The etiquette of making presents for the boss
The general rule of the business etiquette sounds as follows: the boss shouldn’t expect presents from his subordinates even on his birthday, but for the employees it’s acceptable to express their respect to the boss in a decent and moderate form. There should be nothing personal about the present, for example, no clothes or underwear.
The business and professional etiquette of making presents recommends consider the company’s policy, related to this matter, as well as national traditions and the peculiarities of the boss’s personality and his hobbies.
In some countries, business presents are unacceptable regardless the occasion. In other countries, there are certain conditions, limiting packing or the present’s price. Also there are certain conditions, when a business present is considered appropriate:
• Finishing a project in the company;
• Career advancement, promotion;
• Wedding, birthday or delivery of a child;
• New order, major client, profitable year;
• National or state holidays.
How to choose an appropriate present for the boss?
Usually the boss, whose salary is definitely higher, makes presents to his subordinates, but not vice versa – this is the etiquette. But in some cases, respect may allow to break the rules.
At the same time, you should keep the backtoast rule in mind – your boss will have to answer with a sophisticated or expensive gift for the whole team. Therefore, you should observe reasonable limits when making a present, which should be appropriate within the borders of official relations. Here the examples of appropriate business presents:
• A fruit basket,
• A box or a set of sweets,
• A bunch of flowers,
• A scarf or a tie,
• A leather briefcase,
• A book by the boss’s favorite author,
• Tickets for public events, concerts, presentations and shows,
• Office collections.
Presents for the boss in no way should contain intimate clothes, expensive perfume and jewelries. You should always avoid penetrating the private space or presenting items, which can be misinterpreted as bribe or offence. There is a certain range of presents, which are appropriate for the boss:
• Desk accessories – uncommon or designer press-papier, frames, letter openers, small sculptures, computer accessories;
• Conservative ties or a valet;
• Inexpensive accessories for the hobby;
• Food – fruit baskets, cookies, bakery and sweets, which the boss can share with his colleagues;
• Engraving on the key ring;
• Gift certificates for restaurants, cinemas, fitness clubs or local exhibitions and presentations.
What present to choose for the boss, if…
It’s quite a difficult task, to choose a worthy present for the boss on a special occasion, in case there are no established holidays, for example, Easter or New Year. The general principles for choosing a present for the boss of any level are the rules of etiquette; also you should keep in mind the list of presents that shouldn’t be given to the boss. There are certain taboos in the business etiquette of choosing presents for the boss. All over the world, it is unacceptable to make presents on certain dates and include the following into presents for the boss:
• Alcohol, even if it is extremely expensive and upscale;
• Perfume, underwear or expensive jewelry;
• Make presents for your boss on St. Valentine’s Day;
• Personal presents with gender or intimate undertone.
One more difficulty is various religions and nationalities. Usually, in such cases the common norms of the country are used – sweets for Christmas, cakes for Easter.
• When choosing a small sign of gratitude and recognition of the talent of a female boss, you should prioritize correctly. Gender identity can be manifested only through selecting sweets and flowers. As for the rest, the boss is the boss, and you shouldn’t put her in an awkward position.
• For an active lifestyle or a hobby you can present your favorite boss the things he dreams of buying. It can be a high quality spinning for a fisherman, a set of genuine brushes for a fan of watercolor landscapes, rare seedlings for gardeners, a guide book regarding the hobby or a special camera belt for a photographer. The present will help to develop his interests and will remind of the staff members.
• When having free time, many people enjoy reading, and bosses of any level are no exception. However, every person has his own passion – fiction, classics, poetry, adventures and many others. A digital electronic book reader has long ago become a common and habitual office item, familiar even to school children. But still, it is a pleasant present for book lovers.
• If the boss is obsessed with his achievements or the present is related to the companies jubilee, you should use your creativity. A worthy option is a framed print publishing of the map, indicating the sales territory, a catalogue with the best product samples, a book about the company’s history with employees’ signatures on the shared photo.
Recommendations on choosing presents
Almost every business culture all over the world has customs and traditions of making presents. A present for the boss implies a bulk of moral and ethical restrictions, certain timing and reasonable price limits. Moreover, staff members should be sure that no one will consider their presents to be bribes. There are several stages of choosing the present, enabling to reach the right decision:
• Identification: the business etiquette is the set of guidelines, enabling to make presents for traditional holidays or in relation to business activity.
• Advantages: it is necessary to avoid connection between the present and the working relations between staff members in order not to destroy the general morale of employees.
• Peculiarities: the key requirement for a business present is the gender-neutral approach and adequacy to the business and living standards. You should check twice if his name is spelled correctly and if the present corresponds to the boss’s habits – a basket of fruit is inappropriate for a diabetic.
• Fixed budget: a present shouldn’t be worth a fortune, but must bring sense or support an idea. Don’t buy an expensive item that will be met with raised eyebrows.
• The acts of mutual respect require small courtesies, for example, a greeting postcard. More important events, such as birthdays, require a more expensive present. Not all the presents require responses – for example, if it is a sign of gratitude for promotion or payrise.
• Timing: the presents for the boss, which are made on non-working holydays or on weekends, make an impression of some hidden motives.
• Provocative acts: there are employees who know everything. You should’t use unverified or false information for making the present.
The meaning and price of the present should correspond to the salaries level – this is related both to personal and collaborative gifts. Sometimes an expensive item can be appropriate for a certain case or circumstances, but an extremely extravagant present will create difficulties and confusion, when the boss won’t be able to return the compliment. Regardless the culture applicable to your business, in order to develop more comfortable business relations within the team, the etiquette strictly forbids collective celebrations in the office of any events except for business successes.This can be made only in neutral environment.
The customs of making presents vary from culture to culture. In a common small company or in an international conglomerate, you should respect and appreciate the boss, employees and your own contribution in the general business. The collaborative approach to making presents is considered the most appropriate and collective choosing of the gift enables to avoid unpleasant stories and gossips.
When giving the gift to the boss, you should remember that all the employees are present at the office and the working day supposes efficient use of time, appropriate behavior and business needs. Of course, everyone is eager to see the boss’s reaction, when he will open the carefully chosen present in front of the staff. But this should be discussed with the boss beforehand, who will find time for in during lunchtime or after work.