Top 5 Promotional Gifts for Employees

As the days shorten and shadows lengthen, everybody begins to think about the upcoming holiday season. Our minds turn to party planning and shopping for gifts: a new wallet for your spouse, toys, and gadgets for the kids, thoughtful novelty items for your friends and extended family, and maybe even a little something for yourself. But wait: what about your employees?

Well, they already have company pens and stress balls from their last job, you think, and how many branded lanyards and water bottles does a person need, really? Does anyone even use paperweights anymore? Don’t be discouraged, though, because gifts for employees can be so much more than that!

Spotlight Strategies carries promotional gifts that are just as thoughtful and practical as any other. Imagine receiving a custom windproof umbrella, wireless power bank, or smart mug warmer that doubles as a phone charger! No more broken umbrellas, cold coffee, or dead phones! Might as well order that “Best Boss” plaque while you’re at it.

Of course, higher quality presents come with higher quality price tags. Being a business owner, you can’t help but think about the return on investment. However, thoughtful promotional gifts for employees can garner employee satisfaction, and employee satisfaction means less turnover, and less revenue spent on hiring and training. In addition to this, your company’s reputation might even improve. Not only will your staff feel appreciated, but whoever sees their gift will see the name of a company that cares for its employees.

What are promotional products?

First, what exactly are promotional products, and why are they important? Promotional products are any product with your business’s name, logo, or message printed on them. Almost anything can be made into a promotional product if a logo or brand name is printed on it.

When you think of promotional products, you often think of pens, chip clips, and stress balls. These products are easy to print a brand name on and are even easier to hand out at events. They are small and fit easily in someone’s bag. They are also not easy to say no to since they are so small and simple.

Promotional products, however, can make a bigger impact on a customer and employee. They can also be apparel, with a logo embroidered on a shirt or a hat. These may be a bit more useful for the customer or employee, make a bigger impact on their life, and are easily noticed by passersby. No matter what product your company’s name is printed on, a promotional product helps improve memorability and spreads word of mouth about your company, all while making your employees feel appreciated.

Here are the top 5 promotional gifts for employees that we see being given year after year.

1. Notepads and pens

Notepads are always useful, especially for employees that are looking to keep track of their to-do lists and notes throughout their workday. Notepads are also a great place to keep doodles, tasks, or notes about the various ideas you may get throughout the day – or, who are we kidding, they can hold all three. Pens are also the natural companion to the notebook, so it’s great to get them in a matching set when possible. Those that like to handwrite notes are often appreciative of a high-quality pen. A great idea to go above and beyond is to add accessories like branded sticky notes!

2. Game Sets

Classic games are almost always a hit. It’s always a fun gift to get a game to play with friends and coworkers, whether your team is more interested in pickleball or playing cards. Add to the fun of games in and of themselves the fact that you can get these sets custom-made with your branding, and these are a surefire way to bring some fun energy to the office!gifts for employees

3. Tumblers and mugs

Mugs are coveted by the coffee and tea lovers in the office. We all know them, and you know that they have a mug collection. Adding a mug to that collection that’s more personalized to their work is even better.

Tumblers can be a great extension of this concept, especially for people whose work might take them on the go. If your employees are often driving or taking public transportation as part of their job – such as to visit clients or perform certain services in person – making sure they have a great tumbler to take their drink of choice with them is a great way to show your appreciation.

4. Hand Sanitizers

When you really don’t know what to get, a great option is hand sanitizer. Everyone needs it, and especially if your employees travel for work or use public transport to commute to your location, it’s great to have on hand. Convenient options like hand sanitizers with clips attached and credit card-style hand sanitizer sprays can ensure that no one on your team will ever be caught unprepared!

5. High-quality tote bags

A good tote bag can be hard to find, and yet, they have nearly endless uses! From getting groceries from the store to your kitchen to carrying around all your essentials on a busy day, tote bags are a great option that everyone on your team is sure to find useful.

If you’re concerned that a high-quality canvas tote bag won’t quite be the right fit, you can try opting for an insulated tote bag or a folding tote bag to make it a little more unique.


When you’re shopping for promotional gifts for your employees, you won’t go wrong by sticking with these top 5 options! These are classics for many reasons, but some of the things they have in common are that they are versatile and practical for people with a wide variety of personalities and lifestyles, as well as being easy to customize to your heart’s content.

Remember to have fun designing the promotional gifts you choose with your own brand colors and logo to make them especially meaningful for both you and your employees.

Erin Smith

Erin Smith is co-owner of Spotlight Strategies, a marketing solutions firm specializing in print, apparel, promotional product and signs.  An accomplished health care administrator turned business owner, Erin brings rare behavioral expertise to the world of small business.

With a Master’s degree in social work, and a thriving business she is a sought after advisor, coach and mentor to many of Indiana’s small business owners and support associations.  Erin demonstrates unwavering commitment and facilitates profitability to any organization to which she directs her time and talent, and is successful in motivating and empowering people whether supporting a cause or building a company.