When it's time to show your appreciation to clients, vendors and employees, here are a few things to consider.
From the company:
- Tokens of appreciation: Make sure that gifts sporting your company’s logo meet a certain standard: well made, in tasteful colors and with the logo understated enough not to look like an advertisement.
- Charitable gifts: Many companies show their appreciation by giving a donation in the recipient’s name. This is a win-win solution: The recipient is glad to be recognized; the company making the donation makes its appreciation known; and both companies contribute to the greater good of society.
From individuals to customers and clients:
- Individuals in the company who give gifts to outsiders are usually at the executive to mid-manager level.
- Many companies forbid ANY corporate gift giving, or only allow employees to accept gifts valued less than $25.
- Be sure to follow your own company rules AND check with the HR department at the intended recipient’s company first. Sending a gift to a client who’s unable to keep it is awkward for both parties.
- Never give a gift to an outside business associate who is either currently involved in a bidding process with your firm or receiving a bid from you or your company.
Gifts from outside your company:
- Some companies have a ceiling for the cost of a gift received; others require that any gifts valued at more than $25 must be disclosed to management. This is a good way to keep tabs on what’s coming in from outside and seeing to it that everything stays aboveboard.
- Most companies allow employees to receive token gifts from customers and clients because sending them back could insult the giver, especially during the holidays.
- Some businesses require that any foodstuffs received from outside be divided up and shared. This is because the usual recipients of such gifts tend to be those employees who have the advantage of dealing face-to-face with customers, whereas the people who work behind the scenes often go unrewarded.
Gifts for bosses: Yes or No?
- Don’t give a gift to your supervisor that’s just from you. Other employees may resent what they see as an effort to curry favor with the boss.
- Get together with the others in your department and give a gift from the group.
Gifts for assistants: Yes or No?
- Managers may want to reward their secretary or assistant personally. The gift choice depends on length of service: If it is less than five years, a gift valued at $25 is sufficient; with longer-term assistants, a more generous gift is appropriate.
- Make sure the gift is not too personal: Lingerie, perfume, and jewelry are out of the question.
- Consider the assistant’s likes and interests in choosing what to give him or her. Books, a gourmet food basket, tickets to the theater or a sporting event, and gift certificates are good possibilities.