Survey Reveals Only Five Percent of Gift Giving Bosses Offer Holiday Bonus

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WorldWIT polled its 50,000 professional women and concluded that while more than half plan to give gifts to their colleagues, twenty-five percent actually 'hate' office gift exchanges

Using Beeliner's premier survey technology, WorldWITâ„¢ (, the world's largest online community for professional women spanning 25 countries, recently asked workplace managers among its 50,000 members, "Do you plan to give a gift to your employees this holiday?" Only one third of these managers said 'yes.' Of the gift-giving managers surveyed, just 5% will be offering a monetary gift--bonus or salary increase. Yet, nearly 20% of all the professional women surveyed said that they feel pressure to give a gift to their boss around the holidays and plan to do so.

While some managers say they give gifts to employees because it is "expected from them" others do it "to show appreciation." On the other hand, the majority of managers say they don't gift gifts because "they're not allowed," they don't have the "personal funds" to do so, or "they don't want to put pressure on the employee to give back." Many managers who don't offer gifts agree that a department holiday lunch is the way to go.

Whether it is a result of pleasure, pressure or requirement, WorldWIT's comprehensive survey also shows that more than half of all the professional women surveyed say that they do plan to give a gift to a colleague this holiday season. In fact, seventy-five percent of the gift-givers surveyed plan to spend an average of $25 US per colleague this holiday.

In addition, while over 40% are 'indifferent' to required office gift-giving, such as White Elephant or Secret Santa, 25% actually 'hate it.' Another idea, repeatedly suggested by survey respondents, is to donate gift-giving money to charity. One respondent said, "Instead of giving office gifts, we collect donations, then, with a lump sum, we make a holiday donation to a charity. Each year we choose a different charity."

In response to the survey results, WorldWIT CEO and workplace expert Liz Ryan offers her own holiday gift to managers and employees alike--FIVE TIPS FOR HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING AT WORK.

1.    Find out what's standard in your workplace: Some companies have formal policies about the giving and receiving of gifts, and others play it by ear. Check with your HR department and also with your own manager to see what's traditional in your workplace. For instance, if your department holds a Secret Santa activity, it would be awkward for you to give gifts outside of that arrangement. So ask before you buy!

2.    One size fits all: If you're the department manager and feel like buying gifts for your employees, buy one item, the same item, for everyone. These are not your family members, and it's not expected or appropriate to select different presents for them, as that could signal favoritism. Restaurant or retail-store gift cards are a great option for generous managers. Stay away from bottles of your favorite wine (not everyone drinks wine, or would appreciate it) or gift certificates to events you enjoy; that kind of gift signals that you're more focused on your own interests that those of your employees. Keep your gift choices simple and uniform across the group.

3.    Giving "up" and "down": It's more customary for managers to gift their employees than vice versa, and it's easy to see why. A manager may feel uncomfortable about accepting a gift from an employee for two reasons: one, the manager typically earns more than the employee, and often can receive reimbursement from the company for gifts purchased for his or her employees, while the employee cannot. Two, the manager is in a position to influence the employee's future salary reviews, promotions and job assignments, and may feel that accepting a holiday gift is a conflict of interest. If you really want to gift your manager, make it a fun/silly gift rather than a formal/expensive one.

4.    No forced giving: Secret Santa activities are fun, but only if every single person is in favor of the project. Otherwise, people feel forced to participate and to spend money that they'd rather not spend, and that's not a reasonable thing for an employer to expect. If a manager doubts that the entire group is dying to play Santa for one another, it's better to skip the gift-giving and take everyone to a holiday lunch.

5.    Keep the faith (in mind): It's a diverse workforce, and people come from a variety of faith traditions. There's been debate this year over whether the Christmas-trees-and-Santa holiday is a religious one, which illustrates that some people surely think so. So it's a good idea, in your holiday workplace gift-giving, to play it safe and steer clear of gifts or activities that are in any way faith-related. Does this mean no angels? Yes it does, as well as no Christmas trees, holly, Santas, bells, or, of course, mangers. Sound complicated? That's why we're recommending those gift cards!

From a 20-year career as a Fortune 500 executive to co-founder of a venture-backed software startup to published author and award-winning founder and CEO of the global professional woman's network WorldWIT, Liz has collected several volumes worth of experiences, wisdom, and razor-sharp observations that have enlightened and entertained audiences of CEOs, CIOs, HR leaders and women in business throughout the U.S.

Beeliner's easy-to-use internet-based survey tool allows WorldWIT to design and send custom surveys and then analyze the data offering both the media and respondents true results in real time. For more info on this survey please contact Kristi Hughes at 215-816-2954 or via email.

About WorldWIT

Founded in Chicago in 1999, WorldWIT ( is the world's largest online networking organization for professional women in business, formed for women to share advice and ideas with other women eager to "connect." It reaches over 40,000 women globally via moderated, local email discussion groups like ChicWIT (Chicago), HoustonWIT and BritWIT (Great Britain), and through local events and activities in 25 countries and 80 cities around the world.

The membership is free and is comprised of women who range from corporate CEOs, government officials, legal professionals, marketing and media experts to home-based consultants and entrepreneurs. Its founder, Liz Ryan, was the first female vice president at U.S. Robotics, and is a popular columnist, speaker and "at work issues" expert. She has been featured by such media as TIME, Fortune, The New York Times, CNN, CNBC and CN8. Liz is also the exclusive career contributor to Business Week Online and the author of the recently published, Happy About® Online Networking ( WorldWIT is headquartered in Boulder, CO and includes a satellite office in Philadelphia, PA.

About Beeliner Surveys

Beeliner Surveys is a leading survey software tool that helps people and businesses around the globe conduct professional email and web surveys. Large and small businesses, universities, non-profits, and governmental agencies use Beeliner to create surveys for a variety of purposes, including market research, human resources, customer satisfaction and retainment, and more. Beeliner is developed by Spinfish/ROG Inc., a privately-owned software development company in Cambridge, MA in the USA. Spinfish was founded in 1997.

For more information contact :

Amanda Trombley Spinfish/ROG, Inc. 1.617.475.2282


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