On gifting at the workplace

I think I’ve mentioned this elsewhere in the blog, but it’s bears yet another mention — I suck at gifting. And I don’t even try, which isn’t a great thing to be boast about as my family, friends and colleagues at the workplace would agree.

One aspect that confuses me the most is the culture of gifting at the workplace. It’s mostly prevalent in small organisations, so, most people can relate — it’s a sweet gesture but there’s no way you’re going to get it right all the time. Partly because this isn’t something where expectations should be managed. I mean, come on! It’s a gift. It’s got to be generous, right?

And that’s the sad part — budgets almost always get in the way of generosity. The result is a gift that doesn’t mean anyone’s expectations. Worse, it’s sub-standard, leaving everyone feeling disappointed and hopeless.

The fix is pretty easy. Just go big or don’t bother at all! A great thing about going big is that you don’t have to go bigger with each passing year. Come up with an amount per person you’re comfortable with — something that’s generous, that will make you a bit more than uncomfortable — and make a decision. The options are endless. All you need to do is think is what would your team deeply appreciate?

Sure, if nothing comes to your mind, cash would do too but often that’s not the point. You want to make them feel special. It’s a token of appreciation. Throwing a wad of cash is what their uncle would do. Not you. (Unless, you are one!)

You can endlessly argue or theorise about the pros and cons of gifting at the workplace or worse, obsess over costs, price per person or budgets. Instead, take a step back and think about the act of being generous. I believe gifting is a great gesture that goes a long way in building deeper relationships. That’s the kind of ROI that’s unbeatable!

While I fundamentally suck at gifting, I do believe that at the workplace, being generous is the only way to go. One should either go big without exception or just don’t bother.

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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