When it comes to company profitability, employee appreciation is key. Companies that are good at recognizing employees are three times more profitable than those that are bad at it, according to the New York Times Bestseller, The Carrot Principle.

One of the most effective forms of recognition is to reward employees with gifts for varying levels of achievement.

When developing an employee recognition program have a well thought-out plan to make the recognition effective:

  1. Consider what employees want. It’s about more than fitting into a budget. Recognize employees with items they will be happy to receive and will use. You want them to be proud to receive the reward and show it off to others.
  2. Give gifts as a symbol of recognition. Gifts are powerful motivators. But if you just hand it to your employees without meaning it won’t really motivate them. Let them know they’re appreciated and they’ve earned their reward.
  3. Sharing gifts is nice, but giving as a sign of tangible achievement is more meaningful. The gift should stand for something and be a reward for an achievement. For example, you can reward employees who worked for three months without an absence with a t-shirt with your company logo.
  4. Make recognition visible. Reward employees in front of others. Presenting the award in front of an audience and stating exactly what it is being received for makes a big impact (for the recipient and those watching).
  5. Recognize everyday performance. While they’re important to recognize, don’t wait for milestones (5-, 10-, 15-year anniversaries) to reward. Smaller achievements deserve attention too. If an employee finishes a big project ahead of schedule or under budget or comes up with a cost saving idea reward them with a gift of appreciation. A mug, padfolio, pen, or totebag is a good way to say thanks.
  6. Don’t let budget hold you back. In budgeting for employee recognition gifts you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it meaningful. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be appreciated. You can reward with smaller, inexpensive items, but make a grand presentation or include a personal, handwritten note of thanks.