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Employee Recognition is Good for Business

No one should be surprised to learn that expressing appreciation for a job well done is critical to creating a positive work environment, ensuring employee satisfaction, and contributing to company success.

According to a March 2022 survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Bonusly, nearly half of U.S. workers (46%) have left a job because they felt unappreciated, while 65% said they would work harder if their contributions were acknowledged by management. The importance of recognition isn’t limited to management; 65% of respondents said they would remain in a position with an unappreciative boss if their co-workers appreciated their work.

In fact, recognition is just as important—if not slightly more so—than salary. When asked how companies should show appreciation, a slight majority of respondents (35%) said they would prefer recognition in the form of perks, bonuses or recognition programs while 34% said pay increases and 30% said wellness and professional development stipends.

Why Is Recognition So Important?

Aside from boosting morale, increasing motivation, and enhancing overall employee satisfaction, employee recognition programs offer a number of benefits to employees and employers alike.

For instance, they foster greater loyalty and contribute to higher employee retention rates. Employees who feel valued naturally develop a stronger sense of loyalty to the company, leading to longer tenures, a greater commitment to teamwork, and a willingness to “go the extra mile” by working harder and longer when necessary. Because high turnover rates cost companies a lot of time and money in terms of recruitment, training, and lost productivity, creating a positive environment where motivated employees want to work relieves pressure on the bottom line.

Positive recognition is also good for employees’ health. Feeling acknowledged and appreciated reduces stress and burnout, replacing them with a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing. This helps build a more positive relationships between employees and managers, leading to better communication, greater trust, and a more open dialogue about work-related matters. The result is a culture of creativity and innovation where employees feel comfortable sharing ideas to improve processes, save money and increase efficiency, which ultimately benefits the company.

desk filled with corporate gifts

In fact, employees who are encouraged to make suggestions, recognized for their efforts, and rewarded for their contributions are more likely to seek new ways to improve and enhance their skills and performance, contributing to the company's ongoing growth and success. It’s the beginning of a virtuous cycle where managers who express gratitude to their employees encourage others to do the same, leading to improvements and innovations that afford new opportunities for accomplishments that lead to more recognition. The positivity is built into the corporate culture itself.

Ultimately, companies that build a reputation for appreciating and recognizing their employees enjoy a more positive public image that allows them to attract top talent, not to mention new customers who want to work with such a well-regarded partner. Aside from bring a kind gesture, it's a strategic move that positively impacts the company's operations, performance, and reputation, contributing to the organization’s overall success.

Best Ways to Recognize Employees

So how do employees want to be recognized? Unfortunately, there’s no single “right” answer. Every employee is different, and each will respond to and appreciate different types of recognition.

Employee recognition comes in many forms—everything from public acknowledgment at company meetings to cash awards, vacations, and various types of gifts. Companies that have formalized the process with official employee recognition programs have set the standard for others to follow.

These programs typically use gifts to express gratitude for a job well done. What those gifts should be depends on employee preferences, corporate culture, and budget. It’s generally agreed that gifts that are thoughtful, personal, and express how much you value your employees' contributions are the most well received.

employee gifting ideas20 Suggestions for Recognizing Exemplary Employee Performance

While the list of possible gifts is virtually endless, here are 20 suggestions for ways you can acknowledge your employees’ contributions to the company. Even if these don’t quite hit the mark, they may inspire other ideas that send just the right message.

  1. Gift cards: Everyone loves a gift card. Whether it’s to a popular restaurant, online retailers, or entertainment venues, it gives the recipient a chance to splurge a bit where they might not otherwise. If a gift card to a specific vendor might be a bit risky, debit cards from companies like Visa or Mastercard can be spent anywhere.
  2. Customized gifts: Personalized gifts like engraved pens, plaques, mugs, and more can be a meaningful reminder to the employee of their valued achievements.
  3. Company swag: Corporate branded merchandise—everything from high-end accessories to apparel like hats, t-shirts, or hoodies—can help build a sense of belonging and loyalty.
  4. Spa or wellness packages: If your employees are the type that like to spoil themselves, treat them to a spa day, a massage, or a wellness package. It might be just what they need to relax, recharge, and come back motivated.
  5. Tech gadgets: Gifts like wireless headphones, smartwatches, portable chargers, computer tablets and the like are especially valued by a tech-savvy workforce.
  6. Subscriptions: In an increasingly online world, gift subscriptions to streaming services are particularly appreciated. Or for those who just want to relax when they get home from work, meal kit deliveries can be a thoughtful way to show appreciation while lightening their load.
  7. Cooking classes or food experiences: For those employees who find cooking an enjoyable pastime, gifting them with cooking classes, gourmet food baskets, or experiences at local restaurants is a great option.
  8. Professional development opportunities: This one can be a little tricky, but for ambitious employees looking to advance their careers, an offer to fund training courses, workshops, or conference passes that align with their career goals shows you are also interested in their professional development.
  9. Team outings: When you’re looking to recognize a group rather than an individual achievement, team-building activities or outings that build camaraderie offer a welcome break.
  10. Custom art or prints: Some companies have been known to commission artwork that reflects their company values or celebrated milestones—truly one-of-a-kind rewards for employees.
  11. Charitable donations: Allowing employees to choose a charity where the company can make a donation in their name appeals to a more altruistic workforce, giving them an opportunity to share their accomplishment by paying it forward.
  12. Fitness equipment: Work often makes it difficult to find time to exercise. Gifting health-conscious employees with items like yoga mats, resistance bands, or fitness trackers sends an important message: that you approve of and encourage healthy pursuits.branded promotional products that will not be thrown away
  13. Home office upgrades: With more people working from home these days, ergonomic office accessories, comfortable chairs, or decorative items make thoughtful gifts for remote workers.
  14. Tickets to events: Tickets to concerts, sporting events, and theatre performances, among other things, are always welcome, since it usually means the recipient can share the experience with a friend or loved one.
  15. Travel vouchers: For those who enjoy traveling, travel vouchers or airline miles send a dual message: first, thank you for your hard work, and second, you’ve earned a vacation.
  16. Time off: Even if you don’t offer travel vouchers or airline miles, a gift of additional paid time off—or the flexibility to take a paid personal day or two when desired—shows you agree they’ve earned a break.
  17. Artisanal gifts: Handcrafted items—everything from candles to gourmet chocolates and other unique crafts—are a nice personal touch.
  18. Language or other skill lessons: Paying for lessons in a language or some skill of interest, such as painting, photography, or a musical instrument, demonstrates your desire for the employee to enjoy like outside of the workplace.
  19. Reserved VIP parking spaces: For businesses in locations where parking is at a premium, offering preferred parking spots as a convenience for the recipient is always appreciated.
  20. Books: Gifting the employee with books related to personal development or leadership shows you are interested in their future at the company. Better yet, a book related to their interests demonstrates that you have taken the time to get to know them.

OnFulfillment is Your Employee Recognition Expert

With decades of experience planning, building, and executing employee recognition programs of all sizes, OnFulfillment knows how to produce a successful outcome.

In addition to developing and managing effective gifting programs, we also build and maintain the supporting landing pages and portals, assign and manage redemption codes, and drop-ship orders from distribution centers around the globe. We’ve also mastered global gift cards that support multiple currencies and languages, which means they can be redeemed locally at locations around the world.

We can help you build a successful employee recognition program, too. To learn how, just follow the link below:

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Topics: Promotional Swag Rewards Program Employee Engagement