48 of The Best Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas for 2022

Thomas Paris
September 21, 2022
48 of The Best Employee Appreciation Gift Ideas for 2022

Whether giving is on your mind because of Employee Appreciation Day or you simply want to thank your team members, employee appreciation gifts are the way to go. From a simple heartfelt note to a personal vacation budget, there are lots of ways to express your gratitude.

In this guide, we’ll explore what an amazing employee appreciation gift looks like. We’ll also share some of our best employee appreciation gift ideas for every budget and situation, so you can find the perfect gift at any moment. 

What makes a good employee appreciation gift?

Like any type of gift, the best employee appreciation gifts feel personal, unique, and special. They’re based on what the recipient would enjoy or appreciate the most, so a cookie-cutter approach doesn’t work here.

Instead, create an employee appreciation program that features a mix of rewards, gifts, and experiences to suit individuals. Have a bank of ideas you can use as regular monthly or quarterly gifts, plus some surprise gifts you can send to individuals to honor personal achievements.

Employee recognition should be given often, so include some budget-friendly options in your plan. Research shows that while 25% of workers have received praise in the last week, achieving a figure closer to 60% can lead to higher quality work and a reduction in absenteeism. 

Create a culture where showing appreciation is the baseline, and strive to create moments of thanks in your everyday routine. Choose gifts that are:

  • Meaningful
  • Relevant
  • High-quality
  • Personalized
  • Specific
  • Enjoyable
  • Memorable 

It’s also important to consider your recipients’ “love language” when it comes to gifts. Some people prefer words of appreciation; others enjoy receiving physical gifts or experiences. 

Tailor your employee appreciation gifts to each team member to really create a meaningful exchange. 

48 employee appreciation gifts to help you thank your team the right way

A woman holding a cup

Looking for an incredible Employee Appreciation Day gift? Want to treat your team members to a memorable experience for their hard work? You’re in the right place. Celebrate your employees and let them know just how grateful you are for these fun, meaningful employee appreciation gifts. 

Unique employee appreciation gift ideas

We want our employees to feel appreciated every day, but sometimes, you want to truly make an impact with an especially impressive gift. 

If you want to say thank you to someone in a big way, here are some of our favorite unique gift ideas to surprise them with. 

1. Educational classes or learning experiences

Most of us have something we’d love to learn more about, whether that’s how to make the perfect pasta or how to code. Invest in your employees’ passions, interests, and future with the gift of extended learning. 

Surprise your team members with a budget that they can spend on any learning experience, class, or course that interests them. This could be an online or in-person class, or even a course you all go through as a team. This is a great way to thank someone for their hard work and show that you care about the things they enjoy. 

2. Personal vacation budget

There’s a big world out there outside of work. For your employees that love to explore new cities or simply relax on the beach, the idea of a personal vacation budget is really exciting. 

Put together a personal budget that your employees can spend on a special vacation for a milestone work anniversary gift or as a thank you for making a big company dream happen. To make this even more fun, create some destination guides or ideas to help them plan an epic getaway, even if it’s just for a weekend. 

3. Funded company clubs

Vacations are one of the best ways to relax and unwind, but they can’t happen every month. Instead, you can set up and fund interest clubs that people can join in on a regular schedule. 

Interest clubs are easy to set up and are a great way to bring people together based on shared hobbies like reading, gaming, cooking, or crafting. Use some of your corporate gifting budget to provide drinks and snacks using a Hoppier card, or buy supplies like books, games, and ingredients. 

4. Mini company retreat

We often think of company retreats as a useful way to gather everyone in one place to share ideas, make progress, and get to know each other. They can also be used as a rewarding employee appreciation gift — especially if you put the focus on wellness and personal growth. 

Make time at your annual corporate retreat for moments of gratitude, or host a dedicated mini retreat around these themes. Ask your team members which activities they’d most like to try, then plan a schedule that features sessions based on their interests and passions. 

You could even make the planning of the whole event collaborative, giving your employees the gift of choice over locations, venues, restaurants, activities, and more. 

