Eight (8) Tips for Gift Giving at Work
Today is time to start planning your holiday shopping list. Ultimately you want to thank the people who have helped advance your career by sending an appropriate gift that expresses your gratitude and makes a lasting impression. Here are some tips to help you make your holiday shopping a cinch.
Making a List
The first task is to consider who should be included on your gift list. From clients and colleagues to support staff and bosses, you may want to consider an A and B list. The As are the people to whom you absolutely, positively must give a gift in fact, they pretty much expect it. These are your top clients, your administrative assistant and anyone who has played a big role in making you look good. Those on your B-list are runners-up for a token of your appreciation, should you be lucky enough to all your fortune on the A-list.
"No Gifts Please"
Before sending gifts to people outside your company, make sure their firm allows employees to receive gifts. These days many companies have implemented very restrictive gift policies some set dollar value maximums, others outright prohibit gifts. To avoid an uncomfortable situation for you and the recipient, call the company's HR office to inquire if such a policy exists.
Choosing the perfect gift for a business contact is sometimes harder than picking the perfect tie for dad. "Whether you choose the latest gadget or a classic desk accessory, it's important to choose a gift with the recipient in mind," notes Terry Keating, vice president of development for e-corporategifts.com, a comprehensive Web site that offers a large selection of name-brand business and corporate gifts in a variety of price ranges. "Classic office items like portfolios, clocks and picture frames are always a safe bet. Fine small leather goods will also make a positive impression." Always ask yourself "Would I use or appreciate the gift?" before making your final selection.
Because of varying religious and personal beliefs, Keating suggests that gifts should be somewhat holiday-generic. Many of his firm's customers steer clear of items that have any type of religious or holiday theme.
One of the newest trends in corporate gift-giving is personalizing items with the recipient's name or initials. Keating mentioned that one company recently placed a huge order for leather portfolios, each personalized with the client's first and last names. "This year everybody seems to want to personalize items with initials and names instead of company logos. Laser-engraved wood picture frames and clocks with a person's name make really beautiful and memorable gifts."
Food for Thought
Keating also notes that "you can never go wrong with food items for individual or group gifts. Dessert items are always really big." Erase the visions of carb-counting office staff throwing away gifts of cookies and cakes. Keating says that while his company offers low-cal and low-carb dessert options, few actually order them. "Concerns about fat and carbs go right out the door during the holidays. People love giving and receiving tasty treats like Mrs. Field's cookies and Ghirardelli chocolates."
Closeouts and clearance sales can be tempting, but beware of dead batteries, cheap construction and spoiled goods. If you want to make a lasting impression, make sure it's a positive one. Whatever you give, invest in high-quality, brand name items and be sure to buy from reputable firms that offer product guarantees.
"Companies and individuals are starting earlier this year. Many want their items to be delivered prior to Thanksgiving. That increases the chance that their gift will be remembered, rather than lost in the sea of cards and items received in December," notes Keating.
The best way to make an impression is to send a personal note or message with the gift. "Seasons Greetings from Acme" is way too generic. So are business cards tucked inside a gift. Keating's company allows purchasers to include a personalized message with every gift. "Tailoring a message of thanks that's personal and heartfelt goes a long way in building long-term relationships." Handwritten notes on stationery or holiday cards signed by you and/or your team are also meaningful.
Sources : http://www.careerbuilder.com
Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Other CareerBuilder writers contributed to this story.