Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Post: Rules and Ideas for Employee Gifts

Great tips to help you get the perfect gift for your employees and co-workers this Christmas

Some people think it’s not necessary to give your employees gifts over the holidays. But it’s a thoughtful gesture that boosts morale and communicates the message that you, the employer, value the people who work for you. A happy workplace is a productive workplace, after all.
In choosing gifts for your employees, you have to be mindful of a few things, so as not to inadvertently offend them. It may come as a surprise to some people, but with gift giving it’s surprisingly easy to do just that. You have to remember to:
  • Keep it secular. You don’t want to accidentally ostracize an employee by celebrating specific religious holidays. Religion is still, and probably always will be, a sensitive spot, so when giving gifts to your employees, keep it denomination friendly on the greeting card. A ‘happy holidays’ will always work.
  • Try not to play favorites. Let’s admit, we all have our favorites. It’s unavoidable to know one person better than the others, especially if you work closely with them. When you find something that you think will be perfect for one of your employees, it’s incredibly tempting to get it and customize each employee’s gifts, but don’t do it! Someone will most certainly be offended if they receive a less personal gift. The exception to this rule is if you run a very small business with only a few people that you know very well, or if you have a personal assistant.
  • Be careful not to become too extravagant or too miserly with your gifts. If you give your employees expensive gifts this year and cheaper gifts the next, or no gifts at all, somebody is bound to notice. That would tell your employees that your business is floundering, or at least not doing very well, and would considerably lower your employees’ morale. Try to set up a consistent annual budget for employee gifts.
With all this in mind, you can start picking their gifts, now. I’ve never been good at picking gifts, myself—not even for family and friends—and I find that listing ideas down while the year is still young helps quite a lot. That way, I don’t have to rip my hair out trying to think of the perfect gift when the season comes. Here are a few tips for choosing gifts for your employees:
  • You don’t always have to wrap your gifts. You can pick up the tab at lunch, or buy everybody a round of donuts or have a mini pizza party at the office. That shows you appreciate your employees, without being too ostentatious with your gifts. It’s a nice gesture!
  • Personalized gifts are always very thoughtful. I’m not saying that you should go all out and customize their gifts to death, because that would be breaking one of the rules (see above), but inexpensively engraved pens and the like are always a crowd pleaser.
  • Consumables make for excellent gifts. Like food, cheese, wine, gift baskets… Not everybody will be happy with a trinket or a bauble to put on their desks, but virtually everybody loves food, or anything they can spend or use, like tickets or gift certificates to the restaurant of your choice. There are many stores online that cater specifically to people looking for corporate gifts (gift baskets, chocolates, etc), such as the one right here (it’s a Danish page for confectionery gifts but you will get creative ideas just the same).
And remember, one of the best gifts you can give your employees the whole year round is a healthy, supportive work environment. Happy holidays to you!

Nikki dela Paz writes for, Danish specialists in advertising confectionery.


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