HR Strange But True!
December 08, 2005

You think your spouse and kids are tough to buy presents for? Well, what about your boss?

In a recent survey of executives around the world, more than half (53%) said their boss is the hardest person in the office to buy a holiday gift for. Others mentioned were subordinates (17%), assistants (16%), and colleagues/peers (14%).

"Etiquette around inter-office holiday gifts--especially for the boss--is often tricky for executives, who struggle with the appropriate type and price range for these items," said Bob Damon, president of North American operations for Korn/Ferry, a global executive search and recruiting firm. "You don't want to give something too small and appear stingy, but something too nice could be viewed as an attempt to buy favor."

The Korn/Ferry poll, conducted between November and December of 2005, included respondents from nearly 60 countries, representing a wide spectrum of industries and functional areas. Other survey highlights include:

  • Holiday Workload -- The largest percentage of executives (38%) plan to take between 4 and 7 vacation days during this upcoming holiday season. More than one-third (34%) plan to take more than 8 days, and more than one-quarter (27%) plan to take fewer than 3 days. Seven of ten (72%) executives expect to do work while on vacation over the upcoming holiday season.
  • Holiday Bonuses -- When asked if they expect to receive a holiday bonus this year, the most common response by executives was "highly unlikely" (37%). Only one in five (20%) believe receiving a holiday bonus is "highly likely," with the remaining 43% of executives unsure.
  • Holiday Shopping -- The largest percentage of executives (45%) believes that $25-$50 is an appropriate amount of money to spend on a holiday gift for a colleague. The next largest percentage (29%) say "less than $25," 17% say "$50-$100," 8% say "$0," and 2% say "more than $100."
  • Holiday Parties -- More than half (51%) of executives surveyed plan to attend their company's holiday party this year. Another 21% do not plan to attend, 5% are unsure, and the remainder of respondents (22%) report their company is not having a holiday party.
  • Holiday Cards -- Executives have mixed feelings about the use of business-related holiday cards. While 39% feel they are "an important business development tool," 41% say they should be "reserved for personal use" and 20% call them a "waste of paper."
  • New Year's Resolutions -- More than two-thirds (70%) of executives plan to make a job-related New Year's resolution for 2006.

TGIF - It's HR
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