Tips for creating or updating your employee gift policy in 2023
Next month, you have an employee getting ready to celebrate their 6th anniversary with your company, another who just purchased a new home, and one who just did a stellar job on a project. You want to help recognize and celebrate these individuals with a gift; after all, each of these accomplishments is a big deal! So, you visit your employee handbook to see if there are limitations to what you’re able to give and find that there is no policy specific to corporate gifting.
In reality, you may shrug and think, “well, I guess there aren’t any restrictions or rules I need to follow,” so you select a few awesome corporate gifts to send without a second thought.
While this just made your task of sending gifts to each of these team members easy, your gifts could end up causing some problems down the road.
Why you need an employee gifting policy
Having a policy inclusive of do’s and don’ts when it comes to employee gifting is necessary regardless of company industry or size, and here’s why:
- It aligns employees to a code of ethics and conduct for giving and receiving gifts
- It determines the process that must be followed for gifting activities
- It promotes equal and fair treatment
- It helps team members avoid gifting pitfalls
- It provides best practices for our evolving working world
While developing your policy around gifting may seem tedious or overwhelming, it will ultimately help enhance the employee experience. Keep reading to see what you should include in your policy!
What your gifting policy should include
When building out your gifting policy, there are several things you should include. We’ve broken it down into two categories: your company’s position on gifting and the government’s position on gifting.
Your company’s position on gifting
The information housed in this section will likely make up most of your employee gifting policy. As you’re crafting this portion of your guidelines, try to answer FAQs you’ve received in the past and link to helpful tools and resources. Here are some details you should include in your gifting policy:
1. Restrictions on gift values and gifts
When including your approved gift values, determine the approved amount for company spending vs. individual employee spending. If your teams host optional gift exchanges, set a limit that won’t pressure team members who want to participate.
Although you would hope someone wouldn’t gift something improper or discriminatory, it’s always good to indicate which gifts are appropriate vs. inappropriate. Also, consider geographic restrictions depending on where you're sending gifts. Different countries and states have regulations on what you can send via mail in those locations, so include international gifting restrictions depending on where your employees are. Setting clear guardrails now is an excellent way to avoid awkward situations in the future.
2. Policies for giving and receiving gifts from superiors, vendors, and customers
Another way to ensure appropriate gifts are given is to have guidelines around who employees can gift to or receive gifts from. For example, a gift to a superior could appear as bribery, and gifts from a superior to just one team member could be considered favoritism.
3. Policies for gifting on behalf of someone or the company
It’s a good idea to detail any policies relating to gifting on behalf of the company or an individual. That could include who a gift should come from based on occasion (ex: work anniversary vs. birthday) and the process for acquiring gifts on behalf of someone.
4. Obligation to participate in gifting activities like employee gift exchanges
Several companies may do gift exchanges, especially during the holidays. Include expectations for participating in these types of activities in your gifting policy. We recommend making these optional, so if someone isn’t comfortable participating, they don’t have to.
5. Process for expensing gifts
If employees are purchasing gifts that can be expensed, include your process for being reimbursed and a reminder of any pre-purchase approvals that need to be obtained.
6. How to decline a gift
Because your gifting policy outlines what gifts someone can or cannot accept, it’s a good idea to include how someone can politely decline a gift. This section often consists of a sample message someone can use to return a gift.
7. Approved gift vendors
8. An internal contact for questions
Make it clear who employees can reach out to with questions about the gifting policy. Having a centralized contact can help avoid miscommunication or a breach of your code of conduct.
9. Giveaways and raffles
Some companies include policies around raffles and giveaways here, too. If that's something common within your organization, consider adding any restrictions or guidelines for participating and accepting prizes here.
Pro tip: As you’re developing or updating your gifting policy, consider these best practices when it comes to employee gifting.
The government’s position on gifting
This section of your policy should include information about regulations and laws that influence gifting.
1. Tax implications of gifting
Depending on what you want to gift employees, it could be taxable. As you can imagine, if an employee gets taxed on a gift given to them, that takes away from the gesture. We recommend consulting with your controller or accountant to build out this portion of your policy.
Here are some helpful resources with additional information:
2. Bribery laws
The government has strict anti-bribery laws that could apply to your gifting initiatives depending on your industry, job role, or value. We recommend collaborating with your legal team to ensure your gifting policy accurately includes any restrictions when it comes to bribery regulations.
Here are some additional resources that might help:
Sample employee gifting policies
Now that you know the importance of creating and maintaining an employee gift policy, look at some sample gift policies from other organizations.
Setting an employee gifting policy and keeping team members aligned with proper gifting can seem overwhelming. Luckily, we make it easy for you. With Loop & Tie, we can create custom gift collections at different price points that adhere to your gifting policy, factor in any geographic restrictions, and make it easy to automate your employee gifting. See our platform for yourself by signing up for free or scheduling a time to talk to our team today!