Tips for Employee Motivation by Celebrating Office Birthdays

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Whether you enjoy your birthdays or dread them, employee motivation can be a reason to celebrate with the people you spend more than half your waking hours with. Check out these ideas to keep birthdays special in the office, as well as some best practices to keep the festivities drama free.

Employee Motivation and Celebrating Birthdays!

1. Celebrate monthly

Especially for large companies, you could end up having a party every week if you choose to celebrate on an individual basis. When it is just once a month, attendance is more likely to increase, and it doesn’t put so much limelight on those particularly shy employees that don’t want it to be all about them.

HR TIP: You’ll want to come up with a consistent practice. Unfortunately, celebrating one employee’s birthday more than another’s might lead to hurt feelings and offended staff.

2. Send a birthday email

Even if you do a combined monthly celebration, you can still recognize someone’s birthday individually with a quick email to the company, acknowledging their special day. It’s simple, effective, and free.

HR TIP: It may be seen as funny to some, but language like “over the hill” or “one foot in the grave” and other age-related jokes could offend employees and lead to problems and uncomfortable situations. In short, try to keep the age jokes out of it.

3. Add personal touches

You can ask the person how he or she would like to celebrate – maybe they’d prefer cookies or pie instead of a traditional cake. Keeping it from being predictable can really make a difference to your staff so they don’t just feel like a number. You can also try for something other than just gathering in a kitchen or conference room. You can mix it up by doing a happy hour, breakfast, or even an afternoon fiesta complete with a piñata.

HR TIP: You should never disclose someone’s age without their permission. Better left to the employee to announce their age (whether it be the truth or not).


The Culture Counts blog is a discussion of law firm culture and legal innovation, including topics such as effective leadership, employee engagement, workplace culture, ideal work environment, company core values, and workplace productivity.  

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