American Marketing Services Inc. is of the opinion that most people prefer their own kind. The $7-million manufacturer and retailer of promotional items, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., simultaneously throws three different Christmas parties for each type of professional it employs: telemarketing, production, and administration.
"It takes into account people's different sensibilities," says Ed Wiegman, vice-president of administration. "A soft-spoken, artistic production person might be intimidated by the aggressive, extroverted personality of a salesperson. But people are encouraged to go between parties, and some do."
Wiegman also notes that every manager has to buy a gift for each of his or her employees -- no cash allowed. "It personalizes the exchange," he says. "The manager has to think about what would be appropriate for each individual. That way, he has to learn something about them."