As we head into the holiday season of 2021-22, nearly all organizations have begun the tradition of preparing their holiday gift-giving efforts. These efforts are typically a tangible recognition of the work that has been conducted by employees throughout the year. But, how do companies know what the best gifts will be for their employees? Additionally, how can organizations ensure that their gifts communicate their appreciation for their teams’ hard work? We give you the 2021-22 Employer Gift-Giving Report.
We surveyed 1,092 U.S.-based employees to understand the latest trends surrounding corporate gift-giving, employee expectations when it comes to receiving gifts, and which types of gifts employees prefer receiving from their companies — in addition to many other data points. View the full report below.
The State of Employer Gift-Giving
The majority of respondents (51%) report receiving a gift from their employer “at least once a year” or “multiple times a year.”
Generally, the employees surveyed have a positive reaction to the gifts they’ve received — with 41% of respondents saying they’re “happy/pleased” with the gifts that they have previously received from their employer. In fact, 17% of respondents said they’re “extremely happy” with the gifts that they’ve received from their current employer.
Nearly half of the employees surveyed (49%) would consider the gifts they’ve received from employers “memorable.”
However, not all gifts to employees elicit a positive response. In fact, 42% of respondents reported having received a gift from an employer that they didn’t want — and 56% of respondents believe the gifts they’ve received from their employer are “impersonal” and/or “generic.”
Interestingly, 66% of the employees with a household income of $100,000 or more felt the gifts they’ve received from their employer were “impersonal” and/or “generic.” By comparison, only 52% of employees making $100,000 or less perceived the gifts they’ve received as “impersonal” or “generic.”
Holiday Expectations Surrounding Corporate Gift-Giving
Employee expectations appear to be low this holiday season. The majority of employees surveyed (62%) do not expect a gift from their employer this year for the holidays — leaving a large area of opportunity for companies to impress and demonstrate gratitude this holiday season.
Given the impact of the pandemic, many organizations have a portion of their workforce working remotely, providing a unique challenge for employers looking to make an impact with their gift-giving this year. Of the respondents who work from home, only 24% said they expect to receive a gift from their employer at any point during this year’s holiday season.
The younger the employee, the higher the expectation appears to be for receiving gifts for the holidays this season.
Age Breakdown of Employees Who Expect a Gift From Their Employer for the 2021 Holiday Season:
- 18-29: 45%
- 30-44: 40%
- 45-60: 39%
- 60 plus: 27%
The majority of employees surveyed (55%) said their employers do not provide gifts for occasions outside of the holiday season (i.e., the birth of a child, company milestones, work anniversaries, etc.) — providing, at least the perception of, a narrow window for organizations to make an impact with their gift-giving.
Why Employers Should Pay Attention
A gift can go a long way — much further than many organizations might think. In fact, 57% of the employees surveyed say they’re more likely to be loyal and continue working for a company that provides gifts to employees.
After receiving a gift from their organization, employees report feeling:
- Appreciated by my employer: 46%
- My employer values me: 38%
- My employer is making an effort to give back to their employees: 36%
- My employer thinks I’m doing a good job in my role/position: 30%
- More connected to my employer/company: 20%
- More appreciated when the gift is personalized: 17%
- That I should thank my employer and/or show gratitude for the gift, even though I did not like the gift: 16%
- I have earned the gift based on my performance: 16%
Note: 17% of respondents selected “None of the above”
Employers should think twice about “phoning it in” this year by ordering impersonal gifts for their team. Of the employees surveyed, 37% said they’ve felt underappreciated by their employer based on the gifts they’ve received. In fact, 62% of respondents said they’ve received gift cards from their company — far and away the most common type of gift received from respondents — with gift baskets (27%) and office/work related gifts (23%) notably the next most commonly received types of gifts.
Organizations looking to align with employee expectations this holiday season may want to consider gifts with a philanthropic component. Of the employees surveyed, 51% said that employers should give gifts that have a philanthropic bent and/or align with the company’s values and/or charitable giving.
Age Breakdown of Respondents Who Said Employers Should Give Philanthropic Gifts That Align With the Company’s Values
- 18-29: 56%
- 30-44: 53%
- 45-60: 46%
- 60 plus: 50%
If Employees Were in Charge of Gift-Giving
What would employees do differently if they were in charge of gift-giving at their organization? Of the employees surveyed, 27% stated that they would give more personalized gifts to individual employees, and 26% of respondents would survey the workforce relative to what they would like to receive. Interestingly, 18% of respondents wouldn’t change their employer’s approach to gift-giving — rounding out the top three responses.
Female respondents chose “survey employees on what they would like to receive” as their top answer on how to improve gift-giving at work, while male respondents chose “give more personalized gifts to individuals” as their top approach to improving gift-giving within their workplace.
The bottom line? Gift-giving overwhelmingly has a large impact on the culture of an organization and its employees. The best type of gifts, according to the employees surveyed, are centered around the individual receiving the gift. If you have a hand in your organization’s gift-giving, consider customized and/or personalized gifts that have a unique message or theme for the recipient and stay away from generic, blanket products that feel impersonal. It just may save you a key employee or two.
Total respondents: 1,092
Margin of error: /- 3.026%
Country: United States (USA)
Region: All Regions
Gender: All Genders
Gender balancing: Census
Age of respondents: 18 – 99
Age balancing: Basic Census