Inappropriate Holiday Office Gifting
You have to be careful when gifting in a professional setting, especially during the holiday season. Giving the wrong gift may offend – or worse, identify you as a crackpot.
Staffing firm Accountemps recently asked human resources (HR) managers to recount some of the more “memorable” gifts given during the holidays.
Some of the examples included:
- “A department head who gave employees a picture in a frame of himself”
- “An employee gave a re-gifted gift that the manager had given the year before”
- “A big order of frozen pork”
- “A lavish gift. Something that was very valuable because of favoritism”
- “A mug with a satirical phrase on it, used to make fun of someone”
- “A wig”
- “A $700 gift card”
- “A dozen roses”
- “Cash was given discriminately in different amounts to different employees”
As you can see, context often has a lot to do with whether a gift is appropriate, or not. For instance, gifts of liquor might be welcome and appreciated by some recipients, (though it’s better to err on the side of caution where booze is concerned).
To help you make the right holiday gifting choices, Accountemps is offering these five rules:
- Give unconditionally. Don’t gift out of obligation or because there’s an expectation of something in return. Similarly, managers should make sure employees know trading presents, even if there is a group exchange, is optional and not a requirement.
- Make it personal. Show you are thinking of the recipient by finding something he or she will specifically enjoy, such as a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or a book related to a hobby they pursue.
- Don’t be overly extravagant – or a Scrooge. Spending too much can make the receiver uncomfortable, while spending too little can make the gift seem like an afterthought.
- Present it nicely. No matter the present, cheerful packaging shows thoughtfulness. Include a personalized holiday card with it.
- Be thankful. Always express your appreciation. Go the extra step and send a handwritten thank-you note that expresses your appreciation for their help throughout the year.
These are good guidelines. Keep them in mind before you get “creative” with your office gift-giving this holiday season.
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