January 11, 2021

Employee Appreciation Gifts – Ideas and Best Practices for Perks

Many companies that use Billy or want to start using it ask us about how to make an employee recognition program that works and is effective, how to do the right benefits personalization, what are good employee appreciation gift ideas, and what are the best practices for making internal perks/gifts store.

We have a separate onboarding process for new teams when we talk with HR during the first week about making a working staff motivation program. Based on our clients' experience, we know exactly what works well, what does not work very well, and what should be avoided.

🛍️ Employee appreciation gifts that work

The stores of different teams using Billy have different goods and services. Most, of course, have company-branded swag. Some offer gadgets like additional monitors. Others have a 20% salary increase for the next month, and one team offers a vacation in another country for a week. Not all of this works as we expected, although all the perks seem valuable for employees.

We usually see two types of bonus packages:

  • Based on the budget the company is willing to spend regularly
  • Based on the HR manager's sense of fairness

The second option usually works poorly because, in addition to the fact that the perk's value is subjective for each person, it is also relative to the price. For example, if you offer a transatlantic cruise, but you can get it only after a few years of work, almost no one will be able to get it. Empirically, we have found that the following combinations of benefit types and the time frame needed to collect Thanks coins are most optimal:

  • 🖊️ Small company-branded swag (pens, mugs) - free and unlimited
  • 👕 Medium company-branded swag (T-shirts, hoodies, slippers, laptop bags) and gift cards - no more than 3-4 months
  • 🧑‍🎓 Large company-branded swag (raincoats, slickers, etc.) and educational certificates/vouchers - no more than 6-7 months
  • 💺 Employees convenience tools (additional monitors, comfortable and ergonomic chairs) - no more than 7-8 months
  • 🤩 Super bonuses (vacation trip, salary bonuses, days off) - no more than 1 year

If you want to offer perks to your employees but do not know what the price should be for them, you can always contact Billy's support service. We will calculate the best prices in the store for you, depending on how actively people use your team currency.

Employee appreciation gifts and bonuses and creative ideas

🙅 Bad employee recognition ideas

Unfortunately, some of our customers have had negative experiences with the store and perks there. We will share with you which employee recognition awards have rarely worked. First of all, these are attempts to offer tiny perks as a reward - pens or notebooks or it can be a textbook example. Obviously, they should be available to everyone at all times.

Another example of a bad benefit idea is offering clothes when you don't have different sizes; for example, if you only have T-shirts of one size. Yes, you can always make a return, but this will negatively affect the employees' mood and create the feeling that "there is a store, but nothing can be bought in it." The situation is the same with the geographical distribution - if a perk is not available to someone due to geographical reasons, it is definitely not worth offering it in a store.

🚀 Best employee recognition programs

One of the main rules of a good incentive program is to have different perks with a good price difference. There should be all types of products - medium, large, convenience perks, and super gifts because different people are motivated by different reward sizes. Someone does not like to save "Thanks" for a long time and wants something here and now, while someone else, on the other hand, wants something big and is not ready to waste coins on trifles.

Best employee recognition programs that actually work are not just a perks store, but a benefits personalization tool. Many teams have standard sets of benefits and bonuses such as English classes, gym, tuition, etc. Best employee recognition programs offer a way to change the default set to something unique. For example, some of our customers have abandoned the standard benefits entirely, leaving only the store by Billy. Now everyone in such teams chooses only perks they really want and does not get any they definitely do not need. This allows companies to provide more benefits at the same cost, giving them a competitive advantage in hiring. Many teams offer standard benefit kits, but very few offer a way to get a trip to another country.

💡 Creative employee recognition ideas

Companies using Billy often ask what unusual ideas for employee recognition awards we can recommend to them. Here are our TOP 12 of most unusual and interesting awards that we have seen:

  • Tropical exotic fruits
  • Astrology / a sommelier courses
  • Soft toy as CEO of the company
  • Career consultation from a C-level manager
  • Coffee brewing course
  • Day off
  • Surprise from colleagues or management
  • Trip to Turkey
  • SPA Certificate
  • Drift training
  • Certificates for well-being, for example for applications like Headspace, Calm
  • Charity (let your employees donate real money to charities)

Elena Kaminskaia

Elena Kaminskaia

Co-founder & CEO at Billy App. I’m a team management expert, helping companies build a great culture