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The art of corporate gift giving: What to give and what not to give


To give or not to give? Should you or shouldn’t you? There’s a lot of questions and fine lines surrounding corporate gift giving. When it comes down to it though, the first rule of thumb is that the gift should always be optional, without any pressure on either person.

There’s definitely pressure involved when it comes to corporate gift giving, however. And it’s in the gift ideas. It’s not like buying for your best friend or partner when you know exactly what makes them tick; corporate gift giving involves guidelines and definite dos and don’ts.

With bigger corporations, buying a gift can be even harder because chances are – you don’t know everyone in your company really well. Hence why it’s best to buy for people you interact with more on a daily basis. Pay attention to small conversations, their likes and dislikes and don’t be afraid to ask around too. To ease the corporate gift giving process, here’s a few ideas on what to give and what not to give.

  1. DO Give Simple, But Significant

Simple is key when it comes to corporate gift giving, but make sure it’s significant too. Just because you’re not buying a gift for your best friend it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be something special. By paying close attention to the little things with your colleagues, you’ll be able to have a good insight into their hobbies and passions – then pick out a gift that reflects their taste and personality.

If you know your work colleague is a baking enthusiast, a simple cooking book can go a long way. A music fan may appreciate a music store voucher, or find out what their favourite team is if they’re really into their sports. By paying attention to what your co-worker is passionate about, you’ll be able to find a gift that shows you’ve put a little thought in it.

  1. DON’T Give Over the Top

For corporate gift giving to work effectively, a spending budget should be set that everyone can meet. This way, no one feels obliged to spend too much or is left feeling awkward with a gift that’s over the top. Not all companies will set spending limits though, so be mindful of this and stick to a gift that is realistic in price and expectations.

There’s a fine line between corporate gifts that show appreciation to ones that are far too flashy. Gifts that are too extravagant can make people in the office feel like that what they have chosen isn’t good enough. You can still be creative without going over the top, gift hampers can be a great way to do this and can be tailored to suit individual tastes and hobbies. If you really don’t know anything about the person you’re buying for, at least you can opt for a hamper that has a few mixed goodies in there. That way, there’s bound to be something in there they will enjoy and anything else can be repurposed. Alternatively, a simple but significant gift voucher can give your co-worker the opportunity to pick out their own tasty treats.

  1. DO Give something that’s Considerate

Especially important throughout the holiday season, being negligent of other people’s religious beliefs is essential. Not every holiday is celebrated with every belief and some offices actually discourage gift giving – so make sure you know the protocol in your workplace first. Depending on some religions too, the person you’re buying for may not drink alcohol so it’s best to ask around if you’re not sure before purchasing anything that may be offensive.

Humour and ‘gag’ gifts too, is something to be considerate of in an office environment. What may be hilarious to you can be unpleasant or awkward for the next person, so save it for the people you know well. If you do work with a close friend that would appreciate a gift like that, it’s best to save it for an out-of-office occasion.

  1. DON’T Give a Gift that’s too Personal

Just as humours ‘gag’ gifts can make someone feel uncomfortable, a gift that’s too personal can too. If you find yourself wondering whether a person may get offended by your gift or get the wrong message, chances are they probably will – so play it safe.

Gifts for the office, like something quirky and useful they can keep on their desk at work and use are perfect for corporate gift giving. Photo frames, hobby related gifts and tasty treats are all great (and easy!) ideas that aren’t too personal, but still require some thought. If you know your work buddy a little better, homemade treats are also fantastic. Not only does it show you’ve put some time and thought into it, but it personalises the gift without being too personal. Just make sure you check if they’re allergic to anything first!

  1. DO Give a Group Gift

If your cash flow isn’t looking too crash hot, consider pooling money for a group gift. This is an especially great idea if you’re wanting to buy your boss a gift or if a valued work colleague is leaving. Group gift giving helps to take the stress out of finding something, and it safeguards you needing to spend more money than you can afford.

Present giving in the workplace shouldn’t be a stress. In fact, it’s a fantastic way to bond with colleagues and get into the spirit of giving. With the correct corporate gift giving etiquette and a little creativity, you’ll be on your way to getting the art of gift giving right every time.

About the Author:

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Just in Time Gourmet Hampers who specialise in corporate gift hamper delivery in Perth and Australia Wide. You can catch her on Google+.