Ten points to consider about Team Gifts

At this time of year, many team leaders look for guidance and ideas for gifts to give their team members. This can be a bit of a mine field, for several reasons:

  • Determining an appropriate spending amount can be tricky. Too little and the manager can come off like a cheapskate. Too much and you can create embarrassment or discomfort.
  • What's appropriate? HR rules may restrict your choices (e.g. spending limits, "No alcohol," restricted themes, etc.)
  • What's fair? If you give everyone the same thing, you risk offending some and trivializing the gift (e.g., chocolates would be loved by some, loathed by diabetics or dieters). Giving different items to different employees can create jelousies. Also, what if you don't know them all well enough to give something personalized to each one?

Many managers find that a better solution is to give - or do - something that the whole team can enjoy together:  the gift of a special team experience. While it may not result in people bringing home a tangible object as a gift, it has many other benefits:

  • Your team will have fun, fond memories to share for years to come. You'd be amazed at how conversations can go after a particularly fun event - and build into solid working relationships in the future.
  • You'll be recognized as an innovative boss with great ideas, having found and hosted a really fun team event.
  • For those who "have too much stuff," you avoid cluttering their lives (or cubicles) with more trinkets they won't use.
  • You avoid all of the problems noted above.
  • It can help bring the team together as a pleasant bonding experience. There's plenty of evidence supporting the notion that teams who play together, stay together, and work together more cohesively.
  • You can augment the experience with "take-away" gifts such as photos, videos, or prizes that augment and commemorate the positive memories.
  • If you add a community give-back or "CSR" element (corporate social responsibility) such as fund-raising for a favorite charity or creating care kits for soldiers stationed overseas, your event will give your team a sense of higher purpose and team pride for having made the world a better place.

Team gifts don't have to be difficult - nor expensive. Team building events can be an effective and economical way of giving back to your team - and the community. Find ideas on how to do that here.




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