Corporate Gift Guide: When to Give

Corporate gifting is a multi-billion dollar industry. An appropriate and well-timed business gift can boost morale, improve performance, increase retention, solidify relationships, grow loyalty and turn prospects into clients. The two most important factors of corporate gift giving are: contents and timing. Gift value and frequency may vary based on your budget and other restrictions. When you do decide to give a corporate gift, it should always be thoughtful, appropriate and meaningful. Below, I break down some of the most popular corporate gift giving occasions and explain their significance. 

New Hire

There is no better time to give an employee gift than during onboarding. It can establish your company culture right from the start, and let the new employee know that they are valued and that you are excited to have them on board. It will encourage them to be excited, enthusiastic and loyal from day one. 


When an employee is promoted, it usually comes with a title change and some additional funds in their paycheck. A promotion is a great time to personally recognize an employee’s contribution to the organization and make them feel appreciated and special. A custom curated gift is the most meaningful and impactful way to make sure you achieve that goal. 

Job Well Done 

There are times, outside of a promotion, when an employee goes above and beyond the call of duty. It could be that they stayed late all week to complete a project or really went out of their way to give superior customer service. Recognizing these acts shows that you are paying attention and are grateful for their contributions. It will encourage them to continue the behavior and others to follow suit. 

Farewell or Retirement

A farewell or retirement gift is one of the most selfless gifts that an organization can give, because the employee is quite literally on their way out. However, this is a very important part of corporate gifting because it shows that you are invested in your employees as people and value their contributions even if they are leaving you. It shows true dedication to your employees and promotes a culture of gratitude.

Prospective Client 

Corporate Gift Guide

Prospect gifting can be tricky, but it can be extremely worthwhile. There are many do’s and don’ts of prospect gift giving (which we will get into in a future blog post), but when done right, it can make a huge impact. A great gift can make your company stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on the recipient. 

Current Client

Sending gifts to your current clients shows that you value their business and are invested in the relationship. These gifts should not only align with your brand, but also be thoughtful and client-focused. Client gifting, when done properly, is a gesture of goodwill that will be highly appreciated, increase client loyalty and work to strengthen relationships. 

Event or Conference 

Most companies offer some sort “freebie” at an event or conference, ranging from a tote bag and flyers to branded pens or other corporate swag. Sadly, many of these offerings miss the mark and are promptly discarded in the trash (or hopefully, recycling!). Be cautious with promotional items branded with your logo, they are seen as marketing materials and become less valuable to the recipient. Events and conferences are an opportunity to impress if you can offer something of true value to the attendees. 

Holiday Season

Sending a holiday or New Year gift has become common practice in the corporate world. I have worked in several different offices and from November to January there is always a steady stream of fruit baskets, popcorn tins and cookie towers. Some people like these, but more often I see them gathering dust in the break room until they have gone stale. Holiday gifting is great; but if you are going to do it, make sure your gift is unique, well thought out, and valuable so that it doesn’t get lost in the mix. 

Personal Milestones

In addition to corporate milestones and events, many companies give gifts to their employees for personal milestones. For example, weddings, new babies, flowers for illness or bereavement, and more. This type of gifting is a totally acceptable practice as long as gift giving is fair and consistent among all employees. If gifts are given to some and not others, or if the gift value is perceived to be different among employees, it can bring up issues of fairness and can cause feelings of ill will.