Planning for Holiday Gift Giving

Impactful Giving Worldwide

Employee Appreciation

  • 82% of employees expect gifts around the holidays – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • 75% of employees say gifts enhance morale – Staples Advantage
  • Companies that gave holiday gifts saw a 10% decrease in employee turnover – The Hay Group 

The winter months are a key time for employee holiday gift giving. It’s a great chance to improve relationships and show employee appreciation.

Recognizing employee contributions and showing gratitude with tangible tokens of appreciation enhances morale, employee engagement, and satisfaction, significantly contributing to a positive and productive work environment.

Woman at home on her phone receiving a holiday gift as a thank you from her company

Corporate holiday gift giving to employees goes beyond simply distributing presents.

Recognition and Appreciation: Gift-giving is a way for employers to express gratitude and appreciation for employees’ hard work and dedication throughout the year. 

Employee Retention and Loyalty: Regular recognition through acts such as gift-giving can also strengthen employees’ loyalty to the company. When employees feel valued, they’re more likely to remain with the company longer, reducing turnover rates.

Building Team Spirit: The tradition of corporate gift giving can create a shared experience that brings employees together, fostering a sense of community and belonging, which in turn can improve collaboration and team cohesion.

Reinforcing Corporate Culture and Values: The nature of the gifts can reflect a company’s culture and values. For instance, a company that values health and wellbeing might give fitness-related gifts, while a company with a strong focus on sustainability might choose eco-friendly gifts.

Incentive and Motivation: Gifts also act as incentives, encouraging employees to continue performing at a high level. 

Social Norms and Expectations: In many workplaces, gift giving has become a cultural expectation during the holiday season. Not participating could create a sense of exclusion or disappointment among employees.

Of course, the impact of corporate gift-giving will depend on the context, the individuals involved, and the thoughtfulness of the message included. Allowing employees to choose from a group of options can be a great way to ensure everyone participates and appreciates the gesture.

Employee Gifts can be powerful

Employee talking with his boss on an iPad after receiving a holiday gift

It’s important to understand the preferences and needs of employees in order to make make corporate holiday gift giving truly effective.

Generic, one-size-fits-all gifts usually fall short in creating a meaningful impact.

Organizations can personalize their gift-giving approach. Try to take the time to listen, observe, and gather information about individual preferences.  Surveys, feedback sessions, and informal conversations can provide valuable insights into the types of gifts that resonate most with employees.

A personalized touch enhances the value of the gift and also demonstrates that the organization genuinely cares about its employees’ interests and well-being.

It’s often very difficult to achieve universal satisfaction, but giving employees a choice is an approach that allows them to select a gift that aligns with their personal preferences and needs.

Understanding employee preferences

A man with outstretched arms and an overlay of good, ok, and bad faces with check boxes for preferences

Wasting time: Make the process of receiving and redeeming the gift easy. Efficiency and convenience are key factors in successful corporate gift giving. It is essential to avoid wasting time and prioritize ease of use for recipients.

Wrong gifts: Avoid anything that is too personal. Gifts that are inappropriate or offensive can have a detrimental impact on relationships and company reputation. Avoid items that may be considered controversial, politically charged, or offensive to specific groups.

Misalignment with Company Culture: Gifts should reflect the identity and mission of the organization. Failing to consider the company’s culture can dilute the impact of the gifts and miss an opportunity to strengthen the organizational identity. Avoid problems by allowing choice.

Poor Timing or Delivery: Sending gifts late or at inconvenient times may diminish their significance and fail to convey the intended appreciation. Additionally, ensure the gifts are presented in a thoughtful and respectful manner, considering individual preferences for public or private recognition.

No lasting memory value: Some gifts that have no lasting memory value. Gifts that are quickly forgotten or have little practical use may fail to make a meaningful impact. To avoid this, choose gifts that are thoughtful, unique, and memorable.

Strategic gift giving mistakes

Fairness and Equality: Gifts should be distributed fairly and equally among all employees, regardless of their position or tenure within the company. This promotes a sense of unity and discourages feelings of favoritism or inequality.

