By Margie Zable Fisher

Think about it. Was there ever a time when you didn’t want to get a gift?

Unlikely. (Unless it’s that one friend who keeps regifting …)

Employees are people first, and they like to receive holiday gifts from their employers, according to a recent holiday gifting survey by payouts platform, Tremendous.

Your gift doesn’t need to break the bank. A gift worth $50-$100 is an appropriate range, according to 66% of the survey respondents. And that small amount can pay big dividends.

After receiving a holiday gift, 75% of respondents said their job satisfaction increased. In fact, 74% said these good feelings lasted three months or more, and 46% said it lasted a year or more.

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Free: Holiday Marketing Handbook


While employee satisfaction is always important, with today’s labor shortages, keeping employees happy is essential.

Holiday gifting is often part of an overall employee recognition program. According to a new Gallup/Workhuman survey, workers are 56% less likely to look for a new job if their employer prioritizes employee recognition.

So we’ve created this small business gift guide to help you pick presents your staff will love, and will love you for them.

Gifts Employees Love

In the Tremendous gifting survey, money was the top choice of 65% of respondents. They were happy with cash, a Visa® gift card or money added to a paycheck.

If you prefer to give a more personal gift, maybe in addition to money, consider adding one of these items (and no need to wait for the holidays to give them):

Personalized Yeti Travel Mug — $35

Whether it’s for your roofer who is always on the go, or your office manager who drinks coffee all day, the Yeti Rambler 20 oz. stainless steel travel mug is durable and keeps beverages hot or cold.

The best part? You can choose a color and even get it personalized with your employee’s name.

Subscription Boxes for Everyone, from Cratejoy — under $25 and up

Show your employees you’re really paying attention! Get them something specifically tailored to their interests. You can generally send these sampler boxes once, for three months, six months or a year. Cratejoy offers hundreds of types of boxes. For example:

Shiatsu Foot Massager — $80

Help your employees take a load off! If they’re on their feet all day, they’ll appreciate it. This massager is great to keep at home or in the office and includes options for heating, air compression and kneading.

Work Gloves and Upgraded Work Gear — $23

Keeping employees safe is so important. Why not help them by providing top-notch work gear they might not buy themselves?

These HVAC work gloves are 18G Kevlar with Intercept Technology. The patented gloves offer superior cut protection and the ability to work with snips, screws and sheet metal. They also are flexible enough to use with a smartphone.

If your employees wear boots, consider doing what the owners of Sunshine Home Services do. They bring a Red Wing Shoes truck to their office and purchase new boots for every team member.

Motivational Gallon Water Bottle — $24

This gigantic (128 oz.) BPA-free water bottle with straw virtually guarantees your employees will be well-hydrated!

Featuring a variety of colors and motivational time markers on the bottle (9 a.m. says “You’ve Got It” and 7 p.m. says “A Little Bit More”), it’s both a fun and functional gift.

Any of Oprah’s Favorite Things — various prices

Oprah pretty much invented the category of great holiday gifts. She and her staff spend months going through hundreds of the newest and most amazing options. Giving a gift from her Favorite Things List is sure to please.

This year’s list includes tech gifts, food gifts, wellness gifts and more.

What Employees Don’t Want

You might want to consider skipping the holiday party this year. According to a survey from Randstad, 90% of employees said they would prefer to get extra vacation days or a bonus instead of a holiday party.

And save your company’s promotional items for customers. Only 18.7% of employees in the Tremendous survey included company swag in their top five, and a minuscule 2% chose it as their first choice.

What You Can Do for Employees

The holidays are a great time to thank your employees for their hard work. What better way to do show your gratitude than with a meaningful gift that will help them feel appreciated and more satisfied with their jobs all year round?

Holiday Marketing Handbook

Holiday Marketing

Maximize your business's marketing strategy for a successful holiday season: from pre-season preparation to during and after the festivities.