- The employee gets the day off (found in many union contracts)
- The president of the company calls the employee and wishes them happy birthday
- HR sends a card to the employee
- Monthly celebrations for everyone with a birthday that month
- A celebration on the person’s actual birthday that is paid for by the company
- The boss or fellow employees take the person to lunch
- The person’s name is posted on the intranet, company newsletter, bulletin board, etc.
- The person having the birthday brings their own cake
Here are the problem areas associated with recognizing birthdays at work:
- Some religions don’t celebrate birthdays, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Some cultures don’t recognize birthdays, but do recognize things such as “naming day.”
- Some people don’t like the attention of a birthday
As I first started to write this I was going to weigh-in on saying that I think it is important to recognize someone on their birthday (and I will continue to do so with people I know) but after reading about it I am not so sure the birthday is the best day to have some “official” recognition. Official recognition should be work related. Recognize someone for their performance.
As a boss it is important to understand the diversity of your employee group. What works as recognition, what doesn’t? As an HR department it is also very important to understand that diversity. Are we treading on thin ice with sanctioning official birthday celebrations?
What do you think? Too “politically correct” or a valid concern? What do you do?
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