5. Extra vacation day

Sometimes, all your team members want is an extra day off that they can spend relaxing, being with loved ones, or working on a passion project. This is a super simple employee appreciation gift idea, but often one of the most popular with your employees. 

An extra vacation day makes a great birthday gift, or as a way to thank someone for working hard on a tough project. Encourage your employees to use the day however they like, with no work pressure at all. To make this gift even sweeter, throw in a Hoppier virtual card loaded with a balance that they can spend on coffee at Starbucks, a shopping spree at Amazon, or a new subscription at Calm.

6. Personalized consultation with an expert

Life is filled with small moments, but every now and then we’ll want to make a big change. If one of your employees has this in mind, a personal consultation with an expert makes for a really thoughtful gift idea. 

Pair your employee up with an expert that can help turn their dreams into reality. Maybe that’s an interior designer to help them plan their new living space, or a style consultant to help them create a capsule wardrobe. Time and support to help someone figure something out is one of the best gifts you can give. 

7. Better working hours

We give so much of our lives to the work that we do. Whether your team works remotely or commutes into the office, their workday experience can have a big impact on employee morale. Show that you care about your employees beyond what they bring to work by creating a culture of better or more flexible working hours. 

Adding flexible working hours or changing up your standard day is a big company culture switch, but it’s also a great way to give back to your employees at scale. Find a change that works for you and your team members — whether that’s an early finish on Fridays, fully flexible hours, or shorter work days during the Summer months. 

8. Personal gratitude budget

Research shows that recognition from management matters, but peer-to-peer recognition can be even more impactful. Empower your team members with a small budget that they can spend on gifts for the people they work with, for any reason they like. 

Decide on a figure that fits your budget and surprise your employees with this new policy. Encourage them to send thank you gifts (doesn't have to be too elaborate, even customized t-shirts and keychains work) to team members for contributions to projects, being helpful, and making progress with their work or personal goals. This is a great way to invest in your team and create a culture of gratitude and appreciation. 

Employee appreciation gifts under $25 

You don’t have to spend hundreds to let your employees know they’re doing an incredible job. At under $25 each, these employee appreciation gifts are perfect for a birthday, holiday, or occasional treat. 

9. Personalized drinkware

Surprise your hardworking team members with a stainless steel tumbler, coffee mug, drinking glass, or water bottle that’s uniquely theirs. Personalize the item with their name, their favorite quote, or your company brand. Send it their way inside a gift box alongside a message of appreciation. 

10. Virtual gift card for a wellness or spa experience

We all know how valuable investing in wellbeing can be, but sometimes it takes a gift from someone else to remind us to stress relief and relax. Use Hoppier to send your employees a virtual card that they can spend with vendors like Spafinder, Classpass, Headspace, and more. 

11. Tickets to a live show or game

Show team members you care about the things they love with tickets to see their favorite sports team, music artist, or art exhibition, either in-person or online. This makes a particularly great gift for sport or culture lovers, plus it’s a thoughtful way to create a deeper bond with your team. 

12. Personalized art

Give your employees the gift of something fun to liven up their home office space with personalized art. Ask them for their favorite song, movie, or location, and have some wall art or a desk-friendly photo block made to showcase it. 

13. Fresh blooms or a floral arrangement

Fresh flowers are always a winning gift idea for birthdays and holidays, and they make great employee appreciation gifts too. Express gratitude for someone’s hard work, loyalty, or creativity by sending them a beautiful bunch of flowers from a local florist — or a letterbox arrangement they can style at home. 

14. Charity donation

Appeal to the philanthropic side of your team members by making a charity donation in their name. Ask everyone for their favorite charity so you can make a surprise donation on their behalf, or offer it as an option they can choose for milestone moments.

15. Personalized gift basket

One of the best ways to show you care about someone is to send a personalized care package or gift basket. Take notes on which items, hobbies, snacks, and trends your employee appreciates the most, and craft a bespoke mini gift basket to send their way. 

16. Cozy hoodie

Give your employees the gift of ultimate coziness with a high quality hoodie. Stick to something they can wear out and around the house, or add your company logo or a slogan if you know they’d love it. Encourage them to unwind with a good book and a cup of tea — and send them these too, if you can. 

