Worst possible gifts for employees

Sometimes I shake my head in disbelief as people share with me how thoughtless some employers are about giving a gift.

A well thought out gift can show how much you appreciate the hard work you’ve seen over the year. Recently we surveyed 3000 employees about the “best” and “worst” gifts they had ever received from a company and why.

Here’s what NOT to do:

These examples highlight the effort versus reward imbalance and how offensive this can potentially be to employees.

· “A sparkly nail file for working hard? My manager’s heart was in the right place but it was a strange ‘reward’ to receive for working my butt off.”

· “A Mars bar for the anniversary of working with the organisation. It made me feel unappreciated.”

· “Microwave popcorn and one bottle of sparkling to share amongst 10 people to celebrate major account resigning.”

· “For my five years of service – a choice of a wallet, a $5 bottle of wine, a plastic picture frame, playing cards and two other pieces of garbage – what an insult.”

Gift them an experience they will enjoy instead of "stuff" they won't use.

Tacky gifts

If you don't put any effort in, people notice. 

· “Being told at Christmas time that I should be giving my employer a Christmas present to demonstrate my gratitude for working for him.”

· “A pen that didn’t work.”

· “$5 ITunes Gift Card for Christmas.”

· “Herb sachets from a channel promotion.”

Sometimes, it’s so much the reward that went wrong, but the way it is delivered. Always avoid the following: 

· Certificates with misspelt names.

· Sarcasm.

· Little thought.

· Obvious mistakes and generalise one size fits all approach.

Can't decide on a gift? Give them a voucher so they can choose.

Nobody wants standardised clutter!

· “Gold spoon – who needs that?”

· “A magnetic trophy with paper clips – it can destroy a hard drive in seconds.”

· “Bath salts, don’t have a bath and they smell awful.”

· “A daggy cap, it was pretty ugly and not really my thing. I couldn’t even give it away.”

These are examples of when there was no recognition or reward at all, or it was just completely wrong.

· “Christmas Ham – I am a known vegetarian.”

· “Box of chocolates – I am a diabetic.”

· “Tickets to footy – don’t use them.”

· “Dinner at boss’ house.”

Please take a moment to think about what employees (and family and friends) really want. An authentic gift that shows true appreciation will make the new year’s employee engagement so much easier.

This article originally appeared on naomisimson.com.au