Employee Gifting, Recognition & Celebrations – Why Companies Should Invest in a Gifting Program
The future of work is evolving and doesn’t show any signs of going back to employees only working from the office. While companies are figuring out if they want to be in-office only, allow employees to work remotely from home, or are creating a hybrid office environment, investing in company culture has never been more crucial. You may be looking at end-of-year gifts or figuring out what to do for employee birthdays. The best way to show your staff that you're thinking of them, care about them, and appreciate what they do for the company is to give them recognition.
Employees who get thoughtful gifts are happier at work and are more driven to be productive. The good work they put in reflects your outcomes. So, how would you want to celebrate your employees, not just for their work, but for major life milestones?
We’ve got the formula to share with you on how to boost morale in the workplace and your employees’ experience at work with an extensive list of employee birthday recognition ideas and the research to back it up.
Let’s dive in!
What to Do for Employee Birthdays
Birthdays are one of your biggest chances to express your gratitude to employees. Sharing birthday treats for work gives employers the perfect opportunity to show recognition to individuals rather than a group, which can create a more special, 1:1 experience.
But, how do you decide what to give them? It can be challenging to determine what each employee prefers because everyone has different interests. So, get to know your employees to provide the best work birthday celebrations.
We surveyed 1,000 employees from various companies and here's why it’s important for companies to invest in a gifting program.
In the survey, over 53% of employees feel it’s important to have their birthday celebrated. Only 23% of those surveyed said it’s not important to get a birthday gift from work. Celebrating an employee’s birthday doesn’t just make them feel special — the added value comes from a different perspective that’s independent of their performance targets.
Younger employees find that it is important that their employers celebrate or recognize their birthday
Generational preferences exist in almost every area of life and celebrating birthdays was no exception, more specifically when it comes to the importance of recognizing an employee's big day. Most employees under 45 years old find celebrating their birthday to be important in the workplace.
Zooming out a bit to see the sentiment across male and female employees, we were a bit surprised to see these results. As it turns out, men find it more important to have their birthday recognized at work than women!
But what about people who work remotely or aren’t always in the office to have their birthdays celebrated? It’s especially important to celebrate employees who are often in hybrid or remote working environments, as they don’t get to experience the same social interactions and physical gift-giving events that office workers typically enjoy.
It all goes back to building a bond with where you work, the team members, and feeling recognized.
Birthdays can be used as a great prompt to show your appreciation through a thoughtful personalized gesture.
Employee Appreciation is Expected
We asked people who work in HR departments if they think recognizing birthdays is important. 75% of surveyors said it was very important to celebrate birthdays and that birthday gifts primarily increased emotional connection to the company. Higher emotional connection can often drive longer tenure. Individuals who received a gift from work felt rewarded, appreciated, and felt work morale increased thanks to birthday gifts.
Tip for HR: Create an Always Celebrate Mentality: “We have Birthday Thursday — the last Thursday of every month is when we celebrate that month's birthdays at the office. We get two cakes, beer, and that's it. Starts immediately after work at 6 pm. In a month when there are no birthdays, we just call it happy hour.” – Reddit user, xiaochenshu
Sure, it’s easy to have birthday celebrations at the office, but is it worth investing in remote employees or those in a hybrid office/remote situation? Yes!
Everyone appreciates celebrations no matter how important they see it as – it personally motivates them. Even surveyors who said they were indifferent about their birthday being recognized enjoy the special effort and employee recognition that goes into it!
Make Gifts Personal
No matter the office environment, if you want to help employees feel appreciated, celebrating birthdays should be your workplace standard.
Make it personal for them. In instances where workers are not always in the office, it is more important to give something more unique and thoughtful, as these gifts will not be accompanied by the physical gift-giving experience that in-office employees and employers are used to.
Of the 1,000 people surveyed, gift cards, custom company swag, and wine gift baskets were among the top favorite gifts that are easier to send out to everyone. These gifts are a great way to remind your employees to wind down and enjoy a little self-care. A company blanket as a gift at the end of the year does not hold the same weight in gratitude as celebrating an employee’s birthday.
More Occasions Employers Celebrate
Overall, giving gifts to employees is pretty common and becoming the standard if you want to be competitive in the hiring market. Companies need to incorporate some sort of recognition to have an unbeatable company culture.
