If you’re planning to give your staff, vendors, or your clients gifts this season, think twice before you do. Many businesses make these blunders, which are completely avoidable.
Giving an Inappropriate Gift
You may not think there’s anything inappropriate about giving a fluffy robe and bath oils to your client or employee — of the opposite sex —but he might raise an eyebrow. If the gift can in any way be construed as inappropriate, avoid it like the plague.
Instead…aim for “safe” gifts. Candles, Starbucks gift cards, food…these are all generally well-received and won’t put you at risk of losing a client or have a sexual harassment case brought against you!
Giving a Gift to Someone Who Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas
It may be easy to assume everyone celebrates Christmas, but there are plenty of Americans who instead celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, don’t celebrate Christmas, and may be offended if you try to give them a gift. If possible, make sure your gift will be well received.
Instead…don’t center your message around “Christmas” but rather “Season’s Greetings.” This will serve as a better blanket for all holidays celebrated this time of year.
Giving Unwanted Food Items
Whether it’s giving a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic or a box of cookies to someone’s who’s gluten intolerant, food gifts are rife with possible problems. If you know an employee loves Irish Cream, by all means, give it as a gift. But you’re safer steering clear if you’re not certain.
Instead…give healthier food options, like a box of fresh fruit, or gourmet olive oil or spreads.
Giving Cash to Clients or Vendors
Sometimes companies have rules about what employees can and can’t accept as gifts. For example, FedEx drivers can accept gifts valued up to $75, but not cash.
Clients may find it inappropriate to accept cash as a gift. A gift card can be a good replacement, but avoid general Visa or Mastercard cash cards and aim for one that is good for something your client can benefit from, like his favorite restaurant.
Instead… rather than handing your favorite delivery guy an envelope of twenties, spend those on something he can use, like a warm hat and gloves.
Giving Too Big a Gift
Clients may become uncomfortable if you over splurge on them. A client who’s only been with you a few months and only spent $100 with you will likely feel strange if you spend $500 on them.
Instead…look at how long each client has been with you and what they’ve spent with your company, and set pricing tiers so that you stay in line with this with your budget.
Paying attention to the message you send along with your gift can keep you from offending a client, vendor, or employee.