Many people feel gratitude for their employees and co-workers but don't necessarily express it. This year, why not consider inexpensive thank you gifts for co-workers—or if you're the boss, inexpensive employee thank you gifts?
Expressing thanks and giving gifts has a positive effect on the giver. But it's also good for the organization. “The more recognition and gratitude that exists in an organization, the better its going to perform," says Steve Pemberton, chief human resources officer at Workhuman, a software company focused on social recognition and performance. “That's proven by data."
For example, he says, frequent recognition by peers or management in the workplace leads to higher retention rates, a sense of belonging and lower stress levels.
Showing appreciation doesn't have to break the bank. Here are six ways to show your gratitude with inexpensive thank you gifts for co-workers and employees this holiday season—and year round.
It's hard to go wrong with a plant. Even a small desktop plant can help clean the air and add a burst of color in a workspace, especially when it's cold and gray outside. Co-worker's got a brown thumb? Put an air plant—bromeliads that get their nutrients from the air, so they don't need soil or water—in a cute container.
2. Gift Cards
Gift cards have become ubiquitous. They are especially good for those hard-to-buy-for co-workers. But while they are convenient, gift cards can lack in personality. Consider options that show a little thought. Workhuman's Pemberton recommends getting co-workers a gift card at a local restaurant, coffee shop or movie theater.
3. Books and Magazines
Business and entrepreneurship coach Nicole Farmer suggests giving employees a magazine subscription that reflects their interests or personality. She also likes to give a recent book “that touched you and helped get through the year," she says.
All those hours toiling away make workers hungry. Homemade cookies or brownies are almost always appreciated. Not a cook? Offer to take a co-worker out for lunch or a festive drink. Or, if you're the boss, treat the team to an in-office lunch.
The more recognition and gratitude that exists in an organization, the better its going to perform.
—Steve Pemberton, chief human resources officer, Workhuman
If you know your co-worker well and want to get something more personal, you can find inexpensive thank you gifts for co-workers online at places like Etsy or UncommonGoods, which offer quirky, independently-made gifts.
6. Bartering With Other Businesses
Small businesses might want look for another small business that they can barter or exchange products with that would be a no- or low-cost way to treat employees, says Farmer. For example, a restaurant and a spa could swap meals for massages.
End of the year inexpensive gifts are surely welcome, but showing appreciation should be a year round practice. Many companies have instituted policies that recognize and reward employees, and encourage co-workers to do the same for their peers. Workhuman's Fortune 500 clients use its software platform to let co-workers thank one another and earn credits that can be redeemed for goods.
Non-monetary rewards can be just as motivating. UncommonGoods, for example, includes a thank you section in its weekly management updates that acknowledge the contributions of individual team members, says CEO David Bolotsky. And employees enjoy year-round perks such as work-from-home flexibility, company subsidized lunches and anniversary recognition celebrations.
And of course, if you're still trying to find thank you gift ideas for employees, a simple thanks never goes out of style. Gratitude, says Pemberton, “is as close to quantifying the ripple of positive humanity as we have."
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