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I have a great HR department. They really do a nice job. For example, they recently set us up with a pre-tax benefit that put about $1000 in my pocket.

What's a good way to thank them?

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    Yeah I’d stay away from gifts. You don’t want to creat any perception of impropriety, especially with HR involved. They’re just doing their job. A simple “thank you” should suffice. – AffableAmbler Apr 18 at 17:03
  • Did they do it for you specifically, or for the benefit of the whole company? If it wasn't a personal favor, there's no need for a personal gift. If it was...well, that raises some serious ethical questions. – Seth R Apr 18 at 18:49
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    Forget gifts - it's a total no-no. Send a polite email, and that's it. – Fattie Apr 19 at 13:00
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I agree with the comments that a gift is not really necessary. But if you insist, I would suggest two guidelines for selection.

First, it should be something that can be enjoyed in the office by most or all of the workers. Don't buy something they take home. Don't buy something that will be enjoyed by only one or two workers.

Second, it should be quite inexpensive. Less than an hour's wages even. You don't want to appear to be bribing them!

A snack tray (such as crackers, cheese and fruits) or a potted plant both fit the bill and in my experience tend to be well-appreciated.

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    I was going to suggest a dozen donuts. – Keith Apr 18 at 20:58
  • Whatever it is, I definitely agree that being able to be enjoyed by most or all of the workers is the most important part. – Elininja Apr 18 at 20:59
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    It could be worth running by someone on their team to make sure it's appropriate. A dozen donuts could go over well - but if there's randomly several of them with celiac's, and the donuts were made with wheat flower, it could be another matter. I'm thinking specifically of a gift of cream-filled donuts made to my ex's office. The donuts were enjoyed by most, but with several vegans in the office, especially the one they most wanted to thank. Everybody in the office appreciated the gesture, but a little more consideration could have made it better. – Ed Grimm Apr 19 at 1:40
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    So then my idea to a give everyone in HR a quarter-ounce gold coin should be reconsidered? – kmiklas Apr 20 at 2:38
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    @kmiklas, no, that's fine, because it's gluten-free. – user1602 Apr 24 at 6:35
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For things like your example, where it was something done by the department as a whole, Joe Strazzere's advice of a thank you email CC'ed to the CEO works.

If your company has any official channels for giving this kind of feedback, use those as well. For example, employee engagement surveys usually ask about how you feel about your benefits.

For things where a specific employee helped you with an issue, like someone helping you with leave forms, a thank you email to that employee with their manager CC'ed is best. If HR sends out surveys asking how they did helping you, fill those out too.

The best thank you is making sure someone's boss aware of their good work.

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What's a good way to thank them?

Keep it simple. Say "thank you, you did great!" Do it in a way that your manager and their manager hears your thanks. And, try to make saying "thanks" a routine part of your work.

When they do something big for you personally -- like find an excellent employee for your department in a short time, or help you (heaven forbid) get rid of a bad employee -- that's the time for more personal thanks, like flowers or a basket of fruit for them to enjoy.

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