Giving gifts in an office setting can be difficult. There are multiple sets of rules for in-office gifting and corporate gifting between companies. If you do not follow the rules of etiquette, you could end up with a loss of a client or even worse. Follow these guidelines to avoid gift-giving trouble this holiday season:
Gifts for bosses and co-workers
Giving gifts to bosses and co-workers is a little less formal than gifting between companies. You know the person and can add an extra personal touch to the gift. However, there are still some rules that apply in the office as well as anywhere else in the business world.
Go with a group gift for the boss
Many employees want to give their boss a gift during the holidays. However, if you give an individual gift, other employees or the boss may feel like the gift is a bribe, which is unacceptable in the workplace. The best way to avoid the appearance of bribery is to make an office pool with other employees and give a group gift to the boss. This way, everyone gets to pitch in for the gift and no employees are seen as fishing for favors or special treatment.
Don’t get too personal
Even when you know someone in the office, getting a gift that is too personal can lead to problems. Always avoid religious-affiliated gifts, sexual gifts, or anything that implies an extremely personal relationship with the other person. Typically, expensive gifts, like jewelry, is not recommended for office gifting. Stick to an inexpensive budget and non-personal gifts to avoid awkward or inappropriate encounters.
Consider a gift-giving swap
One way that many companies avoid the appearance of bribery or inappropriate relationships at the office is through a gift-giving swap. Everyone in the department draws a name out of a hat and purchases a gift for that person. Usually, the price limit on these gifts is low, and the practice is just for fun more than anything else.
Use the same gift for all employees
If you are the boss, you can easily face the problem of favoritism. The best way to avoid this is by giving all employees the same small gift. Gift cards, consumable items, or a small bonus check are typically all acceptable gifts for bosses to give employees. Check with your company’s regulations, however, before committing to any one gift.
Gifts for clients and associates
Gift-giving for clients and business associates from a different company is even trickier than in-office gift giving. There are many rules and etiquette rules the govern the practice of business to business gifting. Follow these rules to avoid the appearance of bribes or gloating to associates.
Check the gift-giving policy
Many companies have a strict no-gifts policy for their employees. Before sending a gift to any company, make sure that they will accept gifts. Giving a gift to a company that does not accept them could lead to a break in the relationship between your company and theirs.
Avoid useless items
Traditional office gifts, like pens, calendars, and paperweights provide no value to the recipient. Look for gifts that mean something to that particular associate. If your client is a sales person, a book of funny sales quotes could be an appropriate gift. A medical center may appreciate the gift of a piece of low-cost medical equipment. Not only does this give the business a useful gift, but it also shows the thoughtful nature of your company.
Set a price point
For the most part, companies do not want gifts that are expensive, as they can look like a bribe or a brag about the success of your company. Most companies have a $100 limit on the cost of company gifts, but your company’s limit could be lower. Always check before sending out any gifts to clients and associates.
No personal items
Inter-company personal gifts are even less appropriate than in an office setting. Never send any items that could be seen as a personal gift as a company gift to an associate or client. This is the best way to avoid legal trouble.
Office gift-giving can be somewhat of a challenge, but if you follow the guidelines, you can give appropriate gifts without running into inappropriateness or legal issues. Follow all gift-giving rules for corporate gifting and your holiday can still be merry and bright.
Guest post by Andras, a fresh guest-blogger and a full-time communication specialist. He currently works for PhotoFramesPlus, a great ecommerce site selling pen stands and unique, custom tailored gifts. When not working, Andras likes to travel and discover new places and cultures.