When should you surprise your employees with a corporate gift?

What Occasion Calls for a Corporate Gift?

4 minutes


November 10th 2019
What Occasion Calls for a Corporate Gift? 1Renata Novak is a brand manager, digital marketer and content writer.


Believe it or not, Christmas holidays and end-of-year parties are not always the ideal times to surprise someone with a corporate gift. Depending on who the gift is for and why you’ve decided to give it to them, there’s lots of different ways to go about deciding on the perfect occasion. When it comes to business gifts, it’s completely natural to come across some difficulties, due to us not knowing the person well enough (a normal occurrence in the corporate world), or not having enough experience with gift-giving. Unfortunately, more often than not, the mistakes we unintentionally make come to haunt us later on in life.

In order to avoid silly little mishaps, here are some of the main things to keep in mind when deciding on the perfect time to show your appreciation for a business partner in the form of a gift.


Think About Why You’re Giving the Gift

Once you set your mind on actually sending the gift, then it is time for phase two. Think about the reason and the message behind the gift. Is your intention to thank your partner for a collaboration on a project? Or do you just want to congratulate them on surpassing a milestone they were trying to achieve? Whatever the reason, thinking about the why will help you make a choice when to gift it. (It may even be useful when deciding whether or not the gift-giving should take place in person.)

Gifts are usually given during Christmas time or at other holiday celebrations. While this is a safe bet, you might want to reconsider sticking to this age-old tradition. Although people normally already anticipate (or rather expect) gifts during this time, you don’t want to encourage it—should you ever decide against Christmas business gifts for whatever reason, you may cause your employees to bear you ill will. Instead, opt for parties at the end or beginning of the work season.

The purpose behind your gift may very well be an acknowledgement of an employee’s hard-working attitude and the results they bring in. Situations like these may inspire other people in your company to work harder and with more passion in the future (be careful, though—you don’t want to spark up jealousy or competitiveness between them).

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Consider Who You’re Giving the Gift to

The who is just as important as the why. Remember, corporate gifts are not necessarily intended for the promotion of your business, but to show your appreciation for those you work with. This is why it’s important to be close with the people in your company.

Here’s an example: let’s say you decide to give your most trusted employees a ‘Merry Christmas’ gift. Now, while your intentions may be pure and innocent, there is always a slight chance of you offending some of your workers. You see, not everyone celebrates Christmas, so a corporate gift in this scenario may come across as ignorance on your part. Therefore, make sure you know the person you’re giving the gift to–you want to avoid unnecessary conflict in the office. But this isn’t to say that gifts around Christmas time are completely out of the question! You can always customize it so it suits its purpose—there’s plenty of other celebrations around that time, such as Hanukkah or Kwanza. A gift without a certain theme, accompanied with a simple ‘happy holidays’ wish will do its job.

If you know the person well enough and you consider them a friend outside the office, you could surprise them on a more personal level. Not only can you decide to completely personalise the gift, but you can also pick a date that’s of a more personal nature. I’m talking days like birthdays, the birth of their child, weddings … You can even send them a get-well-soon gift if they’ve been hospitalised, or even offer you condolences if there has been a death in their family (be very delicate with this one, though). This way, they’ll know that they can count on you both inside and outside the work environment.


Avoid Sending Gifts at Inappropriate Times

My last and fairly short tip is to rule out any occasions that may diminish the idea behind your gift.  While freebies are something most of us would gladly accept no questions asked, there come situations where being a part of a gift exchange casts a shadow on your company.

Consider the following scenario: you’re on the verge of closing a deal with another entrepreneur, but they’re not completely sold on the idea. While a simple corporate gift may seem innocent at first, it can snowball into a big controversy. No matter what your intentions were, your business partner—or anyone else, for that matter—may take it the wrong way. If you think about it, it does come across as if you were trying to bribe them into signing the contract. That doesn’t look good on anyone, but especially not on you. For this reason, always double-check what kind of situation you’re in, and refrain from sending gifts if it could destroy your reputation.

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