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FEATURE: GIFT GIVING
Not everyone will celebrate Christmas, of course, and Johns says it is
important to embrace diversity throughout the year. “Look at other dates of
cultural importance. Organisations that are forward thinking have various
cultural days where people might bring in a plate of food to recognise their
heritage or festival.”
It’s not just Secret Santas that can cause HR Noël nightmares – general
Christmas gift giving between staff can be a grey area too. Maybe the boss
has generously given a meal voucher to each team member, except for Helen
from accounts, who he butts heads with – she got a McDonald’s voucher.
Or Paul from marketing, who has given the short-sighted IT guy with an
unfortu nately large nose a set of Groucho glasses.
Ellis recently dealt with similar complaints which stayed out of court,
but led to thorough investigations nonetheless. “We had a manager with a
relatively new secretary – she was young, only about 20 or so – and he gave
her a primary school book on grammar and spelling,” Ellis recalls.
“A nother client said the fact that they paid for overseas holidays as a gift
to one of their employees meant they didn’t have to pay the minimum wage.”
Again, Riekert recommends having a policy. “Some employers don’t allow
supervisory people or managers to give their subordinates gifts and some
have a policy that works the other way around,” he says. “That obviously is
because of potential nepotism, favouritism or trying to influence conduct.”
A third problem arises around gift giving between companies or clients.
Government departments and many businesses have policies set out in black
and white. Some stipulate all gifts received in the course of employment
belong to the employer, while others say gifts above a certain dollar value
have to be declared or forfeited. Many workplaces require management
approval for gifts to external parties.
To avoid becoming the Grinch who stole Christmas, send out a reminder
of these policies ahead of the silly season. Hillen also suggests coming up
with a solution that doesn’t label you as Scrooge.
“Some workplaces will put gifts in a pool and divide them up at the end
of the year. I’ve worked where they’ve used them as raffle prizes at the
Christmas lunch and the money that was raised went to charity.”
With important and sometimes delicate business relations at stake, it’s a
good idea to coach your staff on how to respond to gifts they can’t accept.
“You need to look for gracious exit strategies without damaging the
relationship or someone’s ego,” Dalla- Camina says. “You might say, ‘ We’re
not allowed to accept gifts, but let’s go and have a nice lunch together,’ or
‘I can’t accept this personally, but would you mind if I share it with my
colleagues?’ That’s a good way to ensure your peers don’t get jealous.”
With all these HR hurdles, surely workplace gift giving is the last thing
you want to inflict on you rself? Why not just cancel Christmas? Giving gifts
has plenty of benefits. Susan Nicholson, a psychologist from organisational
psychology consultancy Mentors, says that research shows we get more
pleasure and happiness from giving than receiving.
“The field of positive psychology clearly advises people that if they want
to enhance their own happiness, then giving is important.” It also promotes
cooperation, goodwill, trust and pleasure.
Good team-building gifts can be an afternoon at the beach, team
adventure sports or a spa package. “It’s all about the camaraderie and giving
people time away from the workplace and recognition,” Johns says.
Sports the same suit jacket he wore
to his internship inter view in 1976
and refuses to type with more than
two index fingers. Get his hands
moving with a retro 1930s Bullet
THE EARTH MOTHER:
Calm and collected. No office task
compares to the hell she went
through raising three feral boys. A
Citrus Zinging water bottle will help
keep her cool, not that she needs it.
THE TRAIN WRECK:
Even the friendliest “Good morning”
from the boss sends this ner vous
Nelly/Ned into a jitter y mess. Keep
them calm and take their mind off
things with an adult colouring book.
Your of fice tittle-tattle loves to
spill the beans on your colleagues’
secrets. Maybe a set of binoculars
or opera glasses would focus their
THE CLEAN FREAK:
Spends conversations at your
desk eyeballing the grime on your
keyboard. Also responsible for the
passive-aggressive notes in the
kitchen. Enable their infuriatingly tidy
ways with a Desk Vacuum.
Always manages to leave the pub
mysteriously before it’s their shout.
A lottery ticket should hammer the
message home.... As long as they
Wastes their weekends slaying
dragons with a mouse and eating
fast food. Internet wizards and
dwar ves might not be your thing,
but at least you can help them with
OFFICE (AND GENDER) STEREOTYPES
AND THE GIF TS YOU WANT TO GIVE THEM (BUT PROBABLY WON’T)
19/11/2015 3:11 pm
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