Contributor: Katie Karpinski
The holiday season: you love it, you hate it. You hate to love it. It’s a time of generosity, compassion, and downright merriment. However, it’s also a time of obligation, expectation, and hassle. Gift giving is, perhaps, one of the most stressful elements of the holidays. We are not only pressured to find the perfect gift for the various people in our life, but we are also faced with the decision of who to exchange gifts with. This pressure is even more pronounced within the business setting. Exchanging gifts at work can be dangerous territory. Not only can the politics of the workplace cause some gift giving drama, but as professionals we have to make sure that all gift giving is ethical and appropriate.
Now, ethics policies change from workplace to workplace, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to make sure all your gifts are guilt-free!
1. You should always consult your company’s ethics policy. There may be a policy or rule already in place and you need to honor that policy.
2. If your company doesn’t have a policy in place, consult your own ethical code or moral compass. In this case, it may be good idea to examine your expectations or intentions for giving someone a gift. If the expectation is to receive something in return, then chances are your gift isn’t a truly ethical decision.
3. It’s always important to think about the person you are giving the gift to. Are they a supervisor? Subordinate? Colleague? Are they someone you do direct business with like a client or potential prospect? Keeping these roles and dynamics in mind is very important when gift giving, as you don’t want your actions to be perceived as a bribe or form of coercion.
4. If you do decide to give a gift, make sure it is appropriate. Just as you need to be cautious of who you give gifts too, it’s also important to give them a proper and reasonable gift. This may vary from person to person, but always be sure to give a gift that is appropriate for your relationship.
Following this process for ethical gift giving is sure to make your holiday season a little less stressful and much more enjoyable!