Key Podcast Highlights

Do Employees Like Their Birthdays Celebrated at Work?

  • A recent survey found that 89% of Americans enjoy celebrating their birthday overall.  
  • However, at work employees prefer recognizing coworkers birthdays more than their own.
  • Instead, they’d prefer private recognition of their birthday but do prefer it when their company or boss recognizes it.
  • In general, employees expect a company to spend $60 on their birthday gift.
  • The survey’s results show that celebrating employees’ birthdays positively impacts moral, job satisfaction and overall retention.
  • It’s important to establish a system where you can remember each birthday. For instance, you may want to set reminders.


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Gene (00:02):

Hey everybody, it’s Gene Marks and welcome to another episode of the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. This week I wanna talk about employee retention. And you know what, let’s talk about employee birthdays. Yeah, that’s right. Employee birthdays. There was a survey that recently came out from a company called Snappy, who no big surprise. They’re a gifting company for business and personal gifts. Snappy came out with an interesting survey about people working at work, and I’d like to read you some of the results, because I think it’s interesting to all of us as business owners. They surveyed like 1,500 Americans. The majority of them reported that they enjoy celebrating their birthday each year. 89% of us enjoy celebrating our birthday. In fact, one in 10 Americans celebrate their birthdays for a full week or more, if you can imagine that.

Gene (00:58):

Right? But let’s talk about at work. The survey found that while Americans enjoy celebrating their birthdays in general. At work, they prefer recognizing coworkers birthday more than their own. Two out of a three American workers, that 67% of them said they would prefer their birthday moments or work be done through a private acknowledgement, like sharing a personal message or a gift or something like that. But it gets even, it gets even more. It has to do with workplace morale, and it also has to do with what they expect from their employers. So, according to this survey, most American workers prefer that their employers, either the company or the boss, recognizes their birthday. In fact, they expect that their companies or their direct boss should spend approximately $60. It’s a range, but about $60 on their birthday gift. They really do appreciate that.

Gene (01:58):

And they say that, it has to do with morale. So if the survey found, if employers celebrated personal milestones such as birthdays, employee morale would be higher in the workplace, they found by 81% as would employee retention, 75%. Two out of three working Americans also agree that if they received a birthday gift from their employer, they would be more likely to have improved job satisfaction. So what’s the takeaway? Oh, by the way, just so you know, when it comes to the birthday song, you can leave that out. Four in 10 Americans, only four in 10 Americans actually like the Happy Birthday singing. That means 60% of us don’t like to be sung Happy birthday. Okay? So don’t be singing happy birthday to your employees, but they want cash, like or gifts to the equivalent of about $60. So what does it mean for us as small business owners and employers?

Gene (02:48):

Yeah, obviously our employees, our employees really do appreciate when you recognize their birthdays. So if you’re not doing this, you really should. You should have some spreadsheet or your customer relationship management system or a task or some reminder. Maybe your office administrator, maybe your HR person is in charge of doing this, but you absolutely want to have some system in place where you can remember and then acknowledge and then really provide a gift to your employees when they celebrate a birthday. It has a lot to do with employee retention and morale. Now, as the economy is slowing down a bit in many parts of the country, and as we’re now seeing more job openings are declining, which means that less small businesses, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses have job openings now than they’ve had in the past two years.

Gene (03:40):

It’s obvious that many businesses… less of them are looking for new employees, but we’re all interested in keeping or retaining our existing employees and making them happy. So recognizing them is important, not just for their birthdays, but any work anniversaries as well. People like to be acknowledged if they’ve been with a company for a year or two years. Or maybe acknowledge if they have children that are graduating high school or college, or if they have a, a wedding anniversary or some personal event. I’m telling you guys, if you track this stuff in a database somewhere, or if you do that with, in an Excel spreadsheet or whatever, it really does make a difference. It really does have an impact on your employee’s morale and their satisfaction. Now, that’s not the only thing you can do.

Gene (04:30):

One of the things that I did a piece for the Philly Inquirer recently, where I talked about restaurant owners in Philadelphia and how they keep their employees happy. And overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, those restaurant owners all said that it was their workplace that was really important. Showing respect for your employees, asking them how they’re doing, giving them feedback, good or bad, but giving them timely feedback and checking in with them. And also just providing a nice place to work, with good team members. So you’re cognizant of that, well heated or well air conditioned, well-lighted, friendly and that you have their back. I understand that we’re all trying to compete with large employers and corporations and governments for employees, but when you find those really great employees, you really wanna do what you can to keep them happy.

Gene (05:20):

And it’s all about the workplace. It really is. So yeah guys, recognize when they’re having their birthday or when they’re having an anniversary or some other kind of milestone. Give ’em a gift. What’s 60 bucks? Go ahead, have a budget for it and give employees gifts. We can talk at another time about good gifts for your employees. That’s a whole other topic, but definitely give them gifts. Recognize as well that your employees want to come to work for you. They want be in a nice workplace. They wanna be treated with respect. They want to be able to give you their feedback. You give them your feedback. They wanna work with other good team members as well. All of this is really, really important for keeping your employees happy. And if you make practice of these kinds of things, you definitely will find yourself retaining your fair share of good workers.

Gene (06:04):

And isn’t that what it’s all about, is keeping your good people employed and happy and loyal to you? So yeah, celebrate their birthdays by all means, but also do your best to provide that great workspace for your employees, and you’ll find more of them will stick around than you can imagine. My name is Gene Marks, and you have been listening to the Hartford Small Biz Ahead podcast. If you need any advice or tips or help in running your business, please visit us at or Hope you enjoyed this little bit of advice. I’ll be back with you next week on another topic that I hope will help you run your business. Again, my name is Gene Marks. Thank you very much for listening. Take care.

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