It is a tradition, as well as a courtesy, that gifts are given between business partners, customers, employees, contractors, and many more people who continue to help your business run every day. That little something extra does go a long way to making your connections with people stronger. That little token may be only a dollar or two to you, but a gift is memorable.
There are a lot of questions asked about how to give gifts, what to give, and when to give them. There is an easy way to come up with creative gifts that everyone will love, as well as appropriate times when to give them out. Whether you are the owner of a business, an employee of high standing, or simply in charge of PR or HR departments, it is a good idea to learn the art of gift giving in a corporate setting.
Corporate Gift Giving Considerations
If you are not the CEO of the business, you should ask if there are any standard guidelines for giving gifts to coworkers, employees, clients or anyone else. There might be rules regarding the type of gift, how much you can spend and whom you might give gifts to. It is better to ask ahead.
So when is it appropriate to hand out gifts? Should it be for just Christmas? What about other holidays? Holidays are a good reason for giving out gifts, though there are other occasions where a gift might be appropriate.
Some of the first reasons we give gifts is to show appreciation. It could be to employees, to important clients, or to business partners. In turn, a congratulatory situation is often a good reason to give a gift. Such occasions could be for retirement, for a promoted employee, or a new baby or birthday. A considerate employer might also have a few smaller gifts available for those times you would like to motivate an employee for a difficult task. Perhaps give one to someone who is ill.
Giving gifts as a promotional tool is always a benefit. Use gift giving as a way to announce new services or simply remind customers and clients that you appreciate their business.
Does it always have to be for a special occasion? Of course not. If the business is doing well, why not share a little something with your employees and business partners? Showing appreciation for their hard work helps people to feel wanted, and encourages continued success.
Corporate Gift Ideas
Gift baskets are always a good idea. If you have a large group of people to give gifts to, and you don't always know their individual tastes, going with a traditional food fresh fruit basket is always great. Fruit will please everyone's palate.
Other gift ideas include general office supplies, such as pens, mouse pads, business card holders, clocks or a picture frame. Something memorable and still functional is always a good choice. This is an especially good gift for clients, partners and potential customers.
Giving gifts to your best clients is probable one of the first things people think about when it comes to corporate gift giving. Giving away a monogrammed pen set or letter opener is a very nice gesture. Remember, it doesn't have to have all of your contact information on the item in order for you to be remembered. Nor does it have to say anything promotional, like "Save Money, Buy From Us". Simply having your business name, perhaps your website address, on the item is enough for people to think about your company.
If you network with a few restaurants, consider adding gift certificates for places to eat that are local to your partners or employees. Other types of gift certificates are always acceptable as well. Car rental, flight, or hotel vouchers can be useful to marketing and sales departments, or any of your employees that are on the go.
Appropriate Gift Giving In Different Countries
If you are doing business in other countries, understand that it might not be the culture of the location to give gifts at all, or quite the opposite, that you are expected to give a gift. It is important to learn the culture of a country before attending such a business meeting. Here are a few examples:
England - Gifts are generally not exchanged. If you have brought one, try to give it to the person discreetly.
China - It used to be appropriate, but now it is considered bribery and can get you into trouble with authorities. This is another country where if you have a gift, give it privately to one person and don't give expensive gifts. In addition, the Chinese will deny your gift three times before accepting it.
Germany - Smaller types of gifts are appropriate. If you give a large gift, do so publicly.
There are other rules and regulations for each country. Be sure to do your research before doing business with anyone. Something as simple as handing over a pen and a business card in another country can be seen as a 'gift' and there are proper ways in handling such situations in every country.
Prep Gifts Early On
It is a good idea to have a set standard for gift giving prepared, especially if you have a rather large number of clients and employees. Keep a set of 'standard' gifts on hand for those spur-of-the-moment occasions, like people who are ill, or are facing a big and challenging project. Also, keeping well supplied with monogrammed gifts, like pens, clocks and gift cards, makes it easy to pass out to surprise guests that come by.
Also, for Christmas and other holiday traditions that require gift giving, be sure to send a reminder memo as to what your office standards are for gift giving. Make it easy for people to give gifts if they want to, though set a limit for people who might not be able to afford giving expensive gifts. Remember to include what isn't acceptable as well as offering suggestions to inexpensive gift ideas.
How To Save On Corporate Gifts
Yes, it can be a bit expensive giving so many gifts throughout the year. The best way to save on giving gifts is to plan early and know ahead of time what you want to give. Use vendors you have business connections to, or use the same vendor regularly as you might qualify for larger discounts or special offers as a repeat customer.
For items that are monogrammed, buy in bulk for now and the future. Restock when items get low. Again, use the same vendor to avoid misprinting problems and to gain discount. These items are so handy to keep around for those surprise visitors.
For gifts like fruit baskets and gift certificates or items that might expire, keep your vendor notified of when occasions are coming up so they can prepare and order supplies before the big event. Order as early as possible.
Gift giving is a practice that is special and really helps your company to stand out. Whether you are giving gifts to clients, customers or employees, your corporate gifts can encourage loyalty and trust. Keep it simple by planning early and have fun with it.
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