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A Corporate Gift-Buying Guide

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Birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements: From intern to partner and everybody in between – this guide has you covered with professional, appropriate gifts for the workplace.

Corporate Gifts for Interns

Interns are often overlooked when it comes to buying gifts. However, it is said that the way you treat your interns speaks to the quality of your business. Take care of your interns now, because they’re going to be the future of your industry. A gift for an intern need not be extravagant; it’s truly the thought that counts. For birthdays, a card and a cake might be sufficient. However, upon completion of their term, a parting gift such as a business book or a gift card will be more appropriate.

Corporate Gifts for Entry-Level Employees

Entry-level employees are your front lines and should not be forgotten. Ask your human resources department to note yearly hire-date anniversaries; it will mean a lot to the employees to have those dates recognized. In some cases, a raise and/or bonus will be appropriate. And honestly, monetary gifts are likely to be of the most value to lower-paid employees. They tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck, and every little amount helps. As with interns, a card and cake – perhaps with a small gift card to a local business – is adequate for birthdays.

Corporate Gifts for Supervisors

Supervisors and low-level managers should be given something a little extra to show your appreciation for the additional responsibilities they handle. It is not uncommon for supervisors to be given a modest bonus on Christmas and birthdays, in addition to a raise on their hire-date. Your supervisors are being groomed for mid- and upper-level management, and this can be a small token to keep them intellectually engaged with their job.

Corporate Gifts for Mid-Level Managers

Once an employee has risen to the rank of mid-level management, the gifts should begin to take on a more personal tone. This can still be outsourced and delegated, but as the business owner, your signature should be on cards and bonus notifications. Perhaps you should even stop by for a handshake and a few words of appreciation for a job well done. Some companies go so far as to have senior managers take mid-level managers out for dinner to celebrate certain occasions. This can stimulate morale and loyalty, and perhaps foster a spirit of mentorship to help groom these managers for even greater responsibilities.

Corporate Gifts for Administrative Support Personnel

It is often the administrative support personnel who are charged with the task of selecting and purchasing corporate gifts for everyone else in the office. For this reason, make sure not to overlook the gifts for these members of your staff. In some cases, there will be multiple members of the administrative support staff, and you can simply task them with purchasing appropriate gifts for each other (in secret).

However, in the case of a smaller company in which there is only one office manager or secretary, enlist the help of other office personnel if you’re not certain that you are up to the task on your own. Since this person works so closely with senior management, it would not be inappropriate to err on the side of generosity and purchase gifts similar to those you might purchase for a senior partner.

Corporate Gifts for Business Partners

When shopping for corporate gifts, it’s often tempting to delegate the legwork to your staff. However, when selecting an item for a business partner, you really should handle this personally. Sure, you can occasionally have a secretary pick up flowers, gift certificates, and similar things, but when you’re looking at more personal gifts – such as golf clubs, sports cars,  or even sorting through the estate jewelry for sale listings – a more personal touch is required. Buying for a business partner is akin to buying for a friend or loved one. 

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