Usually, people exchange gifts on different occasions or to express their feelings towards others. In recent years, the role of gift exchange in social relations has changed a lot. In fact, it has received a lot of attention because of the dependency of the inferior on the superior. In the context of social relation, if a superior accepts gifts or favor from an inferior in the form of a “voluntarily gift” then the superior is under obligation to reciprocate in some way. However, if the gift is given involuntarily then the superior is under no obligation.
Gift Exchanging Ethics Between Superior And Inferior
In an office environment, a superior includes the immediate boss and other bosses above the immediate boss. The gift exchanging ethics say you can’t give, make a donation to, or ask for contributions for a gift to your bosses. The same goes for the employees also. An employee cannot accept a gift from another employee who earns less pay. However, if the person giving the gift is not a subordinate or has a personal relationship with the gift recipient then a superior can accept a gift from an inferior.
Instances When You Can Give Your Superior A Gift
You can give your superior a gift on occasions where gifts are exchanged traditionally. For example, birthday, Christmas, after a vacation trip, office celebration party, etc. While choosing a gift for your boss, don’t give an expensive gift, as well as avoid giving cash as a gift. You can contribute money if a group of employees is dining together or celebrating something. Moreover, you can give your Superior a Gift. If your boss invites you to his or her home then you should take a gift that you will normally take to anyone else’s home for a similar occasion.
You can also give a gift to your superior on the occasion of personal significance, such as marriage, illness, birth, or adoption. You can also present a gift to your boss on an occasion that ends your employee-boss relationship, such as retirement, resignation, or transfer. In this type of situation, you should pick a thoughtful gift. You don’t have to give an expensive gift but the gift should be reasonable in relation to the specific occasion. For these types of special events, you are allowed to ask for contributions of nominal amounts from fellow employees. Though this is a voluntary contribution, most of the employees participate in it. However, the boss can’t pressure his employees to give a gift, or to contribute toward a gift, to anyone.
Gifts That Are Allowed Between Employees
Different types of gift items are allowed to give superior or other employees depending on the occasion. For example, you can collect small voluntary contributions from other employees in your office in order to buy a cake to celebrate the birthday of your superior or co-worker. You can participate in the exchange of gifts at the office holiday party with your supervisor or co-workers. Moreover, you can give your boss a fishing rod and tackle box for his retirement party. So it is quite clear that you can give a gift to your boss when the occasion is not violating the office gift exchange policy. You can give any time of gift item as long as it is thoughtful.
Gift-Giving Policies For The Workplace
Every office has gift-giving policies and all the employees have to follow them strictly. Gift-giving policies ensure that the office environment remains intake the relationship between the superior and inferior remain professional. The gift-giving policies differ from office to office and in some offices, there are no policies. One of the common gift-giving policies among the offices is the dollar limitation on gifts that employees can accept from coworkers or outsiders including vendors and clients. Some offices have policies that prohibit supervisors from accepting gifts from subordinates while other offices have policies where you have to report to the CEO for gifts of significant value. HRhero conducted a survey among the employees of different offices and some of the significant employee responses are:
1. “Secret Santa” gifts are allowed among employees who want to participate
2. Gifts from clients that can be shared with others in the office are acceptable
3. Employees are not allowed to accept gifts from vendors unless the gift is something like holiday cookies
4. Nothing valued at more than $25 from a customer, vendor, or other third parties can be accepted by an employee
5. Gifts are allowed but “significantly expensive ones” must be reported to HR
6. Guidelines say no gifts can be solicited, and only gifts of minimal value, such as inexpensive cups or pens, can be accepted
7. Gifts such as fruit baskets are to be shared with a workgroup or donated
8. No cash or gift cards can be accepted
9. Gifts are limited to small-dollar value, and some gifts from vendors are shared in drawings with employees
10. Employees wishing to participate can bring gifts not to exceed $25 and then be given a ticket so they can select a gift at the holiday party. No one-to-one gift exchanges are allowed
11. Employees are prohibited from receiving gifts from customers or vendors when the gift is valued at more than $50
12. Any gift over $100 must be reported
13. Any gift of a greater value than $10 must be returned or donated to the organization
14. Another employer reported that there’s no policy and the subject has never been an issue
So, if you want to give a gift to your boss or co-workers then you should communicate your gifts and office policies to employees and others you do business with. Moreover, you should also consider the ethical implications before giving and receiving gifts. Finally, you should respect your co-workers with different cultures and different gift-giving norms.