Ah, holiday gifts. Giving a good one can earn you major bonus points.
But giving the wrong one can flush your reputation quicker than it takes to return it. The stakes are especially high when giving holiday gifts to your employees and coworkers. These are people with whom you probably don’t share a strong family bond (except in the case of a family business, or course.) So there’s no sentiment that might induce recipients to overlook a serious gift giving bungle.
A recent survey by Gyft, a digital gift card platform, shows some data that could help save you the heartache of employee gift giving failure.
Gyft polled 1,018 working consumers asking them the best and worst holiday gifts they have ever received from an employer. And the results range from the just plain unimaginative to the downright ridiculous.
The Worst Employee Gifts
It’s probably no surprise that when asked what the worst holiday gift they had ever received from an employer, most said it was company branded items at over 12 percent.
It seems an umbrella or pullover sweater with you company’s logo on it just doesn’t make the most thoughtful gift.
The next most unpopular employee gift to receive? Fruitcake, with over six percent of those polled citing this classic yet little loved holiday baked good as definite gifting faux pas. Following fruitcake in the least wanted holiday gifts category with three percent each was sweets, in general, and oddly enough, meats.
Some employees did say that sweets and meats were the best gift they ever received from an employer. More than three percent said they do want candy or cookies and five percent said they liked receiving meats such as turkey, ham or steaks.
Maybe the point here is you should check and make sure your employee isn’t on a diet or a vegetarian before gifting a food item.
Other terrible gifts that were mentioned included squeegees, hugs (seriously!), hand sanitizers and … we kid you not … half a candy cane and a broken beach chair.
The Most Popular Employee Gifts
Around 55 percent of working consumers polled said they were hoping to receive cash or gift cards from their employer this year. The most popular is gift cards over cash, earning the favor of well over half of those polled, 63 percent.
Other data showed around 46 percent of those polled claiming they had never received a holiday gift from an employer, answering “Gift? What gift?” If you’re not a gift-giving small business owner, consider the consequence. Over 47 percent of working consumers said they would appreciate an employer more — if they gave gifts.
Employee gifts can be a useful tool to promote happy employees and show your appreciation. But the wrong one can have an adverse effect.
Yes, the holidays … providing myriad ways to both celebrate and spread cheer while creating situations of potential workplace embarrassment all at the same time.
Bad Gift Photo via Shutterstock
Check out our Business Gift Giving Guide for more tips about holiday trends.More in: Holidays