Amazon. Starbucks. Uber Eats.
When employers send gift cards to recognize their team, they tend to default to the usual suspects.
Don’t get us wrong, these are all good options that a lot of employees will appreciate and use, and we actually have each of these merchants on Guusto.
It’s just that, if you look around, there’s a lot of more creative options out there, too. While choosing the safe option for gift cards can be a good call with some employees, others will appreciate something more unique.
Choosing a gift card for an employee that’s a bit more personal – and shows that you’ve thought about who they are and what they might like – can make them feel more seen and valued.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with this list of the best gift cards for employees with different personalities and interests (and yes, they’re all available through Guusto!).
1. Employee gift cards for book lovers: Kobo
We have plenty of book lovers here at Guusto. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, sci-fi or self-improvement, our team is always sharing their latest page-turners with each other.
While this kind of person will probably love a gift card for Indigo or Barnes & Noble, one option that our employee gift card program offers that you might not have heard of is Kobo.
An alternative to Amazon and Kindle, Kobo styles itself as ‘your favourite local bookshop, perfected for your modern life’. They offer over 5 million eBooks and audiobook titles, as well as their own eReader devices and apps.
Because it’s a digital catalog, they offer a more diverse selection than a physical shop, and their titles are also typically much cheaper than paperback or hardbacks. Your book-loving employees will have endless titles to choose from, and their employee gift cards will pay for more reading material, too.
2. Employee gift cards for binge watchers: Starz
Is there someone on your team who’s always the first to check out a hot new TV show? Or maybe someone else who’s rewatching The Office on Netflix for the 10th time?
Either way, gifting them a subscription to a new streaming service might be just the trick. One good option might be Hulu, which offers lots of great shows like A Handmaid’s Tale, Under the Banner of Heaven, and Atlanta.
The downside is that since it’s quite a popular service, your employee could well already be a subscriber.
A better choice might be an employee gift card for Starz, a premium cable streaming service which flies under the radar a bit more, but plays hosts to a number of critically acclaimed originals like Outlander, High Town, and Party Down. And what better way to show your appreciation to your TV-loving colleague than turning them on to their new favourite show?
3. Employee gift cards for digital nomads: AirBnB
With the pandemic ending and remote work becoming more common, a lot of employees are more mobile than ever before. At Guusto, several of our team members take full advantage of our work-from-anywhere policy, and regularly spend a few weeks or even months working from Europe, Central America, or other far-flung corners of the globe.
One of the best gift cards for employees embracing this kind of ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle is AirBnB. As exciting as it is to travel frequently, the cost of accommodation can add up fast, and helping towards this can make it a little easier.
Another good idea might be to send them gift cards that can go towards flights. Depending on your region, Guusto’s merchants include Delta, Southwest, and Air Canada, among others.
4. Employee gift cards for luxury travelers: Fairmont
While some of your globetrotting colleagues will be looking for low-cost options, others might prefer to travel in style.
For these employees, gift cards for high-end hotel groups like Fairmont Hotels might hit the spot. Fairmont has over 70 luxury hotels and resorts in locations all over the world, making it a great gift for employees traveling to several destinations, or even those who just want to enjoy a classy overnight break in their own city.
This employee gift card idea is also ideal if you know a team member is in the process of planning a vacation for a special occasion, like a honeymoon. If there’s a Fairmont in their chosen destination, even a night or two there could be the highlight of their trip.
5. Employee gift cards for people who could use some self-care: Spafinder
Has someone on your team been pushing themselves really hard lately? Have they taken on a high workload? Or maybe they’re just dealing with some extra stress in their personal lives?
We all know how crucial our people’s self-care and wellness is, and it’s important to encourage them to take care of themselves in whatever way we can.
One of the best merchants our employee recognition gift card program offers in this area is Spafinder, a website where visitors can find and book spa and wellness treatments near them. The site also provides special offers and discounts for several of its partners. A spa day could be just what a hard-working employee needs to destress, relax, and re-energize.
6. Employee gift cards for music lovers: StubHub
Whether they’re Swifties or Skatepunks, every workplace has an employee who really, really takes their love of music to a whole other level.
