Nancy MitchellNancy R. Mitchell is an established protocol and etiquette consultant and advisor with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses to Event Management Certificate Program students in the School of Business and Public Management, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was Director of Special Events and Public Programs at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, she served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, foreign embassies, academia and corporations. Mitchell owns The Etiquette Advocate, Inc., a firm providing etiquette and protocol training to corporations, universities, embassies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. She is the etiquette consultant to Engaged! magazine, has been featured on Good Morning America, Fox 5 News, WTOP Radio and National Public Radio, and is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by the New York Times, Washington Business Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a co-owner of the firm, Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol, Inc., and is a member of the Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association and the Women Business Owners of Montgomery Country (MD).
Host: What are some appropriate gifts for a boss to give their employees?
Nancy Mitchell: An employer should match the gift to the relationship with the staff member and to the occasion. If for instance they have a staff member who has been with the company for six months, clearly they are not going to give the same kind of a gift that they would give to someone who had worked for them for ten years. Take the link of service into account, take the performance of the person into account, take the level of the employees into account. If a supervisor is giving gifts to all employees, they really need to be aware that they are giving people who worked at the same level, the same gift or the value of the gift is the same at that level. People talk, people compare notes and they will know, then when you have a personal assistant who is clearly above other people in the workforce and who works closer with you has been there for 15 years, the gift is going to be different than someone who maybe in the general office staff. You have got to take all of those things into account and then in business, it is critical not to be too personal. Get a gift that is not too intimate, it is not apparel, it is not jewelry, it is not a red rose, it can be roses, it is just not a red rose. It is not something that could be misunderstood as being too personal. You have a business relationship with someone; your gift must reflect that. Many many offices will have the policy of giving group gifts if instead of an employer needing to give gifts to specific people on their staff, maybe they participate in the group gifts but I think that a boss needs to go a little bit more than everyone else when that collection is made.