The etiquette of making presents is one of the most complicated matter in business. Most organizations imply clear rules, regulating this practice, in order to prevent any kinds of misapprehension. There can be various kinds of professional business presents – from food and wine and up to convenient business card holders, porte-monnaie or office supplies.
If you’ve decided to make a business present, make sure that it’s not too personal. Be careful with humorous presents. Extravagant presents are extremely dangerous strategy and sometimes it’s the sign of bad taste.
What is “a present for the boss”?
In the business world, presents are a symbolic way to demonstrate gratitude. If the business in question is an international one, you should study not only the company policy and internal etiquette, but also the customs of your boss’s native country. Global companies are influenced by various cultures and religions.
Some companies introduce the price limit for received presents. When the present contains gourmet food, drinks and sweets, it’s necessary to have a good understanding of religious and dietary limitations:
• In the Muslim world, alcohol, as well as products made of pork and poultry are unacceptable; shellfish is also forbidden.
• Judaism forbids pork and shellfish.
• In the Hindu culture, cow is a sacred animal; therefore you should avoid products containing beef.
The tradition of making presents differs greatly from country to country.
• In Japan, presents are a charitable act towards the poor ones.
• In Norway and Brazil, luxurious presents from employees or strangers are treated as bribe.
• In Portugal, even the most expensive gifts are considered to be the sign of mutual respect, but not an attempt to bribe.
• In Costa-Rica and many others Latin American countries, one should be very careful when making precious presents to a female colleague or boss, in order to avoid misunderstanding.
• In some countries, presents of the certain colors are considered to be offensive.
• In Italy, it’s easy to find out about the boss’s family and personal preferences, and a present, accompanied by a letter with assurances about long choosing of the present especially for the dearest boss, will bind the relations between the boss and the subordinate for a long time. The recipient will see the real value in this care, and business relation will prosper. On the contrary, the Austrians conduct business without personal relations.
To solve the problem of demonstrating sincere gratitude to the boss or a wish to cave in, in the year 1958 in the USA Boss’s Day was registered. The idea was adopted by many countries outside America, in order to give each employee an opportunity to make a small gift or present a postcard to their boss. In business communities of the developed countries, making presents on other days or without a solid reason is considered to be bad manners. Boss’s day is celebrated on the 16th of October, but if this date is a weekend day, this holiday is transferred to the nearest working day.
How to solve the problem of choosing presents for the boss?
Making presents is considered to be the sign of respect, is always appreciated and can help to strengthen the relations with the boss and within staff members. A business present is a powerful tool. A carefully chosen present can tie up relations; however, a mistake made in estimation a would-be present can harm your career. When looking for a gift, you should consider the boss’s personality and hobbies – if he has a sense of humor and adventurous spirit, if he likes to spend time outdoors and go in for sports or he has other passions, such as books, photography or collecting?
An extravagant present, received personally from one of the employees, can put the boss in an awkward position. An employee, who buys a luxurious present for the boss independently of other staff members, in the eyes of other employees looks like a common toady.
Employees, who want to demonstrate their gratitude to the boss, choose to make group presents. Participation in making a group present eliminates the awkward element and enables to express the real respect from the staff members and to present a valuable gift.
Humorous gifts are popular in large companies. They express gratitude and mutual trust, and grant a day of joy for the employees and the boss. The main factor is to remain tactful and don’t destroy the outer moat.