Human Resources



Christmas gift HR

To gift or not to gift? That is the question

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It’s about the time of the year where we rack our brains for holiday gift ideas for our coworkers. With Christmas being less than three weeks away, many organisations are starting to throw their year end holiday parties. Along with that comes the dreaded question – to gift or not to gift?

According to a recent survey from Accountemps, the majority of HR managers said it is acceptable for employees and managers to exchange presents in the office.

Of the more than 300 HR managers surveyed, slightly above six in 10 respondents (63%) felt it appropriate for supervisors to give their staff a holiday gift, while another 58% said it’s appropriate for workers to give their boss a gift.

Now that the question of to gift or not is out of the way, another common query most of us have is – how much should be spent on the gift?

The HR managers surveyed cited that staff should spend an average of $20 on their boss and $24 as a suitable amount for supervisors to spend on employees.

While the survey did not reveal what should be given, it shed light on some of the most inappropriate gifts HR managers have seen, including:

  • A department head who gave employees a picture of himself in a frame
  • An employee gave a re-gifted gift that the manager had given the year before
  • A big order of frozen pork
  • A lavish gift. Something that was very valuable because of favoritism
  • A mug with a satirical phrase on it, used to make fun of someone
  • A wig
  • A $700 gift card
  • Liquor
  • A dozen roses
  • Cash was given discriminately in different amounts to different employees

ALSO READ: 75% of companies are planning to give out holiday bonuses in 2016

“As much as people enjoy giving presents, this can be a sensitive issue in the workplace and becomes a personal decision based on individual relationships,” said Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps.

“More important than the dollar amount, the focus should be on giving something meaningful to the recipient. The best gifts are thoughtful and demonstrate care for others.”

Additionally, Accountemps came up with these five helpful tips for exchanging holiday gifts in the office:

Give unconditionally
Don’t gift out of obligation or because there’s an expectation of something in return. Similarly, managers should make sure employees know trading presents, even if there is a group exchange, is optional and not a requirement.

Make it personal
Show you are thinking of the recipient by finding something he or she will specifically enjoy, such as a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or a book related to a hobby they pursue.

Don’t be overly extravagant – or a Scrooge
Spending too much can make the receiver uncomfortable, while spending too little can make the gift seem like an afterthought.

Present it nicely
No matter the present, cheerful packaging shows thoughtfulness. Include a personalized holiday card with it.

Be thankful
Always express your appreciation. Go the extra step and send a handwritten thank-you note that expresses your appreciation for their help throughout the year.


Photo / 123RF

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