‘Tis the season for gift buying. Everyone scrambles to come up with the perfect “Holiday” gift, and then once we’ve done our Secret Santa exchange, we breathe a sigh of relief. 11.5 months until we need to think about that again!

But why is it so difficult? It’s not like December sneaks up on us. It’s not like you hire 47 new people every November who you know nothing about and for whom you need to buy presents. (Unless you work retail and then you do hire that many people, but you’re also too busy to be reading this article. We’ll see you in January.)

Now, my proposed solution to gifts is always food because I love food. But I have heard that there are people who don’t love food as I do. Or have allergies or dietary restrictions or are trying to lose the weight they gained when they took all their kids’ Halloween candy and ate it in the closet. Ahem.

What can you do to make holiday giving easy and have your employees not put you on the worst presents from bosses list? Enter Gifted. With a few clicks, you can either select Holiday gift certificates for your employees, or you can let them chose their own gift. (The latter is probably the best choice for those 47 seasonal workers you hired.)

And after you’ve done that, and your employees are happy that they don’t have to wear the sweater you thought they would love (they don’t), you may want to increase your gift-giving throughout the year.

Why? Because it makes people happy. You may not have money for massive bonuses or big raises, but an occasional small gift can make people’s days. For instance, you could think about presents for the following circumstances:

1. Birthdays. Might as well get this one out of the way. If you let your employees know that you are thinking of them, it can be a beautiful thing. While cake in the breakroom is always appreciated, a thoughtful gift (or a thoughtful gift card so your employees can choose their own gift) is always nice. One of the nice things about Gifted is that you can set up an automated program so you’ll feel like the old Ron Popiel commercials–set it and forget it!

2. Valentine’s Day. No. Do not buy your female employees chocolates while leaving your male employees to fend for themselves. Icky. If you’re going to buy a Valentine’s gift, you buy it for all employees, and everyone gets the same thing. Gifted has some Movie Tickets / Date Night gifting program for valentines which lots of people love.

3. A move. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have in your old house; you’ll need to get some new and different things when you move. If one of your employee moves (whether it’s a company relocation or a personal choice), a gift certificate to Home Depot or Target or CB2, Wayfair and Overstock will be appreciated.

4. A successful big project. When your team has stayed late for weeks and pulled off the impossible, it’s time for a big bonus! If that’s not possible (finance is so stingy), this is a good time for a gift. And an extra day off. (Remember, comp time isn’t legal in place of overtime. Pay your overtime and give them a day off!)

5. Work anniversary. The company will take care of the big ones (probably–at least they should), but what if you remembered when each person joined your department with a small gift?

6. New Babies. Everyone loves other people’s babies (because you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night with them). Aside from the office baby shower (for new moms and new dads), a welcome back from maternity/paternity leave gift-focused either on caffeine or on diapers is an excellent booster for that tired parent. Side note: do not gift a new mom anything to do with weight loss or fitness unless you wish to be destroyed by a withering mom look.

7. Mondays. What is so special about a Monday? Because it can be hard to come back to work and face what lies ahead. A small gift on a random Monday can make your employee’s week.

Gifted (who sponsored this post) can make finding the perfect gift easy–and it’s free. Bonus:  your team members can choose their own gift. You can look thoughtful and caring in a matter of minutes and for not that much money. An effective gift doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy; it just needs to be thoughtful and appropriate.


Black Friday sales used to require standing in line and battling crowds. This year, there were $7.4 billion in online sales on Black Friday. Now that your employees are back at work, they are likely to continue shopping online. Last year’s Cyber Monday brought $7.9 billion in sales, and that doesn’t happen without people buying during the workday. It may drive you nuts, but here’s a word of advice:

Let them.

Yes, it may be frustrating that you spot a website open on someone’s computer or that everyone’s talking about the best deals on the season’s hottest toys. Forbes even recommends that you do your travel planning today for super deals. But, shopping on one day out of the year does not make a person a bad employee. Not shopping on Cyber Monday does not make someone a good employee.

To keep reading, click here: It’s Cyber Monday and Your Employees are Shopping at Their Desks


Pop Quiz: You want to change your employee uniforms and need to know which sizes to order do you.

A. Ask your employees their sizes

B. Ask a clothing manufacturer to deliver uniforms based on population statistics

C. Ask your employees to take a picture of themselves in their underwear and upload it to an app

If you’re Dutch Grocery Store Albert Heijn, you picked C, and boy was this a bad idea.

The BBC reports that after they began the trial in one grocery store, they had to cancel it due to outrage from, well, everyone but the committee that approved this. The BBC says:

To keep reading, click here: This Dutch Grocery Store Asked Their Employees to Strip Down to Their Underwear and Take a Picture


Don’t Let Thanksgiving Turn into a Performance Appraisal

by Evil HR Lady on November 26, 2019

Fifty-five million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this week for Thanksgiving, according to AAA. You’ll probably either end up at a relative’s door or have relatives showing up at yours. And it will be great. Or it will be terrible. And the difference between these two options isn’t food-based, but rather performance appraisal based.

