite read. While a gift card to a local bookshop is always an option, impress your employees by finding a book on their to-read list. You might ask coworkers or check their Goodreads account to find a book that'll hit the mark.


18. Gardening Kit

A garden kit or even a plant can be a literal breath of fresh air for your employees. Give your employees everything they need to sprout a mini garden—from seeds to tools and a few little pots.


19. SWAG

Custom company SWAG (Stuff We All Get) isn't just cool—it's a way to make employees feel like part of the tribe. From sleek hoodies and t-shirts to tech gadgets embellished with the company logo, well-designed SWAG can make your employees feel proud to show off their company affiliation.


20. Team Outing

Nothing builds a team like stepping out of the office together. Organize a team outing to a local attraction, theme park, escape room, or cooking class. It's a great way to bond, relieve stress, and create lasting memories.


21. Public Recognition

Sometimes, celebrating employees with a shout-out in a public setting can mean the most. Give public recognition for an employee's hard work, anniversary, or milestone in front of peers during a meeting, in a company newsletter, or at a company event.

22. Prime Parking Spot

Employee gifts come in all shapes and sizes—just like your car. Give your employees VIP parking. It's a simple luxury that makes the morning commute just a tiny bit sweeter.


23. Adrenaline Experience

Nothing beats an adrenaline-pumping experience like skydiving, bungee jumping, or race car driving. Gift your employees lasting memories with tickets to an adrenaline experience, or send the whole team together.<


24. National Park Pass

An annual National Park Pass can open the door to adventures in some of the most beautiful places on earth. It's a gift that keeps on giving, and it's perfect for employees who like to spend their weekends outside.


25. Personalized Comic Book

Create a personalized comic book where your employee is the center of attention. Tell their story—that might be how they came to land at your company, or it might be their journey with your business so far.<


26. Quality Leather Goods

Leather goods never truly go out of style. Gift your employees anything from a leather wallet to a briefcase or handbag. Want to take it a step further? Engrave their name on the inside of the bag.


Build Your Employee Recognition Program with Terryberry

Want to find the best employee recognition gifts for your team? Let us help. Here's how Terryberry can transform your employee recognition program:

  • Customization: Forget one-size-fits-all. We customize rewards and recognition programs to reflect your unique company culture and values.
  • Reward Catalog: Let your employees shop for themselves with a one-stop shop for custom awards, jewelry, and company SWAG.
  • Engagement: Employee recognition gifts play a big part in the employee engagement equation, but we also support the other foundational pillars: wellness, feedback, and incentives.
  • Expert Support: Not sure where to start? No problem. Our team of experts will guide you through every step of the process.
  • Real Results At the end of the day, it's all about the impact. Our recognition programs aim to inspire and engage your team, boosting overall morale, productivity, and retention.

See for yourself. Schedule a live demo with one of our experts to see how we can help you create an employee recognition program that actually drives results.