Are you wanting to take advantage of all the cyber deals and retail sales this week to purchase gifts for people at work? If so, do you fully understand gift-giving etiquette for the workplace?
Many first time leaders don’t know what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to buying and giving presents to employees. While offering a special present to your team members is a great way to show your appreciation and gratitude, the wrong gift can send the wrong message. Your good intentions could cause more harm than good.
Zim Zoller and Kerry Preston, authors of You Did What? The Biggest Mistakes Professionals Make and You Said What?! The Biggest Communication Mistakes Professionals Make (Career Press, 2015) offer these tips for giving gifts to employees:
- Don’t leave anyone out. Don’t just buy a gift for a favorite employee. You must give everyone something, even if that means lowering the price for each item. If news gets around that one or two people received something from you, left out employees will feel, jilted and hurt. Plus, they’ll believe you play favorites, and that resentment could linger well beyond the holidays.
- Provide comparable gifts to everyone. Ideally you would pick gifts that are tailored to each person’s interests or personality, because one-size usually doesn’t fit all. That may not be possible, especially if you have a large team. However, do make sure the gifts are similar in value and cost so that no one feels like they were cheated out of something.
- Focus on meaning, not cost. Zoller and Preston say that $15 – $25 is appropriate per employee. However, if that isn’t in your budget, don’t go broke trying to cover the costs of gifts. Less expensive gifts that you make yourself or that truly match the personality of the employee can be much more meaningful.
- Wrap the gift. Take the extra time to add pretty packaging and a thoughtful note of appreciation. Your effort won’t go unnoticed.
- Hand gifts to employees. Don’t just drop them off on their desks. Offer each employee his or her present with a genuine “Thank you for all you’ve done in 2015.” However, do tell employees that they don’t have to open the gift right away. Some employees may feel awkward if they are forced to open a present in front of you.
Need an idea for a great gift? Consider these options:
- Calendar or planner
- Gift certificates that match employees’ interests or hobbies
- Gift baskets of food
- Movie or event tickets
- Picture frame
- CD or iTunes or Google Play card
- Personalized stationary
- Subscription to a magazine or website
- Donations to the employee’s favorite charity
Whatever you decide, purchase gifts because you want to show your appreciation, not because you feel obligated to do so. You should never have negative feelings about giving a gift, so if your heart isn’t in it, don’t do it this year. Additionally, don’t go over the top because you want to impress employees during your first holiday season as leader. You may set the bar too high for next year!
What is the best gift you ever received from a boss? Answer in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/christmas-present-1443606