Consider Cultural Sensitivities: Gifts should be respectful and considerate of all cultural, religious, and personal preferences. For example, giving a bottle of wine may not be appropriate for an employee who doesn’t consume alcohol for personal or religious reasons.

Team Input: Involve employees in decision-making by seeking their input or suggestions. 

Discretion and Respect for Privacy: Some employees might not want to receive gifts, or they may not want to disclose their receipt to others.

Value Limits: To avoid any perception of favoritism or impropriety, companies often establish a maximum value for gifts for each pay class or grade.

Personalization: Where possible and appropriate, consider personalizing each delivery with a unique message of appreciation. It’s easy to automate the addition of a note to each employee when sending gifts.

Inclusion of Remote Employees: In the modern work environment where remote work is common, it’s important to include remote workers in gift-giving programs.

Logistics: Don’t forget the management costs of your program.  Simultaneous delivery worldwide with a single list is efficient and impactful.

Gift giving protocol

HR manager loading a list of employees to deliver holiday gifts with personalized messages

Gift ideas

Sports and Fitness

Sports and Fitness gift card selection


technology gifts

Fine Dining

Fine dining gift card selection

General Shopping

General Shopping gift cards

Local by Zip Code

A recipient selection of local gift cards by zip code

Full Catalog - Worldwide

Group of worldwide gift card options

Consider "alternate" gifts

When planning for corporate employee gift giving, there are several alternative approaches you can consider to ensure an engaging and thoughtful experience.

Remember to consider the company culture, budget, and the preferences of your employees when choosing an alternative gift-giving approach. It’s always a good idea to gather feedback and involve employees in the decision-making process to ensure their satisfaction and engagement.

Here are a just a few ideas:

Instead of selecting gifts on behalf of employees, provide them with a gift budget or gift card that allows them to choose their own presents. This approach empowers employees to select something they truly desire, enhancing satisfaction and reducing the chance of receiving unwanted gifts.

Employee Choice

Instead of individual gifts, consider giving gifts to teams or departments. This encourages collaboration and camaraderie among employees. You can choose gifts that can be shared and enjoyed collectively, such as board games, team-building activities, or group experiences.

Team Gifts

Instead of traditional gifts, give employees the opportunity to select a charity of their choice and make a donation on their behalf. This approach promotes a sense of purpose and allows employees to contribute to causes they care about.

Charitable Donations

The Strategic Power of Corporate Holiday Gift Giving

Strategic approaches to corporate gift giving aimed at enhancing employee engagement and appreciation can yield significant benefits for organizations.

By understanding individual preferences, aligning gifts with company culture, and adopting creative and thoughtful gift ideas, companies can create a positive work environment that fosters employee satisfaction and loyalty. Adhering to a well-defined gift-giving protocol ensures fairness and transparency, while continuous feedback and measurement allow for ongoing improvement.

Remember that a well-thought-out gift program has the power to inspire, motivate, and strengthen the relationship between employees and the organization, ultimately contributing to a thriving and engaged workforce.

Ready to design something brilliant?

Schedule a free design session

Our design sessions are the perfect way to show you how TruCentive can help you realize your rewards, gifts, or payout goals in a real-world scenario, building a complete project with everything from your logo, design options, and messaging to incentive selection, deliveries, and reminders.

When we’re done, you’ll:

  • Possess a solid grasp of constructing your project.

  • Have a comprehensive understanding of best practices for incentive delivery.

  • Learn the secrets of the incentives industry and the savings and advantages of utilizing TruCentive for your next program.
A mosaic of gift, award, and incentive automation designs that were created in TruCentive by customers in their design session
G2 Winter Badges for TruCentive

If you’re ready to start designing on your own, sign up and start sending samples. There’s no credit card required to start exploring your creative side!

Content Icon

Create “Grade-A” content

Use powerful features to quickly create professional-looking incentive deliveries

Service Icon

At your service

With a TruCentive subscription, you get technical support for all your team members so you can get back to your project fast

Productivity Icon

Reimagine your productivity

Eliminate the time and frustration managing the procurement, delivery, and management of your rewards and incentives deliveries