Birthdays are joyous celebrations. Are celebrating employees’ birthday at work necessary? Is it part of creating a close-knit culture? One of the main concerns employers have are whether employees are comfortable with these birthday celebrations.
So, what could go wrong with recognising birthdays at work? We’ve come up with a Don’t Do List and ideas of how we recommend companies to celebrate birthdays. (Yes, we think companies should celebrate birthdays).
- Putting Pressure on Employees to Contribute Money to a Birthday Gift
You may need to reconsider if this is common practice in your company. Did everyone agree willingly to contribute? Or were they obligated to contribute a value to buy a birthday gift for a co-worker?
Personally, it would be best to avoid this practice unless everyone is happy to do so. Employees may not know how to react due to peer pressure. They could be having difficulties at home but don’t want to spoil the fun.
At times like this, companies can take the initiative and sponsor on behalf of employees to buy this co-worker a gift. Or send out an office email and set up a box where people can contribute anonymous and non-obligatory.
- Making It Compulsory for Everyone to Attend the Celebration
Scenario 1: Stephen has a meeting at 2:30 PM with a client outside of the office. Is he supposed to postpone the meeting and meet the client after the celebration?
Scenario 2: Sally has a project due at 4:00 PM. The birthday lunch takes two hours. Can she use the birthday lunch as an official work event and miss the deadline?
What will you do? This can pose as a dilemma for employees. They may consider birthday celebrations as team-building opportunities and those who’re not present may be deemed negatively by others.
However, due to certain circumstances, not everyone can afford to disregard work for these celebrations. Employees should have a say and the option to opt out. They are excuse if their reasons are valid.
What if employees use this opportunity and not attend the celebration? Employees who opt out continuously will be questioned for their act.
- Not Having a Policy of Celebrating Birthdays Consistently
Employees may feel neglected when companies are selectively celebrating birthdays. In the first place, this is wrong. Celebrating some birthdays while forgetting others results in negative employee morale.
Be aware of hurt feelings. It’s inconsiderate to only celebrate some birthdays and exclude the rest. It shows you lack observation. No employee wants to be in a place that doesn’t demonstrate respect and appreciation.
We celebrate our co-workers’ birthdays in the office. We love the idea of making our employees feel valued and appreciated (especially if their birthday falls on a work day)!
Next, we share with you some ideas on how you can create a memorable celebration for your employees:
- Create a Surprise Birthday Desk
Everyone loves a good surprise. Especially when it’s on their birthday and when it seems personal. Co-workers of the main character get to decorate his/her desk with pretty birthday stuff. From birthday streamers to handmade cards, it’s a lovely way to let someone know you remembered their special day.
- Give Groupon Gifts
This is a brilliant way to thank and show employees appreciation on their birthday. Celebrate their achievements by getting them a gift to a stay-cation or an activity they would love to go.
To be able to this, find out your employees likes and dislikes. What do they do during their free time? Did they mention something that you’re able to give them? This shows your concern as an employer and your employee will remember you for it. This also leaves them a new and exciting experience from you.
- Lunch With a Manager
Having lunch with your manager in charge gives both of you the time to find out more about each other. It’s a good opportunity to talk about other topics beside work. The process of having lunch together strengthen relationships and boost team morale. It shows your manager remembers and cares about you as his or her employee.
- Entitle Them the Day Off
Many companies in Singapore are promoting work-life balance by entitling employees to early release, half a day or full day off on their birthday.
Since it’s a once a year occasion, it’s safe to say that all employees wouldn’t want to work on their birthday. Their family and friends may want to do something for them but are not able to. When employers make an effort and reward employees on their birthdays, they can expect happier, productive and higher employee engagement.
- Sponsor an Event of Their Choice on Their Behalf
A laid-back approach companies can do is to take the entire team out for a celebration in the birthday recipient name. Thus, if it’s Kelly’s birthday, employers can let her decide a place of activity and have her take the entire team out for it. Of course – it’s being sponsored by the company.
- Monthly Celebrations that Acknowledge All Employees Born in that Month (We’re doing this and we love it!)
This is how we celebrate birthdays in the office. We send out an email (excluding birthday babies of the month) to our co-workers to inform them when the celebration will be. We inform them a week earlier to keep their schedule free. Employees can expect a feast and tasty cake!
Do you use any of the methods above? How do you celebrate birthdays in the office? Let us know!