Does your company want to make strides in a dynamic culture? Here are several different occasions employers celebrated to reinvigorate their employee appreciation program across all working environments:
The top holiday celebrated with gifts across all working environments was Christmas/Hanukkah. However, birthday celebrations for remote workers nearly tied with Christmas/Hanukkah celebrations. This shows that learning how to celebrate office birthdays remotely is becoming more and more popular.
Work anniversaries barely beat out Employee Appreciation Day but those two celebrations were the third most popular gift-giving occasions.
So what does all this mean? Every occasion counts! (Even if it’s just National Cookie Day) If you want to keep your team engaged, make them feel seen and appreciated!
HR Department Gifting
Gift-giving in the workplace has a positive impact on employees, even if it’s just Door Dash-ing a coffee to your cubicle mate. Holiday seasons aren’t the only time to spread a little office cheer. As long as it’s in good taste for the workplace, we’re sure HR would approve.
49% of surveyors reported getting a gift from a boss while 38% said they get gifts from coworkers.
Tip for HR: Creating a gifting program from the HR department is a great way to boost company culture and beat out competitive hiring markets!
When HR invests in a gifting program, occasions celebrated increase significantly, leading to happier employees who feel appreciated and have a longer tenure!
By expressing your gratitude to your staff, you demonstrate your passion for creating a healthy and happy work environment! Let’s face it, we spend more time with some of our coworkers than we do with family and close friends! You might as well find special ways to show appreciation and create joy in it all!
Employees feel more appreciated when gifts are personal, creating a stronger human connection rather than the same gift every time, every year.
You can tell when a gift comes from the heart. So, make sure your gift is genuine and well-tailored to the personality and preferences of the giftee.
“I received a blender from my boss. After I asked him how to make those wonderful looking smoothies he brings to work every day, he gave me the blender he uses and the recipe to the smoothie. It was by far the best gift I have received at work.” – Anonymous surveyor
HR Tip: When you can, include a thoughtful message along with the gift. Employees will appreciate the extra human touch, feel more connected to the company, and feel appreciated on an individual level.
Gifting Boosts Company Culture
56% of remote employees said celebrating a birthday made them feel more appreciated and 58% of employees who work in a hybrid situation felt an increase in their emotional connection to the company and its goals.
You and your staff will inevitably be more successful when your team is built on solid interpersonal bonds and a network of support. Group collaboration will be enhanced by taking some time out of your day to show appreciation to the people you are working with.
When someone feels valued, they are more likely to be inspired and productive at work. No matter what you're working on or how you evaluate your project's progress, all of this contributes to successful results.
Gifting Boosts Company Culture
Corporate gifting is important to demonstrate your care for the people you work with. Because let's face it: your employees are what helps your business succeed. You want to express your gratitude to them for their assistance while also keeping up strong ties with your team members.
Best Work Gifts
Now that you understand what to do for employee birthdays, let’s look at what a celebration at work looks like. Unpack our list of impactful employee birthday recognition ideas:
What’s the best birthday present that you have received from an employer?
The foundation of a fulfilling work experience is more than just free coffee or tea to energize your team. Why is this social exchange of gifts hardwired into our very nature, and why do we use gifts as a way to show appreciation or thanks? We are humans and crave connections, and yes, that includes in the workplace.
Here’s a list of the best birthday presents received from an employer based on our survey:
- Paid day off
- Gift card
- Nice bottle of wine
- Really nice office chair
User-generated review (source): “Our HR sends out an e-card for everyone to sign (via email), which she then prints into a little booklet and leaves for the employee. That way it's a more tangible item than just a link to the e-card. She also likes to include a balloon or two for the employee with the card.”
Final Tips from the Pros
Celebrating an employee’s birthday can be more exciting than a card or one cake for the whole office that month. Our goal is to make sure you see the need and benefit of investing in an employee gifting program, properly celebrating employees with birthday treats for work.
Are you ready to place your orders after reviewing some work birthday ideas? Consider collaborating with a company like Hickory Farms that specializes in employee birthday gift programs rather than attempting to collect and distribute the gifts yourself.
Partnering with Hickory Farms is an easy, stress-free way handle all your corporate gifting needs. Our business gifting specialists can help you choose impressive and unique employee birthday gifts, and set up a year-round gifting program to really make your employees feel appreciated. Treating your employees to curated gifts picked just for them is sure to boost their morale and make them feel like your company is a great place to work.