Is it a good idea to send the boss a holiday card?
Holiday card etiquette with the boss & colleagues in mind.
By Allison & Taylor, Inc.
If you are, should you send a state-of-the-art e-card/social media greeting, or a “snail-mailed” traditional card?
First, note that reference-checking firm Allison & Taylor says it’s likely a good idea to send your boss a holiday greeting.
Past surveys suggest that approximately 50% of holiday card recipients indicated they were more likely to do future business with a company (or an individual) that sends holiday greeting cards.
And with your co-workers competing for the boss’s favor, your holiday card might prove to be a small, but decisive, differentiator.
Here are some reasons why a holiday greeting card is a good idea:
- Connecting with your boss (or former boss) will help keep you top-of-mind in their awareness, translating to possible future support or opportunity.
- Sending your boss (also former bosses, colleagues, suppliers, etc.) a card demonstrates a personal touch to accompany your business relationship.
- Staying in touch with bosses and colleagues via a holiday card is a subtle yet highly effective form of networking. (It’s also less expensive than taking them to lunch, and won’t violate corporate edicts if sent via personal mail.)
- Staying in the favor of your prospective employment references (particularly former bosses) is critical to your future employment success. The reference-checking firm of Allison & Taylor notes that approximately half of all reference checks they conduct reveal negative input from the references. Consider that a greeting card could prove to be a small, but critical, investment in your professional future.
- Developing and maintaining positive relationships with your boss, co-workers and former bosses will ultimately be a cornerstone of success in your career. Besides the use of greeting cards, there are a number of effective etiquette tips that may be appropriate for those who may ultimately become your professional references (click here for more tips).
While sending out holiday cards is almost certainly a good idea, this generous gesture can backfire if the proper protocols aren’t observed. Here are some additional guidelines to ensure your card is well received:
- Choose a high-quality holiday card that allows no possibility of offending its recipient. Remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas, so be mindful of religious and cultural nuances, particularly with your international recipients.
- Choose a design that is professional and appropriate for your business associates.
- Include one of your business cards inside the greeting card. It ensures that your recipients have your most current contact information and will reinforce your name with the card’s recipient.
- Consider using a form of calligraphy to make your recipient’s name and address visibly pleasing. Also, be sure to include your return address.
- Sign each card personally. It only takes a moment to sign your name and write a short greeting, and your business associates will notice and appreciate this more personal gesture.
- Check the spelling of your contact’s name and their corporate title. Any good points you’ll score with a holiday card will be lost if you misspell your contact’s name or corporate information.
- Keep your contact list accurate and up-to-date. Make sure you’re not sending a card to someone who has left the department or the company.
- Don’t be late. In life and in business, timing is everything. Remember that many companies close during the holidays and people take vacation to be with family, so send your cards early. Also note the possibility that the recipient of your card may want (out of consideration or guilt) to respond with a card back to you prior to the holidays. Aim to have all your corporate holiday cards in the mail no later than December 15 if you’re sending them within the U.S., or earlier if you’re sending them via international mail.
Note that these guidelines address a traditional card sent via the Postal Service. In our social media age, is an e-card greeting just as good?
The answer is “probably not,” for a variety of reasons. A card or greeting sent via electronic means may be regarded by them as inappropriate, perhaps even cavalier. Such greetings also tend to lack the “personal touch” of a card mailed individually to the boss’s door – e-cards and social media holiday greetings are often sent en masse, or (in the case of social media greetings) can be done as spur-of-the-moment responses to a comment seen on Facebook or some similar venue. You aren’t likely to go wrong with thoughtful, traditional holiday greeting cards that can go a long way in making a good impression on all your business contacts. Cultivating good relationships this holiday season will help ensure your professional success tomorrow.