Top Five Gifts for Employee Birthdays

Recognition ideas for saying Happy Birthday to your staff

We’re all guilty of getting swept away in the bubble of workplace routine, and forgetting about what goes on in everyone's lives outside of work - so when an employee’s birthday rolls around, it’s a great opportunity to show them just how much they're appreciated with a special gift!

While a personal present is always best, it can be difficult to know everyone in a large organisation well enough to pick the perfect gift – and to make sure everyone gets a fair and equal birthday experience.

With that in mind, here are a selection of five top birthday treats guaranteed to put a smile on anybody’s face – from the low-cost tokens of appreciation to the bigger budget ideas for making a splash on important occasions.

1. a    relaxing experience

For some, birthdays are all about pampering and treating themselves, so what better gift than a truly relaxing experience? Whether it's a spa treatment, a massage or a manicure, this gift is a great way to encourage employees to switch off and take some self-care time.

For those who’ve navigated a particularly stressful or high-pressure time at work, yoga retreats and mindfulness classes are a thoughtful gift that will allow your colleague to learn a new skill that will be useful to them going forward; truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Pampering doesn’t have to come at a high cost either – for a more bespoke present, ask the team to pitch in on various treat snacks, alcohol/chocolate miniatures and luxury toiletries to create a relaxation hamper. Tuck in cinema tickets, a glossy magazine or even a cosy pair of fluffy socks – whatever you think your colleague would like to help them unwind.

2. a voucher or gift card 

A gift card or voucher makes sure that your employee can have exactly what they want, and can be as tailored or as general as you wish.

Gift cards are a particularly effective recognition tool for large organisations, letting you give out high-value gifts for people very regularly, at a really affordable rate – bulk deals can bring the price of rewards down significantly, without impacting your employees' birthday spending power!

3. desk plant

Proven to increase humidity, keep air temperatures down and reduce carbon dioxide levels, the benefits of filling your office environment with green plants are endless. Ideal for a new colleague, or one that's struggling to put a personal stamp on their desk space, a pretty plant makes a perfect gift.

Cacti, succulents or donkey tails all grow neatly, need minimal care and don’t take up too much room. Pot them in a fun planter or encourage the rest of the team to get crafty and decorate their colleague's gift – it’s amazing the on-trend patterns you can achieve with a terracotta pot, a sharpie and some patience.

Plants are fantastic for employee wellbeing and performance, too – and there's science to back it up. A study carried out by Exeter University found that, when an office featured one plant per square metre, employee performance on memory retention tests improved, while an earlier study from NASA found that plants can help to remove over 100 volatile organic compounds from the air. The latter study was done in space, of course, but you can expect similar air purification impacts here on Earth!

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4. personalised stationery

Do you have an employee who could do with that little extra nudge to stay organized? Some bespoke stationery makes the perfect gift for an office colleague. There’s a great range out there to cater for all tastes – whether it be silly slogan pencils (these amazing Simpsons-themed ones, anyone?), a named mug or a more grown-up diary, taking the time for personalisation really elevates this gift.

Companies such as FiloFax and Kikki K offer great letter embossing services for you to add a name, job role or funny anecdote – just make sure it’s office appropriate!

5. A birthday day off

Simple but effective, a bonus holiday day for birthdays is something many companies have introduced as a way to allow employees to really celebrate in style. Naturally, this is more practical in some companies than others – if you have a small team all born in the month of a big deadline you might have some issues!

If a full day off isn’t always suitable, consider letting them save it for later in the year, offering more flexible working hours on a birthday day, or bring something of a party atmosphere into the office. Decorate your employees desk or organize a team lunch so it feels a little more special than a normal working day – it’ll boost morale for everyone, not just the person whose special day it is.

6. Make sure it matters

Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that people will value, and that it's presented with genuine care and appreciation for the employee's efforts over the year.

If it's a token item dropped on their desk with little thought, it's not going to have any impact – but thoughtful recognition is an amazingly simple way to engage staff, creating a great workplace culture where people feel valued for playing their part.

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