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Gift-Giving Etiquette for Managers

Gift-giving during the holidays is complicated, and that’s doubly true for offices. Should you give your team members a token of your appreciation as their leader? What should you do for your favorite co-worker? As a manager, do you give your boss a gift? Do you get the entire team a gift or just who you manage? Gift-giving etiquette for managers may seem complicated, but there are only a few simple rules to keep in mind. 

Gifts Flow Down

When giving gifts, you are only obligated to give down, not up. In other words, managers can give gifts to their team, but the staff is not expected to give gifts to their bosses. If an employee is expected to give their boss a gift, it’s an abuse of the power dynamics between staff and manager. It’s best to encourage your team not to get you a gift—though your team might ignore this and give you a group gift if they all agree to pitch in. 

It’s a Team Effort

A holiday gift is a way for you to thank your team and celebrate their successes. If your team is small, a half-dozen or so, consider giving the entire team appreciation gifts. In a large team, you only need to give gifts to those who directly report to you. Plus, giving to a supervisor when no one else does may look like you are trying to gain favor over others. 

Keep to a Budget

When choosing gifts, come up with a budget and stick to it. Don’t go over the budget for a particular employee, unless you are giving them a gift in private because they are also a friend. Keep everything relatively equal to avoid playing favorites. You can give everyone the same gift to ensure you aren’t spending more money on one employee than the rest of the team. Otherwise, make sure each gift is approximately the same cost across the team. Don’t go overboard. 

Be Thoughtful

If you are choosing different gifts for each person, you should be thoughtful but not overly personal. Motivational or inspirational office posters are a good way to spruce up an office or a cubicle, while small desk items can offer a short brain break for your team. A gift that is too personal can make an employee uncomfortable. If you are questioning whether a prospective gift is too personal, it probably is. Instead, go for gifts such as mugs or desk items like small puzzles or plants. Keep the gifts neutral. 

Exchange with Friends in Private

If you have friends in the office, whether part of your team or not, give them personal gifts outside of work. You don’t want co-workers to feel excluded or wonder why you didn’t get them a gift. 

About Successories

“Success” is in Successories’ DNA. Through their corporate gifts, executive gifts, employee awards, and motivational posters, Successories helps organizations, teams, and clients succeed and honor remarkable achievements. Successories was founded more than 30 years ago and invented motivational posters for offices. Since then, they’ve expanded to offering everything from premium trophies and statues to custom drinkware and personalized watches. Whether you’re buying a gift for a specific professional occasion or are stocking up for the upcoming employee appreciation event, make Successories your choice.  

Shop Successories’ entire selection of motivational pieces and employee gifts at www.successories.com

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