Gifting you boss on his or her birthday can be a very tricky proposition. While it is fraught with scepticism (Will he like it? Not like it?), carefully-chosen birthday present for boss can often touch the right cord and help in building good relations.
Besides the birthday, an occasion to gift your boss may occur in various other forms – work or marriage anniversary, send-off, celebrating a momentous occasion or simply celebrating international Boss’s Day (October 16th).
Depending upon what the occasion is, it is important that the subordinates plan out things in advance to avoid the last minute running around. Also, before even planning to buy a gift it is important to check out two things:
1. The organisation’s policy on gifts and more importantly
2. The boss’s personal opinion towards accepting a gift
Most organisations disallow the policy of gifting especially when it comes from outsiders, such as suppliers, vendors or service providers. However, when it comes to subordinates gifting bosses, no one raises eyebrows.
Let us have a look at some critical aspects that you must be aware of before choosing a birthday present for boss.
Let it be a group gift
It is always better to have a gift that sounds from “Us to You” rather than “Me to You”. When the gift comes from a group rather than an individual employee even the bosses take it in their stride and the question of nepotism or favouritism does not arise.
If you want to show gratitude to your boss for on a personal level, it makes sense to choose a birthday as an occasion to show your gratitude. However, personal gifts should never be given at a public forum. Always be discreet while giving such gifts. Infact, such gifts should never be given inside the office premise.
Let us assume that you want to choose a birthday gift for your boss. Then it is important to do your homework right. Gather information about your boss’s likes, dislikes, hobbies etc. This will help you choose the right gift. You may also want to remember some conversation in the recent past wherein your boss mentioned about a particular thing that s/he was searching for. Once you are sure, that your boss has still not found that particular thing, you may want to get it for your boss. A similar exercise needs to be done for other occasions.
Type of gift
This is the most important aspect in the entire gifting process. The gift needs to match the occasion. Any misjudgement here is bound to create an awkward situation for all. There are some simple guidelines that one can follow while choosing the right gift:
Avoid personal gifts: While choosing a gift, especially a birthday gift for a female boss, never choose something which is very personal in nature like lingerie, personal care products etc.
Never gift cash: Giving cash in an envelope not only looks bad, but it also shows that the team ran out of ideas while choosing a gift. Also, not everyone is comfortable accepting cash, that too from subordinates.
Add cherish value: It is recommended that you should gift something which is likely to be remembered or cherished than a bottle of perfume. For instance, OilPixel.com, an Ahmedabad-based company, creates oil canvas portraits from photographs. This gender neutral gift is likely to be cherished for a long time by your boss. The amazing lifelike images are bound to create a lot of good memories too. For instance, you could choose an image when your boss received some recognition within or outside the organisation, which he/she personally value a lot.
Deeper meaning: Now-a-days, there is a trend of gifting plants in attractive planters. Besides having an aesthetic value, plants have a lot of emotional appeal too. Depending on the plant type, they can be kept either on the office desk or can be carried home.
Pool money for expensive gifts: If you are gifting your boss something that is really expensive, either do it together with your colleagues by pooling in money or don’t do it at all. If a single employee buys an expensive birthday gift, then it sends a wrong signal that you are asking for a favour in return. However, it is always advisable to avoid costly gifts eve when your colleagues are pooling in.
Avoid gifting alone: There is a huge difference between gifting alone and gifting with the team. Especially while giving a birthday gift for a female boss, make sure that the entire team chips in. This avoids any uncomfortable situation that might arise for both of you if someone fids out.
Never start a trend: Before buying a birthday present for boss, make sure that there is a culture of doing this in the organisation. Never start a trend, because by doing so, the other teams in the organisation too are forced to follow suit for their bosses.
Gifting may appear to be a very innocuous activity. However, when it comes to birthdays and that of your boss, this activity is a minefield and has to be treated carefully. Keep the above simple tips in mind to make sure that your gift touches the right emotional cord without causing discomfort to any of the stakeholders involved.
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