Business gift etiquette is usually very well documented within your company’s policies and procedures. If you reference those (or ask your Human Resources representative), they will be able to give you specific guidelines as to what is and is not allowed to give and receive. These rules are usually in place so that employees can not accept “bribes” from companies wishing to do business with them, or be accused of tipping the scale in their favor if they are hoping to do business with some other company and give a representative there a gift.
If you own your own business and do not have any business gift etiquette guidelines set up, it’s a good idea to set them up now! A gift can help or hurt your working relationship, so it is important to understand the basics. First, check with the recipient’s company to find out their gift policy. You do not want to cause uneasiness if they are forced to return a gift to you. You should never give anything too personal, offensive or romantic, no matter how well you think you know the person and get along with them. After you give them an inappropriate present, you may find you don’t “get along with them” anymore. It is better to err on the side of caution to keep everything professional. Do a little research to find a gift the recipient will value. High quality food baskets or flower bouquets go over the best and are widely appreciated. Remember, this gift represents your company, so if you give a cheesy, cheap gift, that is how your company will be viewed! Around the holidays, if you are going to send cards, make sure they are not religious or geared towards any one group. A simple, “Seasons’ Greetings” will do nicely.
Photo: 123rf/Viorel Sima