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Gift cards or team dinners: How do employees really feel about their holiday gifts?

Gift cards or team dinners: How do employees really feel about their holiday gifts?


If you want to boost morale, don’t saddle people with things they don’t want or need. Send money.

Holiday gifts increase job satisfaction in a significant, lasting way according to Tremendous’ 2022 employee holiday-gifting study titled You’re probably giving employees the wrong holiday gift.

For business leaders, HR professionals, and people managers, keeping employees satisfied and engaged is a big part of the job. While raises, promotions, bonuses, and stimulating side projects are a great way to reward individual performance, holiday gifting is a common way to reward employees en masse.

The survey said, 75% of respondents experience increased job satisfaction after receiving a holiday gift, with 74% saying this boost lasts for three months or more, and 46% saying this sentiment lasts for one year or more.

However, there is a flip side. A bad employee gift can also negatively impact job satisfaction. In fact, 31% of surveyed employees have received a gift that made them feel distinctly unappreciated. The survey also showed less than 3% of people want company swag, a thank you note, or an experience as a holiday gift.

The vast majority (83%) of survey respondents have received a holiday gift before. A considerable number of people — 42% of respondents — say they receive a gift from their employer every year, like clockwork.

But what is the perfect gift? The top three ideal holiday gifts were money (cash or check), money (added to paycheck), and money (as a Visa gift card, Paypal, or Venmo transaction). So when in doubt, send money.

Tips for making your holiday gifting worth the ROI: 

  • Holiday gifts are different than performance bonuses – 65% believe everyone at the company should receive a holiday gift.
  • When it comes to the value of the gift, only 14% said dollar amounts should be specific to each employee, while 34% percent of respondents said everyone at the company should receive the same dollar amount as a holiday gift.
  • Skip the company swag – Only 2% of employees selected company swag as their top choice, and a mere 18.7% of employees added it to their top five.
  • Employees want a gift from their boss or the CEO of the company, with a slight preference for the former. Very few (4%) want a present signed, “from HR.”
  • Most people don’t expect expensive gifts – 66% of respondents said that a gift that falls somewhere within the US$50-100 range is the right amount.

bridge dec 2022 holiday gifting christmas tremendous

Lead image / Shutterstock 
Inline graphic / Tremendous

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