4 Gift-Giving Don’ts in the Corporate World
Whenever you want to show appreciation for an employee, a tangible gift is a great way to do it. More business owners are learning how gifts can positively influence companies, keep their brands memorable, and help with employee recruitment and retention. This being said, some gifts are outdated or inappropriate and should never be given in the corporate world. Today, we’ll discuss a few gift giving don’ts and ways to show tangible thanks without committing a faux pas.
Donations in an Employee’s Name
Unless you know what causes an employee is passionate about, never give a donation in his or her name. In fact, avoid this altogether. An extravagant donation, even to a cause the employee loves, is awkward.
Inconvenient Gift Cards
Gift cards can be great choices for employees – they allow the employee to spend money at his or her leisure on products he or she wants or needs. Be careful of what stores you choose, though. It’s inconsiderate to give a gift card to a restaurant or store with no locations near your employee. It’s also a bad idea to give a gift to a store without a website. Although the store may have a convenient location, it may not stock the items your employee wants. Of course, web shopping is often easier and more convenient for a busy life. The lack of a website severely limits how your gift can be used and may force your employee to essentially reject the gift.
The gifts you may think are funny are the same ones employees may find offensive. These gifts might even get you sued. Never give an employee anything with the slightest sexual connotation. This includes novelty bras and lingerie, perfume or cologne, and makeup. These gifts are likely to set off the rumor mill about office romances or worse. In addition, don’t give any gift that could be construed as a slam against a minority group or someone’s personal appearance.
For example, your IT department head may have bulging eyes – don’t give him or her a stuffed animal whose eyes are exaggerated. Don’t give a Jewish employee a sausage and cheese basket as a holiday gift, even if the person doesn’t keep kosher. Finally, never give a gag gift to an employee who’s recently filed an EEOC or other complaint. No matter how you feel about the complaint itself, a gag gift sends the message that you didn’t take it seriously, and he or she may want to retaliate.
Religious or Self-Help Books
Many employers give these because they want to let workers know they’ve done a good job and provide incentive for that good job to continue. Yet most employees take this as a backhanded compliment or an indication their work is sub-par, so avoid “how to perform better” books. In fact, avoid self-help books of any kind, as these may make employees think you’re analyzing them behind their backs.
In the same vein, avoid religious books even if you know everyone in your office follows the same faith. Religion is highly personal, and one misstep in this area can cause major offense.