Insightlink Home

Employee Surveys Blog

Celebrating Employee Birthdays Can Build or Bust Morale

Posted by Insightlink on 02/20/15

Should We Celebrate or Not?

Would you sue your workplace for saying you were ‘over the hill’ on your birthday? Some people have sued, so while celebrating employee birthdays is one way to show your staff they are appreciated and valued, you have to do it with care. In a recent SHRM article, titled ‘To Celebrate Birthdays at Work or Not?’ all the little do’s and don’ts to planning office birthday parties are provided to help us make sure we are recognizing our employees without risk of offending or discriminating against anyone. There were also some great ideas and ways to celebrate employees who are open to some recognition on their special day.

Let’s start with the Don’ts
1. Don’t be inconsistent. Celebrating some birthdays while forgetting others hurts morale.

2. Don’t use social media without asking first if the person is comfortable with it and definitely don’t publicize the year of their birth or how old they are on social media. In a worst case scenario, this could end up being an age discrimination lawsuit!

3. Don’t arrange for a cake and birthday sing-song without asking if the person is comfortable with it. Not everyone wants their birthdays celebrated, so it’s important to know that before the party starts. One HR professional commented that ‘During onboarding they have a section in their survey that asks….if they can recognize their birthday.’

4. Don’t put pressure on employees to contribute money to a gift or attend a lunch. Not everyone can afford to participate and it becomes awkward for those that feel if they don’t attend, they will be considered negatively by managers and co-workers.

5. Urging employees to leave work for a birthday lunch can raise issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

6. Birthday lunches can be two hour events so for some employees they need to know how to record it. Is it an official work function, are they expected to put in overtime to make up for the long absence?

The Do’s are much more fun

1. Electronic birthday cards, especially at large organizations.

2. Surprise decorations at the employee’s desk.

3. Lunch with a manager.

4. Gift cards to popular stores or restaurants.

5. Cash gifts based on years of service.

6. Allowing the celebrant to take a “personal holiday” on their birthday.

7. A company contribution to a charity of the celebrant’s choice.

8. Monthly celebrations, perhaps with a cake, that acknowledge all workers born in that month.

From an employee engagement perspective, celebrating birthdays are a natural and positive way to boost morale and recognize employees…we just have a responsibility to acknowledge that not everyone shares that same spirit.

Original article:




comments powered by Disqus

Employee engagement is linked to profits
Employee Survey Demo
Employee Survey Pricing

Where does your company stand on each of the critical "4Cs" of employee engagement and satisfaction?
  • Commitment
  • Culture
  • Communications
  • Compensation
Find out with a benchmarked and validated 4Cs Employee Survey from Insightlink. Since 2001, one of the most trusted research companies in North America.

How many of each do you have?
  • Committed Loyalists
  • Change Seekers
  • Dissatisfied Compromisers
  • Satisfied Opportunists
Only the Insightlink 4Cs Employee Survey can give you the full picture and let you hear how your employees feel about their experience at your organization.


Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

4Cs Blog Home

4Cs Blog Archives

Recent Posts

Connectivity and Collaboration: Building a Strong Business with Remote Staff

What is an Employee Survey? Are They Important in 2024?

Celebrating 23 Years of Partnership: Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in 2024!

From Burnout to Bliss: Employee Wellness Through Transformation

The New Machine Era: Navigating the Future of Workflows and Processes

Favorite Links

Employee Survey
Insightlink's Acclaimed 4Cs Employee Survey

Advanced Online Survey Platform for Pros

Quick & Easy Online Surveys

Home of the Gallup Q12

World at Work


Engaged Employees Blog

HR ToolKit Guide to Employee Surveys
Good info on how to write surveys.

Insightlink 360
Makes 360 assessment surveys easy.

Online Employee Exit surveys.


Copyright © Insightlink Communications. All rights reserved.