The best and right way to celebrate birthdays at work

Does your workplace have an official policy for celebrating birthdays? How do people feel about it? Having a good plan in place can do a lot to make someone feel appreciated.

Some articles on the subject point to religious and — heaven forbid — legal consequences of botching the well-intended act of celebrating our colleagues. Those are extreme cases, but they illustrate what can happen when company cultures overlook the importance of being thoughtful when it comes to employee birthdays.

The best company cultures celebrate diversity and recognize that while some enjoy the energy of an office celebration, others prefer quiet reflection. And, as the number of remote workers rise, teams are increasingly thinking about how to make their remote colleagues feel appreciated.

If your company is going to celebrate birthdays, give it some thought. Maybe the idea of a consistent policy that’s flexible enough to accommodate every preference seems daunting, but it might be simpler than it seems. Just ask. As part of the onboarding process, what if the company asked the new team member what their preference is.

If someone would like to opt out completely, honor their wish. If a colleague prefers to stay out of the spotlight — but wouldn’t mind being acknowledged — a simple co-signed birthday card might be just the thing. If a worker draws their energy from being around people, a celebration once a month that includes all the birthdays within the last thirty days might be a good fit. If a company’s team is geographically distributed, digital birthday cards or — for those who prefer — a quick video call from a coworker (or two) could go a long way toward making them feel appreciated.

Work birthday celebrations need not automatically steer toward cliches. Instead, the most powerful way to make an employee feel valued on their birthday, might simply be to listen and then honor their preference.

HuddleCard was designed to make company birthdays simple, beautiful and thoughtful. It’s a digital birthday card and reminder solution for companies of all sizes. Serving groups of people in companies such as Thermo Fisher, Boingo, Planet Fitness and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, with HuddleCard, you’re in good company.

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