Employee gift card programs like Guusto do have streaming services like Spotify in their merchants lists, which could be a good bet, but they might already have a subscription to that platform or another provider.
A more interesting option might be a gift card for StubHub, so they can see one of their favourite artists in the flesh. StubHub is a marketplace for people to resell tickets to each other, and can be a great way to pick up bargain deals or snag tickets to sold out shows.
The platform also offers tickets for theatre productions, comedy shows, sporting events and other attractions, so it can be a great employee gift card idea for almost anyone on your team.
7. Employee gift cards for fitness fanatics: Under Armour
If your employees love to stay active, getting them a gift card to invest in some high quality workout gear might be greatly appreciated.
Lululemon has a great range of clothing for running, yoga, or any exercise. The store also stocks accessories like water bottles, yoga mats, and gym bags. Athleta is another merchant with some fantastic options.
But our personal pick for the best gift card for employees who love to stay active is Under Armour. The quality of their gym gear is second to none, and they also have a fantastic selection of outdoor activewear that’s fit for any season.
8. Employee gift cards for outdoor enthusiasts- Bass Pro Shops
Speaking of the outdoors, one of the best gift cards for employees who love to get out in the wilderness and explore is Bass Pro Shops.
Bass Pro is a specialty retailer with locations all across North America that sells clothing and equipment for camping, boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. For a real outdoor enthusiast, this is the ideal place to source almost anything they might need, from basics like tents and sleeping bags, to survival gear, to accessories like cookware and generators.
For less adventurous employees who like to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of their homes, they also offer a great range of patio furniture and home decor.
9. Employee gift cards for parents: Applebee’s
For employees who have children, nothing is more important than quality time with their kids, and a gift card that allows them to treat the whole family could be very meaningful to them.
Depending on your location, an employee gift card program like Guusto will offer several options for family outings. You could treat them to movie tickets at Cineplex or AMC, or even a day at an amusement centre like Golf Town.
But there’s no need to overthink it. A meal at a family restaurant like Applebee’s could be the perfect gift, giving them the chance to enjoy dinner together without having to worry about the cost.
10. Employee gift cards for new homeowners: Pottery Barn
If you have a colleague who’s just moved, getting everything they need for their new place will be their number one priority, and there’s plenty of employee gift cards that can serve as housewarming presents.
For the amateur interior designers who are looking to furnish their new space in style, gift cards for home furnishing stores like Wayfair and Pottery Barn might be ideal. Alternatively, if their new home is a fixer-upper or they’re first-time buyers, they might appreciate you covering the cost of some of their frequent trips to Lowes or Home Depot.
Moving is always stressful, and the expenses can add up quickly, so sending them a gift at this time could be very meaningful to them.
11. Employee gift cards for everyone- Guusto
These are just a few employee gift card ideas that might work for members of your team with different personalities and interests, but if you’re looking for something different, we’ve got you covered.
Our employee recognition gift card program boasts hundreds of other merchants including bars, restaurants, retailers, and a lot more.
Is your employee a big gamer? We’ve got xBox gift cards. Do they love beauty products? We have Sephora. Do they just need a ride from the airport? We do Uber, too.
Best of all, you don’t need to choose for them. While you can preselect a merchant if you know your employee well, you can also let them pick where they want to redeem their gift.
You can still make reward suggestions in your recognition message to add a personal touch, but they have the freedom to find something they really want, making your gift more meaningful and valuable. They can also split their gift across different merchants, or combine different gift cards for a larger reward.
And did we mention you can get started for free? While we provide full-service packages for companies who are looking to create full-scale employee recognition programs, we also offer free single user accounts for those who want a simple, no-frills gifting solution. You only pay for the cost of rewards, with no fees, markups, or any other hidden costs. Sign up here to get started:
More that just gift cards: Make your culture your ultimate advantage
Employee recognition is about more than just gift cards. It’s one of the most effective ways to motivate and empower your people, and can help drive innovation, productivity, and leadership.
To learn more, read Culture is the Ultimate Advantage, our free guide to how recognition creates impactful culture. Fill in the form below to get your copy: