Essential Holiday Gift-Giving Etiquette for Clients and Employees: CSS Holiday Blog Series (Part 1/3)

Take the stress and anxiety out of gift-giving in your work sphere this holiday season with these tips to flatter your clients and reward your employees.  

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Ring in the holiday gifting season  


Alas, the avalanche of holiday season hubbub is upon us once again, and with its arrival comes holiday gift planning. To many, gifting causes anxiety over who should get what and why. However, if approached with sincere appreciation and gratitude in mind, gifting to employees and clients can warm hearts while sweetening business relationships internally and externally.  


With the shift to digital gifting following the explosion of eCommerce, there’s never been an easier time to personalize holiday packages. Make sure you express gratitude for those reliable ten-year clients and your new hires with thoughtful holiday gifts. The dos and don’ts of holiday gifting vary for clients and employees, so be sure to apply these tips accordingly when filling shopping carts.  


Take full advantage of this opportunity to spread cheer and happiness this season; Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” found that happy employees displayed heightened engagement leading to 37% more sales.

“Recognition fosters happiness, and there’s no better way to recognize those who’ve worked hard for and with you over the past year than with a thoughtful gift,” says Ashlei Randolph, CSS Organizational Development Director

Here are the most important holiday gifting guidelines for your employees and clients.  


Personalize the gift as much as possible  


Nothing pops out of a box like the pleasant surprise of a personalized gift. While this may not be practical to do for every client, make sure you take extra care to personalize gifts for your most-valued partners. The gift may arrive during the holiday season, but a unique present shows you’ve been listening and engaged with your client all year.  


Another factor to consider, especially when giving food or drink, is whether your clients or employees are allergic to or dismissive of particular foods. Gifting someone who is lactose-intolerant a box of rich milk chocolates or sending an expensive bottle of wine to someone who practices temperance shows neglegence.  


Try to avoid branded gifts  


Avoid sending out those company jackets or thermoses during the holiday season, as branded items gifted during the holidays are seen more as marketing than appreciation. Yes, everyone involved understands there is a bit of underlying intent on continuing business, but a big logo on a quarter-zip sweater says, “look, we make sweaters now! Represent our brand at your holiday party!”  


This goes for internal employee gifting as well; direct reports should have enough company swag provided throughout the year for marketing and company identity-building purposes. Another branded item gift seems lazy and thoughtless to employees, so be sure to recognize them with unique gifts as well.  


Don’t overdo it  


Like gifting branded material, over-gifting makes your client uncomfortable and makes you look overbearing and at worst, desperate. Thoughtfulness trumps opulence in the case of client gifting. Think of gifting to clients as extending the momentum of a successful year with a tasteful gift as opposed to trying to build momentum with an excessive gift to offset a down year.  


Treat all your employees equally 


Make sure you keep employee gifting fair and equitable across the board. Holiday gifting should never be mixed with promotional prizes for standout performances. The idea of holiday gifting is inclusive and equal, and there’s no better way to alienate employees than by placing different values on their gifts. Uneven gifting breeds contempt among direct reports who see it as playing favorites.  


Plan ahead for delivery time  


Once you’ve established good ethics of gifting during the holidays, it’s time to address logistics. Odds are you have at least some employees if not full teams or offices not near your headquarters, so be sure to plan for national and sometimes international mailing options. Gifts received after the holidays due to poor logistical planning make employees and clients feel like afterthoughts with the assumption that others received their gifts on time.  


Make sure you have the correct mailing addresses 


It’s one thing if a gift is late, but a whole other if it never arrives at all. Triple-check your internal records to make sure your employee and client addresses are up to date with all requisite information for accurate delivery. Asking clients and employees “oh, and did you like the scented candle collection we sent over?” doesn’t go over well if you sent it to a vacant or outdated address, and again shows negligence.  


Hand-written note  


A best practice that’s stood the test of time and will continue to stand out is the hand-written letter. There’s just something personal about a note that took the time to hand-write, seal, stamp, and send the old-fashioned way. It’s more organic than a digital e-card and shows clients and employees alike that you took the time to make the trip to the post office, or at the very least to the mailbox.  


Sometimes a tangible item isn’t necessary at all  


2022 hasn’t been lucrative for every business. Many have fallen on hard times, and many holiday budgets have been slashed affecting internal and external gifting. If this is the predicament you and your company find yourselves in, there’s still an acknowledgment to give without spending. Reaching out with a personal phone call to extend best wishes and check in with clients and employees on a personal level gives those on the other end of the line the feeling that they’re thought about. Sometimes the best gifts are one’s money can’t buy.  


A few places to start your gifting journey  


Gifting isn’t easy and finding a service with as much variety as your employee and client pool is like using five different internal CRMs when you could use one. Luckily, there are a plethora of all-inclusive options to choose from to streamline and personalize your gifting.  


Clove & Twine 

Uncommon Goods 

The Grommet 


Blue Board 


Personalization Mall  

Amazon Shopping   


Partner with Contemporary Staffing Solutions to build your dream team or land your dream job in 2023 


The holiday season stretches bandwidth thin from your sales consultants to CEOs, so partner with CSS to handle your hiring planning and execution into 2023. The talent experts of the Professional Staffing Group, CSS ProSearch, CSS Tec, Peergenics, and CSSvSource provide the best and brightest employees and managers across a range of functions. These include Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, Mortgage, Sales & Marketing, Information Technology, and Salesforce Staffing, Consulting & Project Implementation. Connect with CSS today to prepare a hiring plan for 2023 and beyond!