It is a common practice in many workplaces to order birthday cake from the local grocery store bakery. However, you can boost this moment of acknowledgement even more! Give a gift that is personal to the staffer, budget allowing. Get to know the preferences of your employee. This makes them feel valued and that you see them as not only a worker, but also as a person. Maybe a book on gardening that they love or on being a new parent or perhaps a gift card to their favorite niche shop is the right play. Do the recon and it will be remembered for months after the sweet taste of cake is gone.
Imagine walking into the office on your birthday and instead of (or perhaps in addition to) the standard grocery store sheet cake, your manager has selected a gift that closely aligns to one of your outside hobbies or interests! What impact would that have? It would make you feel valued and acknowledged and appreciative that your boss took the time to get to know you on a more personal level.
When employees don’t feel valued or appreciated, job satisfaction drops, productivity declines, loyalty disappears, and turnover increases. On the flip side, employees who “feel appreciated and valued in turn feel empowered to share important information with their bosses in an open and non-judgmental manner.” This in turn creates a positive company culture that espouses growth, engagement, loyalty, and communication.
One easy way to show your employees that you value and appreciate them is by celebrating their birthdays! It doesn’t have to be cheesy, over-the-top, or inauthentic. In fact, authenticity is key in making this tip work. Doing this tip properly will result in your team feeling seen and valued, they will feel loyal to you as their leader, and they will enjoy celebrating with their coworkers while building stronger bonds among the team. As an added bonus, these small occasional celebrations will help break up the monotony of the work day.
This week, I challenge you to take a few minutes and make a calendar with the birthdays of your team members. That way you’ll have an easy way to see who to celebrate each month. As a second challenge, start doing some recon on what your employee’s interests, hobbies, and leisurely pursuits are. Make it easy on yourself and notate this info next to each person’s name on your calendar.
FUN FACT: In the 17th century birthday cakes were made more elaborate with details like icing, layers and decorations, like flowers. However, these kinds of cakes were only affordable by the wealthy, upper class due to the high-priced ingredients. In the 18th century, food and baking utensils became more accessible, and therefore affordable. With that, the price of cakes went down significantly and the number of cakes produced went up considerably.