Do's & Don'ts of Celebrating Employee Life Events at Work

August 8, 2016 Audrey

 

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Celebrating at work can be challenge. How do you make it fun? Make sure everyone feels the love equally? Know when to throw a baby shower and when to just wish a Momma luck? We've taken the guess-work out of the office partay - see our top "do's" and "don'ts" of celebrating employee life events below. 

Birthdays

At Baudville, we firmly believe in celebrating employee birthdays. We decorate, bring in a treat or two, and we all sign a birthday card with our well wishes. It's our thing - and that's OK. But this might not work for every office. Bigger workplaces can't be expected to get a cake for 500 employees, so:

Do:

  • Celebrate everyone equally - if one employee gets a card, everyone should. 
  • Equip managers with a list of team birthdays. A friendly word or email from the boss goes a long way! 

Don't:

    • Announce a person's age without their consent. Some people couldn't care less that they're turning 40 & some would rather die than have everyone know. 
    • Demand that employees bring in treats on their birthday. Let's just say that forcing someone to bake or go on an errand isn't a great b-day present. 

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Anniversaries

Many companies don't celebrate employee anniversaries until 5 years of service... unfortunately, the average millennial only works about 2.5 years at each job. Why does that matter? Millennials are flooding the workforce as baby boomers retire! Keep those youngins around by celebrating every anniversary

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Do:

Don't: 

  • Take only Johnny out to lunch. There's no better way to breed contempt than unequal attention. 
  • Give an gift with a misspelled name. You'd be shocked how often this happens! Check, double-check, and triple-check that card, certificate, or award

Showers

Weddings and babies are some of the most fun life events in your employee's lifet - but sometimes a shower is a "don't."

Do: 

  • Use your best judgment. Some company cultures embrace giving money and time to a shower and some don't. Not sure? Take an anonymous survey!
  • Follow the registry! It's never been easier to get a bride or Mommy the gift they truly want and need. There's no need to go rogue! 

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Don't:

  • Buy the present(s) before collecting the money. The donation envelope may end up being a lot lighter than you imagined. Nothing kills the fun like being on the hook for extra moolah.   
  • Throw showers for subsequent children or marriages. You've got to draw the line somewhere. If you celebrate seconds or thirds, expect a few eye rolls. 

Retirement

Retirement is one of the biggest life events your employee will have. Show them gratitude for the their years of service and loyalty to your organization. 

Do: 

    • Make it a big deal. Acknowledge this event with a celebration befitting the enormity of the occasion. Bringing in a sheet cake from Walmart and sending a "Happy Retirement" email is not going to cut it. 

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  •  Invite family. One way to celebrate big is by inviting the employee's spouse and/or children. Their teammates should be gathered and the retiree should be presented with a gift and a few words from management. 

Don't:

  • Short-change the gift. Nothing burns quite as hot as receiving a $5 watch after 30 years of service.
  • Forget to consider their personality. Think about how this individual might like to celebrate. If you're stumped, just ask. It's better to ruin the surprise than ruin the party. 

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While researching this topic, I loved this article by Inc.: 10 Ideas for Celebrating Your Employees’ Personal Milestones.

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