The Essential Employee Gift Guide

Employee Gift Guide written by Matt Haber from Inc.com

Employee Gift Guide in front of a christmas tree

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Good morning,

Matt Haber here, Inc.’s San Francisco bureau chief and your guest newsletter editor today.

Back in the bygone days of the dot-com boom, I worked for the digital arm of a major media company that told itself it wanted to win the internet, but which actually had no clue what it was doing.

Back in those go-go days (which soon became gone-gone days as the boom went bust), friends of mine were working at companies with insane perks. All-staff retreats to Las Vegas! Fully covered Lasik! Private concerts by big name musicians! IPOs!

So it was reasonable for me to assume that at my company’s holiday party, I’d get something amazing.

Instead of free eye surgery or a serenade by Beck, I got a ski jacket. A ski jacket with the company’s logo on the sleeve. Did I mention that I was living in Los Angeles at the time? Sure, that was a letdown, but, hey, at least my company stayed in business a couple more months after that. I guess I could’ve learned to ski with all my newfound free time after they let us all go that spring.

I thought of that sad ski jacket while reading my colleague Cameron Albert-Deitch’s list of ideas for employee gifts on Inc.com. Some of these ideas are smart, like giving subscriptions to a cheese or wine of the month club, turning a conference room into a relaxation lounge, or paying for any book employees want from Amazon. Others are just nice policies to implement in the new year: fixing up the kitchen, allowing dogs to come to work.

Here’s the thing: gifts for your team are gestures. They’re meant to convey a little gratitude and remind your people that you care about them. No one really expects a holiday present to materially change their life, they just want to know their bosses give a damn. (That said, some cash or a bonus could materially change someone’s month.)

When it comes to gifts, your employees just want to know you see their hard work and acknowledge what they do for the company. That doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but it will take thought and consideration. A handwritten note of thanks with a few well chosen words is always welcome. No one wants to feel like they work for Don Draper, bellowing at them that he doesn’t need to say thank you because “That’s what the money’s for!”

Oh, and they probably don’t want a ski jacket–unless you’re gonna take them all on a ski retreat.

Help give back with Vertical Bridge

Instead of sending holiday cards this season, Vertical Bridge is supporting EMBERS’ 100 boot challenge, providing boots for workers.


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