Just like a bad manager who holds back on feedback for an entire year and then springs it all on you at year-end, you Aunt Joan is waiting for you. 

“You’re 27, why aren’t you married?”

“Did you put on a little weight?”

“Goodness, I see your little Billy is chasing the cat. You know, children whose mothers work outside the home don’t get the attention they need. Do you think that’s why he’s doing that?” 

To keep reading, click here: Don’t Let Thanksgiving Turn into a Performance Appraisal


There is, theoretically, a senior editor at The New York Times who earns $195,000 a year plus a $40,000 bonus and another senior editor who earns $128,000 with a $10,000 bonus. I can’t verify this (“Hi, New York Times, could you give me a list of salaries, or perhaps connect me with the editor who ears $195K?”), but it doesn’t matter–it’s what someone is reporting, and perception becomes a reality.

A group of media people started a spreadsheet where people could anonymously enter their salaries where you can send your time scrolling through and wondering if you should change your career. Ad agencies followed suit. And, as Google found out years ago, salaries are only confidential because of social norms. Once you break those norms, everyone can share.

Early this year, my Inc. Colleague, Alison Green, asked her readers to share their salaries and share they did. With over 30,000 responses, she created one of the most valuable salary negotiating tools out there.

To keep reading, click here: Big Media Finds out that Salary Secrecy is Dead. Spreadsheets Share Everything


3 Tips to Better Manage Your Remote Employees

by Evil HR Lady on November 22, 2019

Back in the dark ages, when everyone had to come into the office all the time, you could walk around and glare at employees if they weren’t working hard enough. And what could they do, go work at the neighboring coal mine?

That was before we cared all that much about employee happiness and the employee experience. Then we walked around, making sure people were happy and focused on their work. We could see when Jane was never at her desk and when Steve was always in the office kitchen. We could detect unhappiness before it exploded (Or, at least, we like to imagine we could).

But today? Forty-three percent of American workers work at least some of the time remotely. Eighty-two percent of workers want to work at least some of the time remotely. People love it. But, how on earth do you operate as an employee relations specialist when you have no direct relationship with the employees? 

To keep reading, click here: 3 Tips to Better Manage Your Remote Employees


Using a Coworker’s Salary as Leverage

by Evil HR Lady on November 21, 2019

I just found out a coworker is making more than I am, even though I have been here longer. How can I bring this up to my manager without giving away how I found out? Can I use this as leverage for a raise?

To read my answer, click here; Using a Coworker’s Salary as Leverage


New Overtime Rules Start 1 January 2020. Are You Ready?

by Evil HR Lady on November 20, 2019

Early this year, the Department of Labor announced the minimum salary to be exempt from overtime pay will be $646 per week, or $35,568 per year. Any of your employees that earn less than that must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. 

But those aren’t the only people that have to be paid overtime–if you don’t meet the “duties test” you need to be paid overtime as well. (That part didn’t change.)

Why is the number so weird?

If you were pulling a number out of the air, you’d probably pick a rounded number–$35,000 a year or $650 per week. But this number is based on the 20th percentile of salaries, which is the same way the Department of Labor calculated the numbers the last time the limits were changed–in 2004. This is a safe way to pick the number, as the courts struck down an Obama era change that was much higher and not based on the same standard. 

To keep reading, click here: New Overtime Rules Start 1 January 2020. Are You Ready?

{ 1 comment }

I have a new (two-months-employed) salaried exempt employee that has been taking between three and six hours a week to go to doctor’s appointments. He says that this will not continue forever and should soon stabilize to a monthly appointment. He has expressed to me multiple times in writing that he does not expect to be paid for the hours that he is taking off. Can you shed some light on any laws that I should know about for salaried employees and taking time off?

To read my answer, click here: When Salaried Exempt Employees Take Time off, What Happens to Their Pay?

Leave your own in the comments!


New Jersey to Uber: $649 Million, Please

by Evil HR Lady on November 18, 2019

Uber considers its drivers to be independent contractors. That means they aren’t responsible for things like taxes and unemployment fees for their drivers. California disagreed so strongly that after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that drivers were contractors, they passed a law specifically targeting Uber and similar companies. The goal is to force numerous companies to hire their gig workers as employees. 

While the world focused on California’s treatment of Uber drivers as employees, New Jersey quietly audited and decided that yes, Uber drivers (despite the NLRB ruling) were employees. Uber owed back taxes and fines, totaling $649 million

Uber spokeswoman, Alix Anfang told The New York Times, “We are challenging this preliminary but incorrect determination because drivers are independent contractors in New Jersey and elsewhere.”

New Jersey, of course, disagrees, and this will land in court. 

To keep reading, click here: New Jersey to Uber: $649 Million, Please