If you’ve put off shopping for your coworkers this holiday season, you’re not alone. We’ve all had a few tries that end up being a swing and a miss. Gifts that get tossed aside and forgotten -- or that even provoke a few private snickers -- are a missed opportunity.
Don’t settle for a year of “ho-hum” with your office gift exchange. Consider how each component of your coworker’s personality affects whether they’ll greet your gift box with a grin or a groan. Use Traitify’s Big Five personality assessment to sharpen your selections. It’s a fun way to bring some real personality science into your shopping cart.
People who are high in Openness tend to enjoy change and are wary of getting stuck in a rut. They use their imaginations to think about and understand the world.
Gifts that involve trying something new. A new food or drink they’ve never heard of...music from an unknown artist...a gift card to a restaurant they haven’t tried.
Creativity-cultivating gifts. Passes to an escape room...tickets to a magic show...edgy and clever home decor.
Giving the same gift you give to others. A familiar box of chocolates or bottle of wine. Items that tap into everyday needs, such as an Amazon gift card.
Those who are lower in Openness value routines and love tradition, and experience more stress when life feels unpredictable or changes must be made.
Old favorites, even items you’ve given before. A bag of favorite coffee...a preferred seasonal treat...tickets to see the same local band they’ve loved since 1995...other nostalgic throwbacks that remind them of the past.
Upgrades. Although it might sound like a good idea to replace your officemate’s beloved hoodie or their worn-out pad for their office chair, odds are that the new version will sit unused while the old one remains the go-to.
What can Conscientiousness tell us about gift preferences?
Our highly Conscientious colleagues have high standards for themselves and others. They’re also often goal-oriented.
Well-known brands recognized for top performance and craftsmanship. Gifts that fuel drive and ambition. Fitness apparel...a satchel for the office...a class at the local adult education center or outdoors store.
Knock-off brands. An item from the bargain section. Drug store personal care items...mass-produced knick-knacks.
Those who are lower in Conscientiousness have a flexible approach to life and don’t get caught up in the details.
Gift cards that can be used at multiple stores to keep options open.
Organizers. Attempts to help your coworker become more organized on their own, like a daily planner or a desk organizer. Gifts like Groupons that have expiration dates to remember.
What to give when Extraversion is high or low
Someone who is high in Extraversion tends to be high energy and sociable. Their lifestyle is associated with more risk-taking and adventure-seeking than others.
Items for going out and about. Evening apparel...jewelry...tickets to a nightclub performance...theme park or county fair passes. Adrenaline-pumping experiences like a ride on a zipline or, for a splurge, an ATV tour.
Solitary activities. Puzzles...gardening supplies...bird feeders.
Our professional contacts who are lower in Extraversion need time alone to re-energize. They take a careful, quiet approach to life.
The comforts of home. A cozy blanket...special linens...scented candles...cooking supplies...new bath or kitchen towels. Quieter activities they can do alone or as part of a pair or small group. Movie passes...museum memberships...tickets for a lecture. A signed book.
Anything that involves going out on a limb. Gift card to the crowded new bar downtown...a pass to try a fitness club...a dance lesson. Lottery tickets.
Let Agreeableness guide your gift choices
Your company’s employees who are high in Agreeableness tend to be motivated by a desire to help and get along with others.
Selections that help them be supportive of others. Donations to thoughtfully chosen charities on their behalf. Items for entertaining...wine glass charms...home decor that incorporates themes like “welcome”, “family”, and “kindness”...a framed photo of a company celebration or milestone. Homemade gifts.
Gag gifts or those that are a bit of a tease. Cash or a credit gift card given with the admonition to “buy something for yourself.”
Those lower in Agreeableness often have clear likes and dislikes, and are less comfortable with compromise.
Everyday items that they’ll use for themselves. Lounge pillow for the bed...a set of soup bowls...a stylish office lamp. Gifts to treat themselves and decompress. A hammock...noise-canceling headphones.
Anything too sentimental or “mushy”. Items given without a gift receipt.
What about Emotional Stability?
The people around the office who are high in Emotional Stability tend to be calm and even-tempered, and take what comes without experiencing mood swings.
Anything that shows you remember their favorites. Apparel or other items for a favorite sports team or city...a memento you’ve chosen for them while on your own travels...an item they collect. Items that offer a challenge...brain teasers...nonfiction books...wearable tech.
Items that instruct them to do what they’re good at anyway. Self-help books...home spa treatments...meditation aids.
Those who are lower in Emotional Stability are more “up and down,” but they’re also tuned into what others are doing and the reactions of those around them.
Items that promote safety and protection. A premium phone case...solar battery charger...car safety kit...air purifier. Items that encourage comfort and self-care...a selection of tea bags...fuzzy socks...a mug, sign or shirt with an uplifting phrase on it.
Items that require coordination and effort to execute...tickets to an event further from home...something requiring assembly. Gifts that could be seen as an insult...exercise equipment...visits from a housekeeper...a session with a closet organization consultant.
Personality insights boost the workplace in more ways than one -- even gift giving can benefit from having a little data in the mix! As a productive year of connecting employers with best-fit employees draws to a close, all of us at Traitify wish you a happy holiday season and a fabulous 2020!
Want to give your colleagues insight on what to buy you for Secret Santa? Demo the Traitify platform and find out what your lead traits are.