Buying holiday gifts for employees? Keep it professional.

October 23, 2017

The holidays are here again and somehow Black Friday has become THIS FRIDAY. You might have the itch to get all your shopping done ASAP in an attempt to relax and celebrate the holidays early for once. If your shopping list includes getting gifts for your employees, management team or those you supervise take a moment to think about your choices before you start your shopping spree.

What is appropriate or inappropriate? What you buy for your spouse may not necessarily be a good idea for an employee. Here are our tips for handling the gift-giving season like the professional that you are.

Appropriate employee gift tips:

  • A gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop. No matter where you live, there are many options and buying local is always good for some karma points. They are easy to buy and the supply of card holders (with your handwritten thank you’ inside = more karma points) and envelopes that hold them are endless.
  • Cookies/Popcorn/Treat Basket. Who doesn’t like a tin of cookies or another holiday treat? You can place an order through a local company or online. Either way, it is always appreciated.
  • Items with your company logo. Try to find items that your employees will use during the course of their jobs. Nice pens, desk items, or a multi-tool could be good choices. Use good judgement when giving out apparel with your logo on it though. Your employees may take it as a way for you to get them to advertise your product or service outside of work rather than a token of goodwill.
  • Electronic items. From an iPod to a tablet, there are many ideas to consider within this category. You may spend a little more money, but it will go a long way in showing your employees just how much you care.

Some examples of inappropriate gifts include the following:

  • Alcohol. Even if you think this is a good idea, you should resist at all costs. Just because you are giving a gift doesn’t mean you should lose your professionalism.
  • Jewelry. As you can imagine this can be misinterpreted if it’s too personal. A watch is the one exemption we can see to this rule.
  • Underwear (or a gift card to this type of store). It seems obvious but there are people who cross this line every year. Forget the Victoria’s Secret gift card.
  • Joke gifts.  – These can easily backfire and leave employees feeling insulted and/or embarrassed. You are not a comedian – leave the laughs to the experts and keep your gifts professional.
  • Gift certificates for very personal procedures/services. Don’t do it (see joke gifts). Just because you overheard your assistant talking about colonics or you think Larry in Accounting could use a little laser hair removal, no one wants to receive a gift certificate like this! Let me say that again…NO ONE!

Now that you have a few guidelines to follow, you’ll manage your gift shopping as well as you manage your employees! Go forth, use your best judgement, and be sincere.

Happy Holidays from the Payroll Specialties NW team!