Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On A “Sharing” Gift Policy


Many entities have some sort of a policy for receiving gifts. In government agencies, the primary concern has to do with impropriety, or sometimes more importantly, perception of impropriety.

I instituted a gift policy of a different sort. I trusted the staff to not accept gifts that would be construed as bribery, and I didn’t want to have to enumerate what constituted acceptable vs. not. If I didn’t trust their judgment at that level, how would I trust them to make other judgment calls?

My gift policy was that any time we got something from our clients, partners, vendors, etc., the gifts went into a large bin. They would then be repurposed as a gift for something else. They would come in handy for times when we didn’t have a budget for thanking the board members or partners. for example, LavaNet received some complimentary tickets for supporting the Hawaii International Film Festival. We wrote to our board members and the top clients to see if they would like these tickets, rather than the executives of LavaNet who brokered the partnership deal to keep them for themselves.

Executives or staff with customer service responsibilities would often receive gifts from the clients, but it didn’t seem fair to other staff who worked just as hard to make it possible for the rest of us to be able to deliver that level of customer service.

Smaller marketing items, like paperweight with a company logo or business card holder, aren’t as appreciated by the executives who probably already have their own or already received 3 others like it from other vendors, but the “back-of-the-house” staff felt pretty special receiving it as a token gift in acknowledgment of completing their project (in addition to the star sticker they got, of course), or for getting the top score in a staff quiz which I used to give at staff meetings.

It also had the added benefit that the original recipients of the gifts did not feel as indebted to the vendors who gave them the token gifts to affect the staff’s judgment on future deals we made.

Photo: Gozo, Malta


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This entry was posted on June 14, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .
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