As you work to build a strong and engaged team of employees, showing appreciation is crucial. If you can offer a bonus or day off, definitely do that. But if you just have enough budget for a small gift, consider ideas that are different than the typical corporate swag.
Branded items with the company logo can come across as impersonal and uninspired. Your employees deserve gifts that show they are valued as individuals.
Two thoughtful alternatives include a handwritten note of appreciation and personalized art.
Handwritten note of appreciation
After I started this business and before my Mom retired from her 40-year career, she used to ask me to make special cards for the managers on her team. Each year I would come up with a new card or print that she could write a thoughtful and personalized note on to make each leader feel valued.
A handwritten note may seem simple, but it can have a powerful impact. I remember crying while reading the words that one of my boss's wrote because it made me feel so seen.
Taking the time to write a personal message of thanks to your team members shows that you value their specific contributions and hard work. It's a tangible reminder that their efforts are noticed and appreciated, and it's something that can be proudly displayed or kept and reread for many years to come.
Here are some more thoughtful business and leadership sentiments.
Word of the year or personalized word print
I've received my fair share of corporate swag and while it's nice to have some branded merchandise, it always left me feeling like the gifts were more about promoting the company than recognizing my contributions.
That’s why I like to recommend a "word of the year" or motivational word print. This is a personalized piece of art that features a word chosen specifically by or for each employee.
The word represents a goal or intention for the year ahead and serves as a daily reminder to stay focused and motivated. It's a unique and thoughtful gift that shows you understand and support your employees' personal growth and development.
Last year, the CEO of a company in New Hampshire received one of my “resilient” prints as a gift and was really touched. He then asked all of his employees for their words of the year. They chose words like balance, focus, patience, reflection, and teamwork.
After sending all of the prints to the company, I received this message back from the CEO, “They were so well received! One of my team members picked the word optimism. He had a stroke a few days later at a very young age. I went to see him in the hospital and gave him the print. He cried! You never know what one word can mean to someone.”
Since then, a number of corporate teams have reached out to me. Below are some words chosen by one team for 2024. Not everyone's word is work related which makes it even more personal! Send your team my 2024 Word of the Year Ideas blog post and ask them to pick a word or have a custom word made just for them. They can also pick a frame to display their word in their office.
If you're tired of giving the same old gifts, consider switching things up. A handwritten note or personalized word print may not have your company logo on it, but it will have a much greater impact on your team's morale.
Have you received a meaningful gift from your boss or company? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message on social media!
Social media: @alisonrosevintage