It had been less than 90 days since I started at my previous position, yet I found myself presenting in front of all our investors. My boss was on a business trip so I am represented our team. I held my voice from shaking as I spoke about our work, slipping in a joke or two while the audience stared at their phones. It turned out that they liked my presentation the most! Hearing that positive response felt amazing, especially as a “newbie,” but getting a “job well done” gift-card to a day spa felt even better.

You can always find something to celebrate, appreciate, or support. There are a few key opportunities to give gifts, each time bringing its own subtle message to the recipient. Let’s explore these moments, from the obvious to the ingenious, to boost your employees’ morale, productivity, and satisfaction in your organization. 


1. Epiphany Moments

Significant events occurring both inside and out of the office have people reevaluating their life choices. A firstborn baby gets the new parent thinking about the role they want to play in their child’s life. A personal relationship changes can spark a whole new outlook on life. Use these events to remind employees that they made a good decision to be a part of your team. Each pivotal moment comes with authentic gifting ideas. A new child warrants a gift card for Amazon (hello diaper deliveries!) or a much-needed massage from Gilt. A wedding deserves some home decor from Wayfair. Use these gifting opportunities as a time to guide your employees through their thought processes. You can play a bigger part in their narrative with a simple e-mail — and a fun present as if you’re friends or family. 


2. Work Anniversaries

Similar to epiphany moments, work-anniversaries specifically has employees evaluating their impact, goals, and dedication to their organization; this crucial moment leads to a 6% increase in job-hunting. Sending a gift won’t be the main factor when making the next big life decision, but it will remind your employee that they are with a caring, human-centric organization, and leave them feeling favorably toward the place where they spend most of their time. 


3. Support

When your employee is having trouble keeping up her usual work persona because she recently experienced a loss, let her know that it’s okay to be human. They can lose confidence at work if they take more time to make certain appointments, and feel overloaded when they get back. When there’s an emotional matter at hand (loss, accident, illness), your employee might need to get around a little more. A gift card for Uber, Airbnb, or Hello Fresh services helps them to cover extra costs and can cut them a break from an exhausting commute home. 


4. Holidays (That Aren’t Christmas) 

You don’t have to give a gift on every holiday…that gets expensive and becomes an expectation rather than a surprise. But you can switch up the holidays that your company sends gifts — one year on Independence Day, another on Valentine’s, another during Easter/Passover weekend, etc. 

If your company isn’t able to grant vacation days for holidays, gift-giving has an even greater impact. Your staff will feel festive with a present that they can use during other free time. It creates positivity in the work environment that remains throughout the working holiday and beyond. 


5. Birthdays 

Another candle on the cake leads to a 12% jump in job hunting. Now, that’s not the main reason to celebrate an employee’s birthday, but it does mark the day as an annual moment of reflection. Gifting your employee with a meal to their favorite restaurant, or a pair of tickets to a concert through StubHub tells them to relax from work and enjoy.


6. Job Well Done

Managers have set expectations for their employees. Many employees meet those expectations, and some continue to go above and beyond regardless of the circumstance. Recognizing your employee’s latest feat encourages their behavior and leads them to future success. Be sure to accompany the gift with a personal note of what they did well; so asides from a fun voucher, they’ve also gained a stronger work relationship with you. This goes back to my personal story — I knew exactly what I did well, and knew that I was truly seen in the company. Now, I don’t expect a gift for every big thing I do, but the confidence that came with the gift allows me to accomplish even bigger tasks that I might never have taken on. 


7. No Reason At All

You don’t need to wait for annual Employee Appreciation Day; every day is a good opportunity to show your team appreciation! These can be simple uplifters — a spontaneous $5 Starbucks gift card to break up their daily instant-coffee habit is enough to improve your employee’s morale. Unexpected gifts bring security, optimism, and creates more smiles in the office. 

Regardless of when you give, seeing a surprise in your inbox will instantly improve your employee’s day. It’s up to you to choose which moments you want to recognize. Proper timing brings joy and support to any occasion and also shows authenticity and thought behind the gift choice itself. So go ahead and get gifting!