Office gift-giving etiquette

LinkedIn's career expert talks to us about gift-giving in the workplace.

Coffee cup, red gift box and office supplies

 

As if shopping for your family wasn’t hard enough — holiday gift-giving in the workplace can be yet another tricky dilemma. How do you give your boss a little something without looking like a brownnoser? What kind of Secret Santa gift do you get that guy from accounting that you've never spoken to? Nicole Williams, LinkedIn'scareer expert, weighs in on what’s appropriate for under the office tree.

 

Should you give a gift to your boss?
“Personally, I think it’s wise to give your boss something around the holidays,” Williams tells us. “Giving a gift acts as a thank you for their mentorship and guidance throughout the year. A heartfelt handwritten note is often the best gift. Gift cards, bath sets, knick-knacks often get regifted or forgotten. However, I have saved several handwritten notes I’ve received from employees over the years.”

 

If you are a manager, should you give something to your team/ department?
“If your team went above and beyond this year — give them a treat,” she recommends. “Check in with your supervisor to see if there is any money in the budget for something like this. If not, see if you can pool your resources and plan a pizza party for the office or tab at the local watering hole. Or, invest in an office ping-pong table.”

 

If you are giving to one or two co-workers should you really give something to the whole team/department?
“You shouldn’t feel obligated to get a gift for everyone you work with. If you did that, you’d go broke come New Year’s. Williams also has advice on when to present your colleagues with presents. “Give these gifts away from the office. No need to rub your other coworker’s nose in your presents,” she says.

Perfect gift for the boss
“The gift has to say so much: ‘Thank you,’ ‘Please give me a raise,’ ‘I’m classy yet poor,’” says Williams. “It has to be personal, but not too personal.
Gifting your boss something they can use every day and that make their lives easier is often the best gift of all.” She suggests a set of adjustable collar stays by Swiss Stays for a male boss. “This is the type of gift that is personal …but not too personal,” says Williams. And for a female supervisor she likes the Miniemergency Kit by Pinch Provisions — “a chic little emergency beauty kit to keep at her desk.”

 
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