Employee appreciation gifts under $15

Excited man and woman

It should always feel easy to send a small gift someone’s way for doing a great job. With these $15 and under employee appreciation gifts, you can express your gratitude without making a dent in your budget. 

17. Desk plant

Plants are a great way to brighten up office spaces and add some much-needed greenery, and they make awesome employee appreciation gifts too. Send a small desk plant, succulent, or even an artificial plant to liven up your employee’s home or office space. 

18. Seasonal mini gifts

A great way to make your small budget go further is to send mini versions of gifts to your employees. Put together a thoughtful gift set with mini treats like candles, lip balm, candy, and accessories that match the season. This works perfectly around the holidays or the start of a season, so you can welcome in the warm Summer days or celebrate the hygge feel of Winter together.

19. Food truck visit

Treat your employees to a quick thank you meal with a visit from your most loved food truck. A food truck visit works best and is more affordable if your team works from one location, but you could also put together a multi-stop tour if everyone’s in the same city. For remote workers, send them a Hoppier virtual credit card with a list of your recommended food vendors so they can order something delicious. 

20. Monthly staff appreciation award

Make celebrating achievements part of your regular activities with a monthly staff appreciation award. This can be as lavish or laid-back as you like — award your winner with a physical trophy, a Hoppier virtual gift card, or simply the kudos of knowing they’re the current employee of the month award winner. 

21. Favorite drinks and snacks

For a super affordable yet sweet way to say thank you, stock up on your employee’s favorite snack or drink. This is a small yet mighty employee appreciation gift idea, as it’s a great way to put a smile on someone’s face. Stock up the fridge with their favorite soda, mail them a box of their most loved candy, or put together a box of yummy sweet treats. 

22. Book or audiobook credit

Treat your team members to an escape into a fantasy world or a deeper understanding of the world around them with a physical book or audiobook credit. Ask them to put together a wishlist and surprise them with one of the books on their list, or use Hoppier to send them a virtual card to spend with Audible.

23. Virtual gift card for coffee 

Be inspired to express gratitude on a more regular basis by handing out virtual gift cards for coffee, tea, or fresh juice. We all have different preferences when it comes to coffee, and with Hoppier you can give the ultimate gift of choice. Your employees can choose from their favorite coffee place, whether that’s Starbucks, Dunkin, Tim Hortons, or somewhere else. 

24. Desk plate sign

You can pick up some fun and quirky employee appreciation gifts for under $15, and one of our favorites is a desk place sign. Look for a ready-made design that matches your gift recipient’s personality, or have a custom sign made with their name or their favorite saying. 

Staff appreciation gifts on a budget

A man jumping in the air

We know that not every company has a huge budget for employee engagement ideas. If it’s a struggle to get buy-in from your senior team or you simply want some super affordable ideas, these staff appreciation gifts are easy to achieve on a budget.

25. Personalized thank you note

Something that costs you nothing but can make a real impact is a handcrafted note of appreciation, thanks, or gratitude. Make your thank you note specific to an achievement or moment, and deliver it in a handwritten note, carefully crafted email, or digital card. 

26. Fun company holiday day

Add some humor and fun to your workweek by designating a special fun day to say thank you to your employees. This helps build relationships and create a positive work-life balance, especially if you host a “bring your kids/pets to work” day, or a family fun day to celebrate the warmer months. These themes translate well to remote work too, as you could host a remote picnic or pet introduction session on a video call. 

27. Handmade baked goods

If you’re a great baker, bringing some homemade treats into the office is a lovely way to express your thanks. Freshly baked goods always make a wonderful thank you gift, so if your budget is tight but you want to make your team members smile, this is a go-to employee appreciation gift idea. 

28. Virtual staff party

For a simple yet impactful way to say thank you to your team, host a virtual office party. Invite everyone to join you for an hour or two to chat, play games, enjoy a drink, and bond over shared memories. Add another layer of thanks to your virtual party by sending a Hoppier card to your attendees, so they can order drinks or snacks for the virtual event

29. Wall of gratitude

Seeing positive comments, messages of thanks, and shoutouts all in one place can be a powerful way to inspire, motivate, and reward your team members. Create a digital or physical wall of gratitude to showcase messages of appreciation. This is one of those employee appreciation gift ideas that anyone can introduce, even on a really tight budget. 

