Holiday Gift Giving To Employees

A little thoughtfulness and sensitivity go a long way to preventing HR mishaps!

The holiday season is a time when business owners want to reward their employees with something a little extra.  Besides a holiday bonus, giving that “little something extra” often takes the form of parties and gifts. But beware!  Holiday gift-giving can quickly become an unintentional HR issue –so now is NOT the time to dismiss the idea of being politically correct. To avoid any potential Human Resource violations, here’s a review of some seasonal do’s and don’ts to assist you in preventing HR issues AND help you spread a little holiday cheer.

  • Store Gift Card [Online or Local] – The trickiest issue is to select a store that the employee is known to use. Whether the retailer is local or online, some employees will not shop at certain stores due to the company’s politics or stances on local issues. Or your employee only wants to support the “shop local” movement and does not frequent a big box store or national chain.
  • Restaurant Gift Card – Only give one of these if you know the employee is a frequent customer of that restaurant as restaurant gift cards can have time limitation, or your employee may not like the food or be able to eat there due to dietary restrictions.
  • Gift Basket of Goodies – These baskets are often filled with items from the company’s clients or from local shops. Downside is that some items may conflict with personal allergies, religious, or political beliefs. Keep in mind, the task of putting employee gift baskets together should not be placed on any personnel because it looks very impersonal and becomes a burden to whoever is tasked to put it together.
  • Electronic Gift – Android or Apple? FitBits, Alexa, Google, Ring doorbells, Kindle Fires, and virtual reality glasses are very hip and cool, but you’d better know what your employee prefers and if they want to be officially registered in the digital age.  These types of gifts should be given with gift receipts to they can be exchanged or returned.
  • Generic Gift Cash Card (Not attached to a specific store) – Highly recommended: The best part of a prepaid gift card is that it can be used anywhere. Specific gift cards to a pre-selected store may not be used because your employee may not have any interest in that store’s items.  A prepaid generic gift card will allow the employees to use wherever and however they choose. 

It’s the thought that counts!

Best Gift: A little sensitivity and common sense can go a long way towards inspiring goodwill among your employees. The above list is intended to help you, the employer, avoid HR complaints and navigate common potential gift-giving mistakes.  Whatever gesture you choose, the best gift is always a hand-written card from “the boss” that says, “I care and appreciate all you do for the company!”