Celebrating employee birthdays is one of the best ways for management to appreciate employees. Recognizing each employee's special day goes a long way towards boosting happiness in the workplace and improving motivation and productivity. Whether you're looking to throw a small, fun, unique, elaborate, or remote celebration, here are 20 employee birthday ideas to inspire you.

1. Office Decorations

There's no better way to put everyone in a celebratory mood than with birthday decorations. To begin with, start by decorating their desk, so they enter into the spirit of things as soon as they get in for the day. It's also a great idea to decorate the office lunchroom to make the celebrations more fun. Be sure to add a theme that the person likes to give the environment the right vibes.

2. Personalized Birthday Cake

Most people would agree that birthday celebrations don't quite hit the spot unless there's cake. If you can go the extra mile, make sure each employee gets a personalized birthday cake made especially for them. Since there are different types of cakes, make an effort to find out their favorite flavor. You can also consider offering other sugary goods like chocolate chip cookies or candy bags for employees who are not into cake.

3. Birthday Meal

Celebrations are never complete without food, so consider taking the whole team out for a birthday lunch or dinner. The employee whose birthday it is gets to pick their favorite restaurant and have everyone join in the fun. After all, when it comes to birthday celebrations, the more, the merrier.

4. Gift Card

Gift cards are a popular birthday gift idea because they are so simple yet easy to appreciate. With a gift card, the person has more flexibility to pick something they like, depending on the type of gift card. For instance, an Amazon gift card is always a good idea because employees have so many options to choose from.

5. Time Off

If employees appreciate one thing, it's some time off, especially on their birthday. Giving employees time off on their special day allows them to celebrate with close family and friends. It also makes the day enjoyable since they don't have to focus on their work for the day. Even if the person chooses to come in for the day and celebrate with others, you can still award them some time off later as a birthday present.

6. Social Media Birthday Message

Employees appreciate birthday celebrations so much because it brings focus to them and makes them feel important. Another way to show that you value your employees is by giving them a shout-out on your social media accounts. Be sure to specify some of the employee's achievements and to thank them and give them your best wishes on their special day.

7. Team Activities

You don't have to limit yourself to singing a song and eating cake when it's an employee's birthday. You can plan many exciting and creative activities to make the occasion more memorable. For instance, you can play board games in the office or plan a team outing to the birthday girl or boy's favorite place. Not only will this make the celebrations more special, but it also allows everyone to get to know each other better.

8. Special Birthday Song

The "Happy Birthday" song is an essential element when it comes to making people feel honored on their special event. You can take things up a notch by including a personalized message into the song, so the person knows you made an effort specifically to appreciate them.

9. Customized Birthday Card

A customized birthday card is a much more personal way to wish an employee all the best on their special day. The employee will appreciate the thoughtfulness and will love it more if everyone takes the time to write a special message on the card.

10. Heartfelt Birthday Notes From the Team

Birthday celebrations in the workplace should, ideally, be a team effort. Thankfully, it doesn't take a lot of effort or resources to warm a person's heart and bring a smile to their face on their birthday. Each team member can write a genuine and thoughtful birthday note that makes the birthday person feel valued.

11. Charitable Donation

Your birthday policy for employees can also involve making a charitable donation on behalf of the birthday girl or boy. This is also a great way for the organization to meet its social responsibility goals. Asking the employee to pick a charity of their choice will help add more variety to your social outreach efforts.

12. Weekend Getaway

Weekend getaways as birthday presents don't have to be expensive, but you can always splurge if the organization's budget allows. The point is to show that you're considerate about your employees and value them enough to want them to have an enjoyable birthday.

13. Recognition From Senior Management

Although employees will still love it if they can celebrate their birthday with their team, getting senior management involved will make them feel extra special. CEOs, HRs, and other members of senior management can write personalized birthday messages to show they recognize the importance of employee birthdays.

14. Unique and Personalized Gift

Employees are bound to feel more appreciated if you show that you have put some effort into their gift. Fortunately, there are many simple birthday ideas for personalized employee gifts. Great ideas include a custom wallet or a personalized mug. For this, it's best to involve the employee's friends, so you get them a personalized gift that's more up their alley.

15. Get Ideas for the Birthday Employee

It's essential to realize that employees are unique, and the best way to make the most of each celebration is to understand their preferences. For instance, some employees prefer a more private celebration while others don't mind a local celebration.

It also never hurts to ask what each employee wants for their birthday. You can ask them to pick three different options, so they will still be pleasantly surprised when they receive their gift.

Celebrating Employee Birthdays Remotely

Today, remote working is popular, so organizations also have to figure out how to celebrate employee birthdays remotely. For instance, celebrating employee birthdays during Covid lockdowns is still important to maintain employee engagement. Here are some top ways to celebrate employee birthdays remotely.

16. Zoom Party Call

With remote employees, it's not possible to decorate their desks on birthdays, so the next best thing is a zoom party call where the background is decorated. It's a small personal touch that will make the person's day, especially if the decorations incorporate their favorite color or theme.

17. Virtual Party

A virtual party is a bit more elaborate than a short zoom call, and it allows everyone to come together and celebrate each other's birthdays even at a distance. Before the date, make sure everyone gets an invitation to know what time to hop on and participate in the fun. While at it, find a personalized card that everyone can sign virtually and write beautiful messages on. The virtual party can also include online trivia games to keep everyone entertained.

18. Happy Birthday Email

One way to ensure a positive experience for employees on their birthdays is to email them. An employee birthday celebration email is highly relevant and personal because it involves writing a birthday message that communicates to your employees just how much they mean to you.

19. Home Delivered Gift

A home-delivered gift is the way to go if you want to make remote employees feel special and valued on their birthday. While it's not the same as celebrating with everyone in the office, you can celebrate with them in spirit by sending a thoughtful gift like a custom gift basket paired with a birthday card.

20. Custom Video

You can send the birthday girl or boy a personalized video made specifically for their birthday. The video can be a recording of the team member's colleagues wishing them well on their birthday and highlighting their importance to the team.

These employee birthday ideas will help you build a more positive work culture. However, keep in mind that this is only possible if you have a fair birthday policy for employees. It's important that everyone receives equitable treatment on their special day. In addition, keeping the celebrations consistent ensures that everyone feels like they're part of the team, whether they are working at the office or from home.