IN THE OFFICE, the professional methods of communication generally are pretty clear: pick up the phone, shoot a quick note by email or text, or make a visit to someone's office. During holiday season, however, many employees wonder, "Should I send members of my management team some sort of holiday greeting card? If so, is it appropriate to dash off an email with holiday wishes, or is a traditional paper card the way to go?"
Reference-checking firm Allison & Taylor says yes, it definitely is a good idea to send your boss (and his or her boss) an appropriate holiday greeting. It is an important way to send the message that you value your relationship with the company, and respect these people as individuals. (Additionally, surveys have shown that they widely are appreciated in the business world as a whole; recipients are more likely to do business with a company or individual that sends holiday greeting cards.)
When it comes to e-cards, Allison & Taylor suggests you forgo them for a variety of reasons. Many senior managers are older and may reflect an "old school" mentality. A greeting card sent via electronic means may be regarded by them as inappropriate, perhaps even cavalier. Additionally, such e-cards tend to lack the personal touch of a card mailed individually to the boss' door; e-cards and social media holiday greetings often are 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.
Here are some reasons why a traditional greeting card is a good idea:
* Connecting with your bosses--or former bosses--will help keep you top-of-mind in their awareness, translating to possible future support or opportunity.
* Staying in touch with bosses and colleagues via a holiday card is a subtle yet highly effective form of networking. It also is less expensive than taking them to lunch, and will not violate corporate edicts if sent via personal mail.
* Sending your bosses--also former bosses, colleagues, suppliers, etc.--a card demonstrates a personal touch to accompany your business relationship.
* Staying in the favor of your prospective employment references--particularly former bosses--is critical to your future employment success, as approximately half of all reference checks conducted by Allison & Taylor reveal negative input from the references. A greeting card could prove to be a small, but critical, investment in your professional future.