Celebrating birthdays around the office is tricky, but it's a great addition to your employee recognition program. And as more and more employees enter the mix, it gets increasingly complex. Sure, you could decide to ignore everyone’s birthday. But where’s the fun in that?
If you’re thinking about changing the way you celebrate birthdays at your company, maybe one of these seven ideas will give you the inspiration you’re looking for:
1. Ditch birthdays and celebrate work anniversaries instead
Some people think celebrating birthdays at work blurs the line between personal and professional lives. If you fall into this category, there’s an easy fix: don’t celebrate your team’s birthdays — celebrate their work anniversaries instead. In addition to letting members of your team enjoy their special day, celebrating work anniversaries is a great way to prove to employees that the company cares about them and is paying attention to such milestones.
2. Consult your employee’s friends to help plan something out
If you ever want to have a bona fide birthday celebration for your employees, it's crucial that you rope their work friends into the conversation and plan something that the person will actually like to do. You remember what it’s like to unwrap the present you hated when you’re a kid. Don’t create a “celebration” that the birthday boy or gal will have to feign a smile through.
3. Decorate the employee’s desk
What better way to show employees you’re thinking about them on their birthday than to show up to the office early and really decorate that person’s desk? Print out pictures of their favorite celebrities. Maybe hang up some funny artwork. Make use of streamers and banners and such. Buy some candy and a coffee mug or something small. Show your workers how much you care about them by the attention to detail you bring to this important task.
4. Celebrate everyone’s birthday at the end of the month
If you're at a large company, it doesn’t make sense to celebrate every single employee’s birthday. Having a birthday party four times a week probably won’t do much to help productivity. If you find yourself in this category, consider holding 12 birthday parties — one each month. Wait until the end of the month and have a happy hour where employees who have a birthday that month get free drinks.
5. Encourage employees to take the day off on their birthday
Would you rather spend your special day at your desk staring at a computer screen and slowly making your way through assignments? Or would you prefer to be outside of the office on your birthday? Instead of having a celebration at all, why don’t you encourage your employees to take their birthdays off?
6. Write an employee profile and send it out to the whole team
How well do your employees know each other? To build an even closer group, consider profiling your employees on their birthdays and sending out brief stories to the rest of the team. These profiles could include lesser known facts, places they’ve been, and other interesting tidbits.
Be sure that your employees are on board before choosing this option; the more introverted members of your team might be mortified by the idea.
7. Have a potluck-style lunch
Another fun way to bring the team together (assuming it’s a smaller one): Host a potluck-style lunch on your employees’ birthdays and have each member of the team bring in something special. Potlucks are a great way to get people talking to one another. And who knows? You may find out that Jacques the engineer makes a really mean seven-layer dip.
Birthdays are special celebrations for individuals. It's their day. Make your workers feel truly valued by adding these ideas to your employee recognition program to show your appreciation. It doesn't only make them feel valued as an employee; it makes them feel valued as an individual. How does your company celebrate birthdays?