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Gift Giving EtiquetteIf you’ve ever been on the receiving end of an inappropriate gift from a colleague, you know that workplace gift giving can be a minefield. Making the wrong move can create lasting problems with coworkers. Alternatively, presenting a proper coworker gift or hosting an inclusive office holiday party can improve relationships, boost morale and give everyone in your workplace a warm and fuzzy feeling.

So as you get ready to spread your own holiday cheer, heed these cautionary tales and words of etiquette advice when it comes to celebrating and giving gifts at work:

Make the Gift Exchange About More Than a Present

Done right, gift giving can be a positive workplace experience. Consider adding another dimension to your coworker gift exchange by extending your generosity to the local community. Anyone who wants to participate in any sort of gift swap must also contribute to a food, clothing or toy drive. Such a collective effort can transform a fun game into a meaningful tradition everyone in the company can feel good about.

Rethink the Office Holiday Party

With all the holiday hype that goes on this time of year, we seldom take the time to remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays. This is your chance to work on your diversity sensitivity. Research other people’s religions and traditions, and try to make everyone in your workplace feel included in the festivities. Ask people to share their family or cultural traditions. Remember to include new employees in your office holiday party planning.

Coworker Gift-Giving Etiquette

To make the right choices, employees need a well-thought-out gift-giving strategy in the workplace. Consider these tips, adapted from Peggy and Peter Post:

  • Diversions such as Yankee Swap, Secret Santa and the like are fine, as long as nobody gets carried away. Underscore the lighthearted nature of the game.
  • If you are giving gifts to people who are special to you in the workplace, do it in private. There’s no need to upset people who aren’t on your gift list.
  • Don’t give your boss or supervisor a gift that is just from you (unless they are a close personal friend, in which case the above rule applies). Ask others in the office to contribute so you look like a team player.
  • Don’t give offensive, extravagant or joke gifts. Also steer clear of gifts involving alcohol, fragrance or clothing.
  • Always send thank-you notes for personal gifts.
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What does it take to be one of the best places to work for top talent? This is a common question that many employers ask as they seek to develop workplaces that attract, retain, motivate and engage top performers. To follow are some common practices spanning the full cycle of employment from recruiting for a position to planning for the future talent needs in your company.

Staffing & Workforce Planning

  • Align your workplace with the needs, interests, and preferences of top performers
  • Brand the workplace by promoting aspects of your organization and highlighting aspects of your local area by using attractive messages, images, and materials
  • Recruit talent by selecting effective sourcing, advertising, and marketing strategies aligned with definitive policies for hiring only top performers and a definition of what characteristics, competencies, and behaviors those top performers exhibit
  • Select top performers using a variety of effective selection processes and tactics including trained hiring personnel and a combination of valid selection tools, measuring the success of selection decisions, and amending processes as needed
  • Develop an effective on-boarding program and engage new-hires
  • Plan for the future workforce by engaging in succession and workforce planning practices

Compensation & Rewards

  • Compensate top performers competitively according to market rates and review compensation structures in order to maintain competitive compensation
  • Pay for performance by linking, differentiating pay according to performance,  offering opportunities to earn more pay based on performance
  • Recognize and reward employees in meaningful way and show appreciation using formal and informal programs to recognize top performance
  • Provide a competitive array of health, welfare, work-life, and retirement benefits that support employee well being, work/life balance, and wellness

Development & Training

  • Provide training opportunities and ensure that these training solutions meet the needs of employees and contribute to improved job performance
  • Develop and advance careers by providing developmental services and programs that help employees attain their career objectives
  • Build challenging, meaningful, autonomous, and empowering job experiences for employees’ by using their skills and abilities to their fullest potential

Organizational Culture

  • Be socially responsible by providing ways for employees to engage in community efforts and initiating environmentally-friendly workplace practices
  • Effectively supervise and manage performance by providing supervisors with a variety of tools to manage their employees and their performance, and having general philosophies/policies surrounding managing others in the organization
  • Foster coworker relations and teamwork by building a positive and collaborative work atmosphere, providing opportunities for teambuilding and peer recognition, and embracing a diverse workforce
  • Lead with talent integrity by engaging employees through communication, support for programs, positive interaction, and accountability
  • Celebrate success as an organization and recognize employees’ personal events

Organizational Innovation, Success, & Performance

  • Facilitate creativity and innovation by providing opportunities for ideas, suggestions, and feedback; developing both informal and formal ways to promote creativity and innovation; and initiating processes/initiatives for employees to enhance products or customer experiences
  • Measure and communicating organizational performance as well as customer, client, or product achievements

What are some successful best practices that you have used to build the best team? We would love to hear your comments below.

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