30. Candy 

Candy doesn’t cost much, but there’s a definite “feel good” moment that comes with being surprised by your favorite goodies. Use this as a small way to say thank you to someone for being an amazing coworker, sharing a great idea, or simply because you appreciate their company. 

31. Mood-boosting SMS texts

Sometimes a little message to say well done or thank you is all it takes to bring people together. If your team members are on board with it, set up a group chat where you can send out your positive messages of appreciation and thanks. It’s a simple yet effective way to uplift moods and create some happy energy for the day ahead. 

32. Public shout out

Recognition within your company is great, but you might want to take it a step further and really shout about someone’s achievements or contributions. For these moments, consider a public mention like a piece in the company newsletter, a message on social media, or a call out at your next all-hands meeting. Check with your employee first though to see if they’d love this — if not, find an appreciation gift that they would.

Appreciation gifts for remote employees

A deliriously happy woman

With so many amazing virtual or mail options out there, sending employee appreciation gifts during COVID-19 or to remote teams doesn’t have to be boring. Take inspiration from some of our favorite remote-friendly employee recognition gifts. 

33. Virtual event experience

With many shows still taking place online, a virtual event experience like a broadway show can be a wonderful way to treat your remote employees. Get your team together to discuss plans to all see the same show together and chat about it, or use this as a unique gift to thank an individual. 

34. At-home services

When you work remotely, you’re home a lot — which also means you can quickly get tired of a cluttered space or a busy schedule. Give your team members an employee appreciation gift with real practical value with an at-home service gift certificate. Encourage your team members to spend this on cleaning, decluttering, childcare, personal assistance, vacation planning — or any area that they’d love some help with. 

35. Video from their favorite celebrity or personality

If you know your virtual team member has a favorite celebrity or online personality, treat them to a personalized video from them. This is a super creative thank you gift, and one that works wherever your team member is. See if their favorite person is on Cameo, or reach out to their agent if they’re not. 

36. At-home dining experience

It’s harder to treat your remote team members to dinner, but you can help recreate something special for them with an at-home dining experience. Send them a Hoppier card and encourage them to order their favorite drinks and takeout to enjoy at home with friends or family members. Provide themes and tailor your card to certain cuisines, or keep it open and let them choose. 

37. Home office upgrades

Surprise your team members with some amazing new home office upgrades as a thoughtful way to express your appreciation. Let your budget guide you on this one, but this could be anything from a top-of-the-range ergonomic chair to a set of customized earbuds or a super fast charger. The goal is to give a thank you gift that’s not only meaningful but practical too. 

38. Digital thank you card

Sending an employee appreciation gift to your remote workers doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple, thoughtful digital thank you card can go a long way. Use an online card service like Greenvelope to customize a design, then spend some time thinking of the perfect way to get your message across.

39. High-quality travel accessories

Work often takes your team members to new places. If they travel a lot, send them some high-quality travel accessories to express your gratitude. Headphones, laptop bags, luggage tags, travel totes, and document wallets are a few travel must-haves you can invest in. 

40. Virtual happy hour

Say thank you to your amazing remote team members at scale by hosting an epic virtual happy hour in their honor. Choose a theme, plan some activities, and cover the drinks by sending your attendees a Hoppier card in advance. Hoppier is the only truly global partner for food and drink recognition programs, meaning your remote team can order food, drinks, and snacks wherever they are in the world. 

Appreciation gifts for in-office employees 

Even though remote working is on the rise, let’s not forget about engaging in-person experiences and office gifts too. Let the people around you know they’re appreciated with these fun, office-friendly employee recognition gift ideas. 

41. Family photoshoot day

Invite your team members to bring their family along for the day for a photoshoot, and cover the cost of some of the images so they can keep the memories forever. This is a lovely way to celebrate your employees’ contributions, embrace their life outside of work, and meet their wonderful families (and pets)!

