Gift Giving Etiquette at Work
Most employed people want to give gifts for the holidays but only a few people
feel confident that it'll be the right thing to do. In this article, I'll
provide a general guide to proper gift giving at work.
The first thing to consider is that in some industries government regulations
control the types of gifts that can be given and received. For example, if
you're a contractor in a company working on a government contract, you can't
give gifts to anyone in that company, or to any government officials. Many
states prohibit lobbyists from giving gifts to government officials.
Most companies have a gift giving policy. Some companies forbid gift giving in
order to avoid any problems. Instead of gift giving, they may hold a holiday
dinner party and/or give a company-wide gift certificate or cash bonus.
Be aware that a promised bonus may be construed as a contract by the courts.
For employees giving to colleagues, there is usually no problem, except for bad
feelings resulting from the inevitable regifting problem. Many employees avoid
any problems by giving a group charitable donation.
It gets tricky when a boss gives a gift to an employee or an employee gives a
gift to a boss. For an employee, giving a gift to a boss may be construed as
seeking favoritism. It's better to get together with your fellow employees to
give a group gift to the boss.
For a boss giving a gift to someone they manage, fairness is the issue. Giving
a gift to only some employees may be seen as playing favorites. It's better to
give the identical gift to all of your staff. One gift employees love around
the holidays is getting the afternoon off.
Keep in mind that a gift sends a message. Jewelry and clothing are intimate
gifts that can be misconstrued, especially when given to a member of the
opposite sex. Gag gifts can be fun, but avoid ones where the gag relies on
sexual innuendo or ethnic stereotype.
To avoid gift giving problems at work, follow the advise provided by this
article. Then your gifts will accomplish the goal for witch they were intended,
to show generosity and caring.
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