Celebrating Birthdays: A Simple Way to Make Your Team Feel Special


In leadership, it's often the little things that make the biggest difference. Like remembering your team members' birthdays each year.

Sure, it's not a groundbreaking strategy, but the smiles, surprise, and appreciation you get in return are priceless. Plus, nothing beats the fun of pretending to have a "telepathic connection" to recall everyone's special day!

I recently met a great guy who worked in one of my teams a few years ago and he asked me how I managed to remember everyone's birthdays each year. And the answer is simple - every time someone joined the team, I added their date of birth as a recurring annual reminder in my outlook calendar and that was it. Simple, right?

And it's funny the impact that this small gesture had. Initially when I started doing this, I just thought it'd be a nice thing to do to just send an email directly from myself to the birthday boy or girl, with a simple 'Happy Birthday' in the Subject line, and a 'Hope you have a lovely day' in the email message. I would never publicise the occasion, and it was always kept between me and the recipient.
People loved the gesture, and years later when I met this guy, he said it was something that everyone would talk about every time someone had a birthday, and he never experienced it anywhere else. In fact, he told me, every time the other team members knew it was a colleagues birthday, they would always cheerily ask, 'Did you get your birthday email from himself?'.
I have to say, I was so delighted to hear that feedback - I never realised the impact that it had on others.
True employee experience is how you make people feel, and it's the simple things in life that make people feel great.
If you're not already doing this, start now and see for yourself. Don't ask HR to do it for you, but surely I don't need to tell you that, do I?

So, here's to the power of small gestures in building a strong, happy team. Remember, leadership isn't always about the grand gestures; sometimes, it's as simple as saying, "Happy Birthday!"

By Dara Kiernan

Keywords: Coaching, Leadership, Management

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