Gifts in the Workplace

Showing Your Appreciation Appropriately

Gifts in the Workplace

Gift giving can be a sensitive subject in the workplace.

© iStockphoto/Tay0527

It's the holiday time again and you've been put in charge of organizing gifts. Specifically, your company wants you to choose gifts for everyone on your team, as well as for your most important clients and suppliers.

Immediately, however, you run into some dilemmas. For instance, are you supposed to reward the most productive members of the team with a higher quality gift, or should everyone's gift be the same?

It's even trickier to choose gifts for your firm's clients. One client in particular is thinking about awarding your organization a significant project in the next few weeks. Your boss has already hinted that the gift for this client should be given special consideration.

Would this gift be seen as a bribe? Could you or your firm get into legal trouble over corporate gift giving? And is there a risk that you could be held personally responsible?

Giving gifts in the workplace is an issue that's fraught with potential ethical and legal problems. On the one hand, giving gifts is universally recognized as a way of saying "thank you" for hard work and repeat business. But on the other hand, there's a very fine line between a gift and a bribe; and it can be confusing to understand what's acceptable (and taxable) in another organization, or in another country of operation.

In this article we'll examine the dos and don'ts of corporate gift giving, and offer comments on the proper etiquette to follow when choosing workplace gifts.

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