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Workplace Birthdays | 8 Ways To Delight Your Team

How to celebrate team birthdays in the office, at home, and virtually.

Birthdays are an important life milestone for many. Of course, we celebrate them outside of work, but did you know there is a way to honor them at work too?

Workplace Birthdays Are Important Too

Perhaps you already do, and the situation is all too familiar... the regular cake and donut-filled coffee breaks, the monotonous drone of singing happy birthday, and the obligation to 'chip in' for a present or card. 

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Even if it may feel tedious or unnecessary, celebrating birthdays at work is essential. It's a chance to reward and recognize your employees for their personal milestones, not just their work achievements, and also for boosting team morale. 

They're also crucial for employees to feel valued. These days, more employees are focused on finding job fulfillment rather than just a paycheck. Job fulfillment has many facets; however, at the core of it is a desire to work with a purpose. They want to know they're appreciated, valued, and part of something bigger than just their day-to-day responsibilities. 

While office birthdays may feel inconsequential, these little gestures can make a big difference in knowing that their company cares for many employees. 

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8 Tips For Celebrating Workplace Birthdays

While it's easy to say 'yes, let's celebrate everyone's birthdays,' it's essential to carefully plan out how you'll celebrate as well. 

It's important to strike a balance between making sure everyone feels valued and special without being 'singled out.' You'll also want to make sure you celebrate everyone the same way. You don't want birthdays to suddenly become an excuse for a popularity contest or reinforce the team's existing hierarchy!

The Society for Human Resource Management also has a few critical HR-type tips on how to celebrate birthdays in the workplace appropriately:

  • Give everyone equal treatment.
  • Make sure an employee is comfortable being recognized on their birthday (you can always ask during onboarding or in the week/s leading up to their birthday)
  • Never publicize someone's age.
  • Avoid putting pressure on employees to make monetary contributions. The way you celebrate should not be so extravagant that the company can't cover it.

With all that in mind, we've pulled together a list of 8 ideas to make work birthdays special (without the hassle!). All of them are sustainable and affordable and can be scaled depending on the size of your company and your team.

1. Organize A Video Message From Their Favorite Star

Often a little bit of personalization goes a long way. So why not use Cameo, a celebrity shout-out platform, to create a personalized video message for your team member? They'll love a video or a live 1-on-1 call from their favorite musician, comedian, athlete, or actor. Be warned, though, the recipient may be a little starstruck when they realize they're on the receiving end of a happy birthday message just for them!

2. Send Them A Sweet Treat

Everyone loves to be fed for free, especially when it's good! DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats are all great options for sending delicious birthday treats to your birthday teammates. You can send them a surprise dessert, chocolates, cookies, or even something healthy… whatever you want! There's a perfect option for everyone. Send everyone a treat and then enjoy them together over a Zoom call as a bonus. Singing happy birthday is, of course, optional.

3. Plan Monthly Birthday Team Building Activities

One of the best ways to celebrate team birthdays is by doing them once a month. Throwing one larger 'party' can save time and money, all while making employees still feel special. Schedule a standing monthly time slot and then book a different activity each month, like a tinyB chocolate experience. With tinyB, your team can participate in a delicious hands-on activity while casually celebrating the birthdays of the month. It's a great way to bring people together, give everyone a break from the workday, and to have a bit of fun without the pressure and tediousness of singing happy birthday in a conference room!

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4. Give Them Some Influence

Many team members love the opportunity to step outside of their day-to-day roles and have some fun with some extra responsibilities. It may be letting the birthday team member pick the team's next icebreaker activity, make the weekly office snack order, choose the office's background music, or choose the theme for the next team happy hour.

5. Let Them Have A Day Off

An easy all-inclusive option is to give everyone an extra day off on their birthday. Because really, is there anyone who likes to work on their birthday? While there is a cost associated with the extra vacation time, the perceived benefit of the extra time off is likely to outweigh the costs far. And with the way employees are switching jobs right now for better pay and treatment, it's imperative to give them these little benefits wherever you can!

6. Give Them A Discount Or Gift Card

Consider partnering with a popular local restaurant or shop to give the birthday team member a discount or gift card to use the week of their birthday. Whether they use it or not is up to them. As a bonus, consider sending everyone a short survey at the start of the year is asking what they would like to receive so you can focus your efforts!

7. Let Them Choose Their Own Birthday Gift

Use a service like Snappy Gifts to send your team member a birthday present they want. On their birthday, they'll receive a Happy Birthday email and be prompted to open their 'digital gift.' Then, they'll go to a website where they can choose from a wide variety of products that will be shipped directly to their door. The added benefit of using a service like this is that you can schedule all birthdays ahead of time, and it's excellent for virtual employees or those who don't like eating cake with their colleagues!

8. Contribute To Their Charity Of Choice

Donating money to a charity is an excellent way to show that your company is committed to the community and social enterprises. However, instead of making one large donation to a charity each year, consider breaking that into smaller amounts and asking employees to nominate a charity they'd like to receive the donation on their birthday.

How do you and your team like to celebrate work birthdays?


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