It's the one thing every employer should do, but doesn't. It's the one thing that matters to just about every person on the planet.
We're talking about birthdays, and doing the right thing by recognizing people on their special day.
What's the right way to celebrate employee birthdays? As a small business owner or HR professional, it's tricky. It's not like you're best friends with each employee, and by no means are you obligated to wish an employee a happy birthday.
But we all know helping people feel special about themselves is the right thing to do. So, as your employees count down the days until their big milestone, here are seven ways to celebrate employee birthdays.
1. Celebrate a different type of birthday
Birthdays can be tricky because it's an occasion usually reserved for friends and family. If you're uncomfortable with celebrating a birthday of an employee, don't force it. Instead, celebrate a different type of birthday - the day that an employee started with your company. By celebrating their annual "company birthday", you'll show that you value their contributions and their presence on your team. Which, in the end, is all employees really want - to feel valued and special.
2. Ask their closest friend at work to organize the celebration
Take some of the responsibility off your shoulders and ask their closest friend at work to take charge of the celebration. By delegating this task to people close to the employee, the celebration will be more personalized and special for the birthday boy/girl.
3. Spin the Birthday Wheel
Create a birthday wheel to spin that's full of desirable outcomes - "Extra Day of PTO," "Pizza Party," "Half Day." When the employee spins the wheel, it creates something fun and exciting for the company to gather around and cheer for - especially if other employees get to be the beneficiaries of the spin. You can also include a "Whammy" for good fun - which prompts the employee to do something funny, like sing Happy Birthday to themselves.
4. Birthday desk explosion
A birthday desk explosion is an extreme decoration done where the employee conducts work throughout the day. We're talking streamers, balloons, confetti - a complete mess that undoubtedly screams to every employee who walks by, "It's My Birthday Today!" The birthday desk explosion is fun because it lets everyone in the company know that it's an employee's birthday, without sending a general email. It also makes the employee feel special the moment they walk in the door.
5. Give the employee the day off
Nothing beats some good ol' fashioned time off to give the employee the opportunity to do what they really want to do on their birthday. Whether it's spending the day with their family and friends or crossing an item off a bucket list, giving employees a PTO day on their birthday is always a good way to go.
6. Give a birthday card
Grab a birthday card and have your entire team or company sign it. This simple gesture is a low-key way to show that you've remembered their special day, and that everyone around the employee cares about them.
7. Give a birthday gift
Just don't give an unwanted gift like the one you might get from a long lost Aunt, who knitted a hat for you or gave you a gift card to a store you never visit. You see these employees every day - what do they like? What do they care about? What's going on in their life? What gets them excited? Give a gift that speaks to their interests and will give them the great time that they deserve.
How will you celebrate your employee birthdays?