The Top 5 Holiday Gifts Every Employee Secretly Wants

Published On: December 29, 2022|Categories: Employers, General|
Hand giving present gift box reward in business office with space for text.

Do you know how the saying, “happy wife, happy life”?

Well, employees who know they’re valued will experience a greater sense of ambition which leads to improved productivity, drive, and overall work performance and often leads to better employee retention rates as well as significant company growth.

People matter, but too many have been led to feel as if they don’t. People need and want to be affirmed they are seen and that their presence and efforts are valued. The right gift can be a great way of translating that to someone; the wrong gift can be hurtful or even slightly offensive.

Shopping for holiday gifts for coworkers is one thing, but shopping for holiday gifts for employees is another. It can be tough to navigate gift-giving in the workplace, but it can also be an incredibly powerful way to show your appreciation to your employees if you take a little bit of time to read articles like this one.

All you need is to know what your employees actually want.

We’re going to discuss the pros and cons of common workplace gift exchanges, as well as provide the top five corporate holiday gifts that your employees will be thrilled to receive.

Secret Santa versus White Elephant

“Secret Santa” and “White Elephant” are two phrases that typically elicit either excitement or dread in people. Some genuinely have a great time with this game, while others couldn’t imagine anything worse.

The best way to figure out if your employees would be interested in an office gift exchange would be to simply ask them. You can create a simple poll online to send out via email or you can ask every person to write “yes” or “no” on a piece of paper and drop it into a bowl.

Both poll options are an effective way of discovering what your employees are genuinely interested in, and therefore what they would actually participate in (of their own free will).

Because both games require financial participation as well as additional time and energy spent on something work-related but not work-compensated, it’s best to make participation optional for your employees. Be sure to clarify that participating in the game is completely voluntary and that if they choose not to attend, their absence will not be held against them.

Top holiday gifts for employees

The holidays are one of the best opportunities to show your employees just how grateful you are for their presence, their contribution, their time and all of the energy they give to the company.

Here are the top five gifts that nearly every employee in every industry wants as a holiday gift.

1. A promotion or raise

Is there an employee who’s been showing exemplary work ethic and performance consistently and would be a good fit for a leadership role? Maybe there’s an employee who asked for a raise in recent years but was denied due to a lack of resources, and now there’s room in the budget. Many employers are reluctant to provide raises and promotions unless asked directly, but it’s one of the best trust-building and loyalty-affirming steps you can take.

2. Extra time off

Burnout — a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion — has been alarmingly on the rise in America in the last 10 years. It leaves individuals in a constant state of stress, while also being overwhelmed with feelings of depletion and dissociation that can lead to the development of mental health conditions when left unaddressed. Everyone can benefit from extra time off.

3. A gift card

Gift cards are simple, but the right ones are very effective. If you know specific stores or restaurants that your employees like, giving cards to those places can add a meaningful personal touch to the gift. If you don’t, that’s totally okay; Visa gift cards are often appreciated because people have a variety of stores to choose from, as are Amazon gift cards.

4. Cash or a bonus

Whether it’s a quarter under your pillow when you were nine, a twenty-dollar bill from your grandmother on your birthday or a big check from your boss at the end of the year, people love getting cash gifts. While it might seem a bit impersonal to some, it’s never underappreciated.

You never fully know what your employees are going through, and sometimes a generous bonus at the end of the year can make all the difference in the world and in their lives.

5. Travel vouchers

This is a unique gift that, depending on your staff, may or may not be well-received. Traveling, while a joy for many, is a burden for others. While some people might like staying in an intimate Bed and Breakfast in the countryside, others might prefer a luxury hotel in the heart of a city. Because of this, travel vouchers (like gift exchange games) are best distributed after getting confirmation from your employees through a poll.

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