Conflicts of Interest

Why gifts can create conflicts of interest

The exchange of small gifts in business has been a practice for years. When receiving large gifts from vendors, it can be tricky for the employee. While the gesture is nice, most company policies don’t allow the acceptance of gifts. Unfortunately, gift-giving can get out of control and cause issues for the employee and employer. (i.e., 'conflict of interest gifts') 

Why do gifts create conflicts of interest? (or would it be a conflict of interest to accept this gift) Giving gifts create conflict(s) of interest because it, either explicitly or implicitly, encourages the recipient of the gift to ‘return the favor.’ This can affect someone’s judgement and result in unfair, favorable outcomes for the person or company that gave the gift.

Microlesson Description

In this microlesson, we explain how and when to graciously say, “Thank you, but I can’t…” to vendors who give large gifts to your employees. The intentions may be good, but the gift can still be inappropriate. Your employees need to follow your company’s Gift policy, so teach them the right way to do it. The important thing here is to handle it appropriately, so employees avoid conflict of interest gifts.

Key Concepts

  • Deciding whether a vendor gift crosses the line can be tricky.
  • Check company policy on gifts or conflicts of interest.
  • Why it would be problematic to accept a really nice gift, even if it’s not in company policy.
  • Encourage employees to talk to someone about the situation if they’re still unsure.
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Interested in training your employees with 3-5 minute video lessons that address specific and timely concepts?