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In this episode, Paul addressed a topic that is an important part of building and maintaining relationships in the workplace: Paul, with so many anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays throughout the year, how do I find an appropriate gift for my coworkers? What is good for an employee I don't know well? Is alcohol an appropriate gift? Paul segmented his answer into three categories of people that you might give gifts to: your boss, your coworkers, or people that work for you. Check out a summary of his response below.
The first to-do on your list should be to make sure you know your company's policies on giving gifts. While most places do allow you to do it, some companies do not allow gift exchanges. This is also important if you're considering alcohol as a gift. You'll want to see if your company's policies specifically address the issue. While you're at it, check if alcohol is allowed on the premises.
When possible, pair up with somebody or make it a team endeavor. If you give a gift and your coworkers do not, you run the risk of making them look bad or making them think you're brown nosing. Having everyone pitch in may avoid that problem. Another tip is to keep the gifts impersonal and not too extravagant. People might have some misconceptions about their bosses' compensation and expectations. Yet, a big gift may actually make your bosses uncomfortable instead.
We typically have more coworkers than bosses and this presents its own set of challenges. But making your gifts thoughtful yet impersonal is still the best method to follow. For those who may think a little more highly of another coworker, this is not the time to be extravagant. It will just make your situation awkward. Stay within your budget. Also, keep in mind that gifts should be implied and you should never assume any gift exchanges, as that will only lead to disappointment.
An important tip to keep in mind when giving gifts to your employees is to be fair. If you give an employee that you think very highly about a nice gift, make sure you treat another employee that you may not think very highly about the same or similar. You do not want to be called out for favoritism in a managerial role. As a manager, your company might also have a different set of rules for giving gifts. Make sure you are knowledgeable about it.
Again, whether giving alcohol is appropriate or not will depend on your company's policy and also the person who will be receiving it. It can be a classy gift, but you have to make sure you really know who you're giving it to. Be respectful of what other people think or have. They may have a religious belief that avoids alcohol or personal issues. It's your responsibility to know the person, know your company, know the situation, and then read that well.
Otherwise, gift cards are safe and easy options for people that you do not know well. Keeping it universal may help. For example, a grocery card rather than a card to a specific restaurant that you don't know if your coworker likes. Also, a gas gift card can be a great option if you know that someone commutes to work by car.
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