• Leah Norman

'Tis the season of giving - Gift giving in the Workplace

Workplace gift giving can be a blessing and a curse for employers.


On the one hand it brings out the generous, team-oriented qualities in employees but equally, it can cause animosity between employees not to mention embarrassment and even anger.


Right now the focus may be a secret Santa, but there are many occasions throughout the year that may give rise to gift giving - think; birthday's, promotions, milestone workplace anniversaries etc.

Generally, workplace gift giving is coordinated amongst employees, but employers should not shy away from having a say for the sake of workplace harmony.


Here are some tips for employers in managing workplace gift giving:

  1. Develop gift giving guidelines – set up some employer endorsed guidelines about workplace gift giving and tell employees about the guidelines. That way, when it comes time for a collection to make the rounds, both the employees doing the collecting and those contributing know what to expect.

  2. Place a limit on the value of a gift and the contributions requested – gifts given in the workplace should be symbols of appreciation and gestures of well-wishing. Employers could set a limit on how much should be spent on gifts and cap contributions so that employees aren’t filled with anxiety about how much they should give. For example, a $10 cap on contributions for any gift will still enable the purchasing of an appropriate gift. In larger teams, the total gift budget may be limited to $100 meaning that employees individually contribute less and the gift remains reasonable, but not over the top (also remember that larger teams will have more gifts overall so a lower contribution cap is important).

  3. Only notify relevant employees about a gift collection – if you are a large organisation, keep requests for contributions to within the team that works with the gift recipient.

  4. Promote, foster and recruit for a positive and generous workplace cultureAll workplaces have a culture of some kind, whether they actively encourage it or not. Developing and maintaining a culture that embraces gift giving flows from the top down and starts with recruitment. Managers should encourage a culture that celebrates employee life events and should recruit employees that they feel share their values. Where a team approaches gift giving from a shared understanding, expectations will be clear, employees will support each other and dramas, are less likely to develop.

  5. If it simply doesn’t work, put a stop to it – remember; you are within your rights to set rules of conduct within the workplace. If gift giving and money collections are simply causing too much drama and conflict, put a ban in place. This doesn’t prevent employees who are friends from celebrating life events away from work, but it may calm the seas within the workplace.


Disclaimer

This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Yellow Consulting does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.