Ideas and Tips for Awesome Employee Recognition Gifts

Reducing employee turnover is one of the top priorities of today’s HR professionals. And there’s a good reason for that. According to a study from HR Dive, a single employee turnover of a worker making the median salary of $45,000 cost the average company $15,000. And that $15,000 is a complete loss. Add to that the “indirect costs” like employee knowledge, which is no longer available, and the time it takes for new employees to become as productive as the former employee and the total costs become alarming. 

Another problem that many employers have is keeping their workforce engaged, focused and productive. Millennials are especially prone to boredom and disengagement according to one survey we found. This lack of engagement is the result of both a changing culture around work and the fact that many young workers have more opportunities and offers than ever before. This in turn leads to higher turnover rates for employers willing to give employees what they are looking for. 

Luckily, workers are telling us exactly what they want via workforce surveys. And the number one thing that keeps coming up on all the surveys is the desire to be recognized and appreciated. According to data collected by Surveymonkey, 63% of survey respondents said that if they are regularly recognized, they are “very unlikely” to job hunt in the next 3 to 6 months.

In another study conducted by Achievers, of the 1,700 survey respondents, 55% percent were planning on leaving their current position and lack of recognition was cited as the number one reason. 

Clearly, employee recognition is an important factor in retaining your workforce, reducing costs and creating a good office culture. But not many employers use recognition programs, and the ones that they may be using may not be effective. Below we give you some ideas and tips on how to create employee recognition programs that will be effective and show your employees you care.

1. Get your employees’ input. 

Part of recognizing your employees and showing them you care is putting in the effort to get their input on how things are run. This includes any employee recognition programs that you plan on implementing. Survey your staff and ask them what they would like to see from a recognition program. Engage them in creating a company culture that encourages recognition of accomplishments both professional and personal and encourage them to communicate their appreciation to their coworkers.

2. Tenure Based Recognition 

According to Forbes, up to 87 percent of recognition programs focus on tenure. But according to that same article, tenure based recognition programs are not very effective at reducing turnover. However, there is another school of thought that tenure based recognition actually increases retention of millennial workers, who are more prone to jump from job to job. So the jury is still out on the effectiveness of tenure based recognition, and the most reasonable assumption is that it suffers from diminishing returns. Recognition of an employee after a year of service is novel and exciting. Recognizing them after several years becomes standard and trite. Keep this in mind as you plan your recognition programs. At minimum, we recommend some form of acknowledging employee tenure but do not put all your eggs in that basket. 

3. A Thank You Meeting

This one is simple and costs nothing, but employees consistently say that recognition in the form of personal thanks is better than money in some cases. To make this thank you the most impactful, call the employee into the office to personally thank them. Make sure that you don’t bring up other issues in the discussion though. Make the meeting totally about how appreciative you are of the job they have done. This is also a great time to give them a gift for their service. 

4. Praise from a Customer 

Sometimes you don’t see the valuable and incredible work your employees do. The customer does. Ask customers or vendors to recognize the employees that have contributed most to their positive experience with the company. This is a great way to get a list of those employees who deserve recognition but are given a degree of autonomy that makes it difficult for you to see their performance. 

5. Company Branded Gifts

A great way to recognize the hard work of your employees is to give them branded customized gifts. A branded customized gift not only shows your employees that you value thier hard work, but builds a bond between the employee and the company while getting your brand out there. Employees, especially happy employees, are some of the best mouthpieces for a brand and can even become a lifelong customer as well. 

Some things to Consider with Branded Gifts 

  • Customize

Make sure that the gift is unique and tailored to your specific company mission or value. Or it can even be an outside issue that your company is dedicated to helping improve. 

  • Get Employee Input 

Just like with any recognition program, your employees are a great source of ideas for gifts. Sometimes they might understand a particular company value in a way that you have never thought of and have ideas from branded products that match it.

  • Consider Creating a Company Store 

A company store is a great way to create an inventory of gift ideas to give to your employees and also give employees access to these products to purchase. 


There are so many ways CCG Promo can help you create meaningful, long-lasting impressions for employee recognition.


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