Thursday, 15 December 2016

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Gifts

A friend of mine has a garbage truck driver who every week toots his horn and waves to her kids, who are watching him with delight through their lounge room window. She wanted to give him a 6 pack of beer as a Christmas gift.
The idea of this filled me with terror for the poor man.
Why?
Because he is a public servant, and as such, will be bound by a "no gifts" policy. This means he either needs to refuse the gift (which some people feel awkward and embarrassed about doing), take the gift and then hand it in with some paperwork to the compliance group at the office (time consuming), or take the gift knowing that he is breaching the council's policy and run the risk of being caught and reprimanded. You may think that risk is small, but there are plenty of neighbours and workmates around who may report it. Not usually because they are malicious, but maybe because they are bound to by the same Company policies (you never know who of your neighbours work for the council!).

"Bah Humbug!"

Yes, I hear you, but just because you don't agree with a rule doesn't mean you should give a gift that puts someone in a compromising position. 

Do all public servants have a no gift policy?

Some have a value cap on gifts, and you can find this easily by looking at their website. But more and more, there is a blanket no gift policy for those working in the council, or State/Federal public sector. This is because if you have a $ amount as a cap, who determines what that gift is worth? For example, is a diary worth $20, $50, etc. It also means you need to hire staff who have the job of determining if a gift is worth that or not, and to monitor the paperwork, and the gifts etc. So it is much easier from a compliance perspective and an efficiency one to just say no gifts.
Also, if the organisation has a no alcohol policy, that is likely to include no alcohol being brought to the workplace. So if you go ahead and give a public servant a bottle of wine or 6-pack of beer, they may be breaching the no-gifts policy and the alcohol policy! "Merry Christmas - here's your First and Final Warning!"

"This world has gone mad! We can't even thank a garbo anymore!"

Actually, you can. What would be a truly wonderful gift would be a handmade card from the kids. On top of that, if you go to the organisation's website, you will always find a "feedback form" for compliments and complaints. Use that form to send a compliment. It usually will make the employee eligible for something within the Company's reward and recognition scheme, and even if they don't have one, it will be something s/he can use in his next performance review or interview to provide an example of how s/he is performing well.

Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year

Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog this year, please accept this virtual bottle of champagne ;)
I have now completed by maternity leave and I have started a HR consulting Company, so there will be some exciting changes with this blog that I will announce in the new year!


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