Way off target with those gifts

As the employment tribunal over Mary Archer’s former PA demonstrates, poorly selected employee gifts can cause long-term staff demotivation and haunt bosses for some time after.

Lady Archer faces the employment tribunal over unfair dismissal claims from her PA, Jane Williams.

Williams has revealed that Archer presented her with an inch of flat champagne from a previously opened bottle on her birthday. She also claims that Archer presented her with an authentic designer watch from Calvin Klein – with “Made in China” etched on the back.

Williams labelled the gifts “insulting and embarrassing”.

It’s no surprise Williams felt unappreciated and the employee/boss relationship continued to deteriorate until Archer sacked Williams last year.

The case shows that bosses who take a lazy approach to employee gift selection or make “cheap” choices often cause more harm than good.

Archer is not alone – thousands of companies continue to inconvenience and irritate employees with poor gifts. Feedback from clients shows that staff prefer to choose their own gifts, instead of being subjected to unimaginative gold watches, flashy pens or Christmas turkeys.

Jonathan Haskell

Managing director


Binfield, Berks

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here