6 Ways to Celebrate Your Employees (That Don’t Involve Cake)

It’s someone’s special day. Be it a birthday, a retirement, or a celebration after meeting business goals, your office is no doubt going to host some type of forced social event involving cake. As your employees file into the breakroom you see their eyes rolling, they show reluctance to get up from their desks and join in on what should be a fun time, and some may even complain, “Cake? Again?”

Cake and social gatherings are supposed to be a good thing. And for most businesses, they are meant to be a time when employees can take a few minutes out of their busy day for a treat. While celebrating birthdays and work achievements is great, there are times when doing things “the same as they’ve always been done” becomes excessive and a bit boring. Your employees want something that is more engaging when it comes to recognition. They want you to revive the excitement and implement new ways to celebrate things happening in the workplace.

Special celebrations like birthdays and retirements should be celebrated differently from how work achievements are celebrated. Having cake for every event can feel impersonal and lacking in thoughtfulness. Your employees are deserving of recognition for so many reasons. Here are six ways to give them the recognition they deserve without presenting them with the same boring cake and the awkward birthday singing.


Non-Work Related Celebrations


1. Plan a company potluck.

Celebrating someone’s retirement is a bittersweet engagement. Bring some fun and excitement to the event by surprising the newly retired with a potluck lunch. Invite employees to bring in their favorite dishes and enjoy a meal together. It’s a fun break from the norm and can help employees to feel more connected as they chat, share dish recipes, and extend well wishes to the retiree.

2. Celebrate every milestone.

Birthdays are special and yes, everyone gets one, but what about those moments when life deserves celebrating because of something big? When your employees are celebrating life’s milestones, celebrate with them. Did an employee just welcome a new baby, or buy their first home? Sending flowers or giving them a gift basket of goodies is a great way to recognize their milestone and celebrate their latest achievement. Find something to celebrate in everyone’s life such as completing a marathon or adopting a dog. No moment is too small or too big for unique recognition gifts.


3. Have a pizza party.

Everyone loves food and pizza is at the top of the pyramid when it comes to pleasing a hungry crowd. Instead of dragging everyone into the break room for their 100th piece of cake that year, serve up a little happy birthday celebration with pizza from a favorite pizzeria. A pizza party is a great way to celebrate everyone who is having a birthday that month. But, just like cake, there is such a thing as having too many slices of pizza. When you get the sense that your employees are getting tired of pizza parties, invite shake things up by asking the birthday guy or gal what they’d like served for their birthday luncheon. If you are recognizing multiple birthdays, ask them to vote for their favorite of a preselected group of restaurants.


Work Related Celebrations


4. Implement an employee of the month program.

Create an employee of the month program that allows your employees to nominate a coworker who has gone above and beyond. Have a custom plaque created to present to the recipient each month. Use a perpetual plaque that makes it easy to add new recipient names each month, or have individual plaques made for the winner to hang on their office wall.


5. Show appreciation every day.

Even the smallest achievement deserves recognition and with an employee appreciation program, you can start giving recognition where it’s due. A points system rewarding employees for making deadlines, participating in special committees, or demonstrating positive behavior can motivate your employees and boost morale. The points can be saved up and cashed in for prizes and other incentives. Design your employee appreciation program with the help of a company specializing in creating points-based systems to make celebrating your employees a breeze!



6. Host a retreat or employee engagement day.

Getting away from the office is sometimes all it takes to help employee recharge and get refocused. Especially if they have been working hard on a specific project for a long period of time. Your employees work hard putting together client presentations, making sales, and finishing projects ahead of deadline. When the works is done, it’s time for fun! Close the office and take your employees to the park for a picnic, or take them to play games at an arcade. Taking time away from work and having fun together will help your employees to build comradery as well as give them a much-needed break from their computer screens.

If celebrating achievements in your office has become tarnished with eye rolling and slice after slice of cake being thrown in the trashcan, it’s time to shake things up and celebrate in a new way. Get creative and implement unique recognition tactics that are will keep your employees inspired and engaged. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive to create workplace celebrations that everyone enjoys.

Learn more ways to recognize your employees throughout the entire year in our Recognition Resolutions Ebook. Download it here!

5 Reasons to Buy Made in the USA