The winter holiday season is a time to appreciate and appreciate. As difficult as it is to decide what to gift family and friends each year, it can be even more tricky when navigating gift-giving in a professional context.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t feel compelled or pressured to spend money or give gifts, whether it’s your boss, another team member, or a customer. But if you decide to give your co-workers some holiday cheer, here are some factors to consider:
1. Find out about the relevant regulations in your industry and your company’s gift giving policy.
While the act of gifting is intended to be a simple gesture of generosity and appreciation, various industries such as financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as other companies have strict gift giving policies. These policies are typically implemented not only to prevent bribery, but also to avoid conflicts of interest or perceptions thereof.
Front-Line Anti-Bribery CEO Richard Bistrong recommends that you look into your compliance leader and company code of conduct if you work in a field where gift giving is particularly sensitive in nature. He also recommends consulting with your company, regardless of your field, if your gift is international or cross-border, to avoid conflicting with codes of conduct or certain international anti-bribery laws. “Anything that seems innocent to the gift giver may be perceived by regulators as trying to improperly influence a decision maker, regardless of whether the person in question is a government official or business employee,” Bistrong said.
2. Spend nominally.
Don’t break the bank. This is not only for the purpose of obedience, but also to avoid causing the discomfort some may feel when receiving a more generous gift. “To overdo it with a gift can make someone feel uncomfortable, especially if it’s clear they’re not putting the same amount of extravagance on what they’re giving you,” said gift giving expert Lindsay Roberts Schey of TheGiftInsider.com.
He shared that $25 for coworkers is the typical average price for holiday gifts, but can go as high as $50. “If it’s a large office and you’re giving gifts to many people, $15 to $25 is fine.” Schey also said, “Never try to outdo your boss. Spend less than they do.”
3. Make it personal – but not too personal.
One way to personalize your gift is to donate to a charity that your colleague supports and is meaningful to them.
Or you can tie the gift to the person’s external interests. If you’re not yet familiar with what these are, do some research on social media or ask others who know them. “Think about their hobbies, interests, or areas of work they might need for their work,” Schey said. Examples would be a personalized notebook if they want to keep a diary, a picture frame on their desk to keep a photo they love, or a coffee shop gift card or a heated mug to keep their drink warm. Knowing I’m a sweet-loving French fan, a colleague gifted me a box of pastries from a local French bakery, which was the perfect gift for me!
But be sure to stay away from gifts that are too personal, as some run the risk of being too intimate. Schey recommends avoiding jewelry or clothing, for example.
4. Give an experience.
Research shows that people who receive experiential gifts feel closer and more connected to the gift giver. Movie tickets or a restaurant gift card may be a small indulgence your coworker didn’t plan for himself.
One year, a close colleague of mine was working particularly hard and was in serious need of self-care. When I gave her a spa gift certificate, she was very touched. Research also shows that giving experiential gifts can have a connecting effect, as they will think of you during the experience, even when you’re not with the recipient.
If you manage a team, another option is to organize a group outing, such as a holiday lunch or dinner, or an activity such as ice skating or improv class. Whatever activity you organize, you will want to be inclusive, but attending should be optional so that no one feels pressured to participate.
5. Have fun — but keep it clean.
Everyone loves a good laugh. A whimsical but useful gift can be both fun and entertaining — gifts like a mug that says “You’re Quiet” or a notebook that says “List of Things I Can’t Reach” will make us laugh at ourselves when giving gifts. something to us that we will really use.
However, you want to stay away from anything that could in any way be perceived as too irritable, rude, vulgar, or offensive. Again, you don’t want to risk offending anyone or breaking any boundaries. “Save gag gifts for friends and family,” advises Schey.
6. Think carefully before giving alcohol or food.
While perishable items are generally acceptable in terms of compatibility and it’s fine to share among a few people, it can be a bit of a minefield if you don’t know if the recipient has consumed the specific items you sent (like my French pastries). if the recipient has dietary restrictions, alcohol abuse issues, or religious restrictions.
“Do some research before gifting food,” Shey advises. “If you’re unsure, try something prepackaged. If it’s not for them, they can share it with family and friends.” When in doubt, you can directly ask if they drink wine or have dietary restrictions, or give them a gift card to let them choose something that suits them.
7. Share knowledge.
We all love to learn and grow. Consider gifting a colleague a business magazine subscription or a gift card to an audio or in-store bookstore. Or you can buy them a book on a particular topic of interest, whether it’s written by an author they love or a genre they’re interested in, such as biography, business, or history.
8. Think outside the (gift) box.
You don’t need to spend money or give a financial gift to give something thoughtful and put a smile on your coworker’s face. Consider writing a handwritten note of appreciation. Christopher Littlefield, an expert in employee appreciation and founder of Beyond Thanks You, shares: “One of the most meaningful gifts you can give another colleague is a handwritten note that shows you appreciation. It’s letting the person feel accepted and working with them. It is an opportunity to highlight what you love most.”
Littlefield recommends starting your message with a line like this: “As we approach the end of the year, I just wanted you to know that I am truly grateful ____ about you.” Share a particular trait, something they did well, and how it positively impacted you. “Gifts are often forgotten,” he added.
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Giving gifts to coworkers during the holidays shouldn’t stress you out too much, break the bank, or even incur any expense. By following the guidelines above, you will increase your chances of bringing joy to your co-workers while showing your appreciation and building warmth and bond.