Company Culture | Gift Giving Etiquette

Company Culture | Gift Giving Etiquette

Did you know that many companies have a gift-giving policy? Believe it or not, this topic can be highly detailed. Company culture has a lot to do with it. We are sharing some basic etiquette when it comes to gift-giving.  

General Policies

Start by seeking out info on your company’s gift-giving policy. If you are unsure, then reach out to someone in Human Resources. It will help avoid a potentially awkward situation. In the meantime, we’ll help by giving a rundown of basic etiquette.

One of the fundamental tips of a gift-giving policy is to treat all people and organizations impartially. Some policies focus on a value per gift or the position of the recipient in an organization. For example, an employee that shares a lavish gift with a manager could be viewed as sucking up. And if a manager shares a gift with a particular employee, it could be viewed as playing favorites.

A general rule of thumb is that if you give to one person, then you give to all. It avoids anything being misconstrued. It’s also about being equal, unbiased, and non-discriminatory. This principle applies to both individuals within the company and outside the company. Especially if you are considering gifts for suppliers, vendors, and customers.

Co-Worker Gifts

During the holidays, it’s easy to apply a one-for-all gift strategy. How does one apply this when events become more personalized? Think weddings, work milestones, funerals, or baby showers. It’s also harder, as not all of these events will apply to every person.

The best tactic is to give a similar gift across your team. If you give one person a baby shower gift, then be sure to gift it to the next employee celebrating a baby as well. Another solution to this is a group gift. It allows for other employees to contribute as they see fit and build a team experience. It should never feel mandatory to contribute and the person in charge should be open to the fact that not all team members may be in a place or want to contribute. In any case, the goal is to share a gift of similar value for each occasion and employee.

Another great tip is to think about giving “across” but not “up” the organization chart. The reason is that most companies may prohibit gifts to those who have responsibility or power over the giver. If you are gifting for the holidays or it is in your company culture to gift for special occasions, then use the same strategies mentioned above for managers.

Gifts Outside the Company

This portion of the topic can be trickier. While intentions may be good, this could be viewed as bribery if not done carefully. Once again, be mindful of the company policy. This article offers great advice on tackling a policy that does include gifting. Some examples include sharing gifts with the entire staff or raffling the item if it is not easily shareable.

Office Snack Pack Gift Set

If you are the gift giver, it is important to consider many aspects of the process. Be sure to send similar gifts like a snack pack across businesses when giving outside the organization to avoid any claim of bias. Also, if these partners are not local, there are cultural considerations. Research holidays, types of gifts, color, and even numbers when it comes to gifting to another region. For example, red is seen as a lucky color in China whereas, white represents death and morning.

Gifts to Avoid

Some gifts are best given outside the workplace or not at all. Again, this may depend on your company culture and policies that are in place. At the end of the day, gifting should be sincere and with good intentions.

Gag gifts are one of the first to cross off the list. We all love a good laugh but not at the expense of making someone feel like crap. Avoid jokes that may center around age, mental concerns, physical appearance, disabilities, race, gender, or cultural stereotypes. 

Be mindful not to cross the line when it comes to a personal gift. Sure, we all want to find a gift that suits the person but stay away from most objects that have to do with the body. Think undergarments, perfume, or jewelry.

Lastly, cash is a big no-no! It’s too easy to misinterpret. A digital gift could be a great alternative.

Still, thinking about how to pull together similar gifts across your team or network? We’ve got you covered with our gift sets.