42. Lunch on the house

Employee appreciation gifts don’t have to be grand to make a difference. Surprise your team members with lunch provided by you — and give them the choice of where they’d like it ordered from. This team gift is a great way to boost the mood every month or show appreciation for recent achievements. 

43. Fun team experience

Use your employee appreciation gift as the perfect excuse for a team-building moment with an in-person experience day. Head to an escape room, VR experience, or skydiving center to try something new and embrace teamwork while doing it. Poll your team members to find out what they’d be most interested in trying, and build your experience around that. 

44. Chill out zone

If you have the space and budget, creating a chill-out zone at your office is a great way to invest in your staff members’ well-being. Set up an area with comfy chairs, relaxing lighting, and plenty of books. Encourage people to use it whenever they like as a stress reliever and welcome break during their day. This office perk is an employee appreciation gift that keeps going long beyond your initial investment. 

45. Fresh coffee and snacks

Keeping your office fridge stocked with soda and plenty of fresh fruit in the kitchen is always a winner, but a food-themed surprise also makes a great employee appreciation gift. Turn up with fresh coffee and donuts to say thank you for working hard, or bring in some still-warm pastries to brighten up a team meeting.

46. Themed office celebration

Transform your office for the day by hosting an incredible themed celebration in honor of your team members. Be inspired by the holidays and create a winter wonderland and exchange holiday gifts, or create your own staff appreciation week event and let your team choose the theme, decor, food, and activities. 

47. Up close animal encounter

Puppies will always be adorable and make a great employee appreciation gift idea if your team members are all about those sweet, fuzzy paws. Host an up-close animal encounter at your office with puppies or reptiles, or head to a local zoo or animal conservation park for an expert-led experience with a more unusual animal. 

48. Work anywhere day

If your office-based team tends to stay at their desks, encourage them to spend the day working from anywhere. Give your team members a flexible budget that they can spend on a coworking space, drinks in their favorite coffee shop, or a takeout lunch so they can work from home in comfort. 

Hoppier: an easy way to make employee appreciation part of your company culture

Sending thoughtful, personalized gifts at scale is often a challenge for thriving businesses. It’s not always practical to create those individual employee engagement moments with everyone whom you want to show appreciation for. With Hoppier, you can retain that personal touch while managing employee recognition and corporate gift programs across your whole company. 

Hoppier makes it easier than ever to express appreciation for your team members wherever they are in the world, thanks to our globally-reaching platform. You can set up a new program and have a virtual gift card on its way to a special employee in moments, so there’s no delay in thanking them for their hard work. 

Get started with your employee appreciation program in minutes. Create a new program, give it a catchy title, and add a fun emoji to match. Customize your virtual card design with your brand colors and company logo, so it matches your style perfectly. 

Hoppier lets you customize your virtual card

Next, decide how your program will work. Set a budget for your virtual card and decide when the budget expires. Anything unspent after this time gets returned to you, so it can be reinvested in a future employee appreciation gift. Narrow down your list of vendors to create a curated experience for your team members, or leave it open to choice. 

Hoppier has partnerships with thousands of brands

Once you’re happy with your card, craft a thoughtful email to go alongside it. This is your opportunity to express what you’re thankful for, why you’re sending this gift and your hope that they’ll be able to spend it on something they love. All that’s left then is to hit send. 

Send clients or employees thoughtful emails when offering Hoppier cards

Hoppier is wonderful for both one-off thank you gifts to individuals and employee appreciation gifts for your whole team. Send a Hoppier card to a super supportive employee to spend on anything they like, or create a more tailored experience with a themed Hoppier card for a team-wide virtual office party. Our platform gives you the perfect outlet for your creativity when it comes to employee appreciation gift ideas.

Make your team members feel amazing with these thoughtful employee appreciation gift ideas

We have to work harder than ever before to keep our most valuable team members around. Be generous with your gratitude and invest in employee appreciation gifts to show them how much you value them. 

Use this guide to help you put together a shortlist of fun employee appreciation gift ideas, then find a way to bring your ideas to life. See how we can help you show appreciation for your incredible team members — get started with Hoppier today.


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