If you’re leading a business, you no doubt understand that your people are your most valuable asset. One of the most effective ways of showing your appreciation for your workers is through celebrating their birthdays.

The Benefits Of Celebrating Employee Birthdays

While you may need no better reason to celebrate your employees’ birthdays than it simply being good fun, there are also several business benefits to these activities. These include:

Employee recognition

By celebrating your employees’ birthdays, you can show them that you value them as individuals and wish to mark the major milestones in their lives. 

Build a sense of camaraderie

Relatively informal events such as birthday celebrations provide employees with the opportunity to get to know one another better and form personal ties. As a result, your employees are more likely to experience an increased sense of community in the workplace, which can boost morale and increase productivity.

Increased retention 

Several pieces of research have found that employees are more likely to resign from their jobs around their birthdays. With a birthday providing a milestone in a person’s life, many employees use it as a time to reflect on their progress during the past year and may, as a result, decide that they need to change direction in their careers.

By celebrating an employee’s special occasion and demonstrating that they are valued, you can increase loyalty to your business and reduce turnover.

Ways To Celebrate Employee Birthdays

Although all your employees will have different ideas about how best to celebrate their birthdays, the methods below are among the most popular.

Food

One of the more traditional ways to celebrate an employee’s birthday is, of course, with cake and candles in the office. Alternatively, you could consider sweet treats such as cookies or doughnuts if you’d like to put a different spin on the tradition.

Remember to take any special dietary requirements into account when you’re organizing your event. You should, for example, check if any of your employees are vegetarian or vegan or have any special requirements due to their religion or health.

If your celebrating employee is working remotely, consider using a delivery service to have birthday treats sent to their home.

Buying a gift

Finding a gift that reflects your employee’s personal tastes is a great way of demonstrating that you value them as an individual and have made an effort to get to know them. If you are buying a gift, first decide whether the company will be paying or if you will organize a collection among other team members. Then, consider if there are any suitable items that relate to their hobbies or whether they have a favorite store that could stock something suitable.

One thing to bear in mind: if your gift is bulky, you should consider how your employee will transport it home. For many people, taking a large bouquet of flowers or balloons on public transport could be a headache rather than a treat.

Decorating their desk or office

If you want to make your employee the center of attention on their special day, decorating their desk or office can act as an all-day reminder of their birthday.

Remember, however, not everyone enjoys being in the spotlight, so you’ll need to consider whether this is something your employee would actually appreciate. And, if you are taking this approach, it may require some planning as you’ll probably need to have someone come into the office early to get the decorations ready.

Throw a virtual party

With the COVID-19 pandemic revolutionizing ways of working worldwide, it is entirely possible that the person celebrating will be working from home. If your employee is working remotely, you could move the celebrations to a virtual environment. You could, for example, suggest that your team has lunch over a video call, with everyone enjoying a piece of cake.

Give your employee the day off

Another way to celebrate employees’ birthdays that is growing in popularity is by giving them the day off. As well as allowing them to spend time with their loved ones, this approach demonstrates that you value their work/life balance. Before you decide to give employees the day off, however, it is a good idea to look at the cost of doing so for your business to make sure you can afford to make the gesture.

Things to Consider 

While the main purpose of these celebrations should be for everyone to enjoy themselves, there are nevertheless practicalities to consider.

Be fair and consistent

When it comes to birthdays, it is important that you place equal importance on all employees’ celebrations. If your goal is to increase morale, you are likely to have the opposite effect if you throw a lavish party for your CEO and forget about your junior members of staff. The last thing you want is to be accused of favoring certain employees.

Draw up a birthday calendar

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you include everyone is by creating a calendar. 

Entering all birthdays on a spreadsheet is one of the most common solutions for creating a birthday calendar. Equally, you could create events in an email calendar, which would have the added bonus of providing advanced notice of upcoming birthdays. 

Decide who will organize your celebrations

When you’re celebrating employee birthdays, it is most efficient if you have one individual (or small team) who is responsible for overseeing the program. One advantage of having a team organize the celebrations, rather than an individual, is ensuring that the person who normally organizes the festivities isn’t left out on their own special day.

Draw up a budget

While celebrating birthdays can have numerous benefits for your business, there is also a risk that you could end up overspending if you don’t keep a keen eye on your budget. Remember, it is essential that the same amount is spent all on birthdays, as this will help avoid any suggestion of favoritism.

Respect people’s wishes

While you may feel that birthday celebrations are a useful way to boost morale, these events are not to everyone’s taste. If you have an employee who feels very strongly that they would not like to celebrate their birthday, you should respect their feelings. There may be unpleasant memories or previous trauma associated with these days, and you would not want to cause your employees any distress.

If you would like to gauge your team’s feelings on birthday celebrations, you could ask for their views in your employee engagement surveys. Alternatively, the team organizing your birthday events could send an email asking if employees would like to be included on the celebrations rota.

Also, remember that some people have sensitivities about their age, so you may not want to openly display banners announcing this information.

Conclusion

As well as making an individual feel valued, birthday celebrations are a useful way to boost employee morale, which can increase productivity and aid retention. And, while organizing the celebrations can take a little work, following the steps outlined in this guide should help the process run smoothly.

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