The holidays are a perfect time to thank a special client, recognize the hard work of employees or strengthen a relationship with a referral source. More than three-quarters of corporations now hand out custom gifts during the holidays as part of their incentive programs. Despite the popularity, many people struggle with picking a present that is unique, memorable and appropriate because they don’t know how to navigate the unwritten expectations of corporate gifting.
Follow these three corporate gifts tips to keep the shopping experience suitable for office relationships:
Even if money is tight or you celebrate other customs, embracing opportunities to participate in office traditions is actually an investment in your professional future. The entire point of exchanging gifts is to spread feelings of goodwill and strengthen relationships. By sharing a little holiday cheer with acts of kindness, you will feel more connected to your business associates. This not only reduces workplace stress by boosting motivation and productivity, but it also cultivates a sense of teamwork that can help you out during the next year.
Now that you have decided to participate, you need to pick a gift that respects your company’s hospitality policies. Hopefully, these codes of ethics are explicitly stated in the company handbook. However, much of the etiquette surrounding gift giving in your office is unspoken. This can create stress and confusion, making it feel like you are tiptoeing through a minefield of expectations and disappointments. Office newbies may have to directly ask coworkers about past gifts given and received to get ideas and price range guidelines. A good rule of thumb is to keep holiday gifts under $25, which is the limit allowed for tax deductions.
We also have many social rules in our gift-giving culture that complicate corporate gifting. Business gifts should reflect the nature of your relationship with the recipient and honor your position in the company. Extravagant items can be misconstrued as a bribe or competitive office politics while personal items can come off as judgmental or too intimate. Even if someone has an awesome sense of humor, a gag gift could be unexpectedly embarrassing in a work environment. The best strategy is to select quality personalized gifts tailored to each recipient and add a handwritten note that genuinely expresses your appreciation.
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