Remember when celebrations were as simple as posting a calendar with birthdays and special events? There are numerous celebration days to recognize, and leaders don’t want anyone to feel left out. Whether it’s an employee’s 40th birthday or National Donut Day (my personal favorite), there is always something to celebrate in the workplace.
How can leaders maximize acknowledging hard-working staff without accidentally overlooking anyone? Or worse, accidentally celebrating “National Cat Day” on “National Dog Day”?
The Great Organizers: Calendars
Calendars are a leader’s secret weapon. They may be traditional, but they’re tried and true. Get an oversized calendar and mark every conceivable celebration, birthday and obscure holiday. Post it in the break room next to the coffee machine. Trust me, nothing ensures participation like placing important information next to caffeine.
If the break room calendar could be a potential bust, consider empowering staff members who know how to make everyone feel special. Appoint a festivities facilitator who ensures everyone feels the love on their special days. Some schools form Sunshine Clubs, teams of staff who rally together to make celebrations meaningful.
If there are 10 birthdays in October, why not have a monthly celebratory lunch instead of 10 separate cake feasts? One, it’s efficient, and two, think of the calories saved! If you are crunched for time, select one day each month and designate two months of birthdays to celebrate.
Birthdays aren’t the only celebrations leaders can recognize collectively on a monthly basis. Each month has several staff-related holidays to recognize. For example, October includes Breast Cancer Awareness Month, National Principals Month, National Custodians Day, National Boss’ Day, National School Bus Safety Week and National First Responders Day, to name a few. One collective celebration during a staff meeting will ensure no one feels unrecognized.
Getting Social with Automation
There are apps that send automated birthday and other celebration wishes. Some social media platforms allow users to schedule posts in advance. Instead of trying to remember every recognition, you can customize your message, add optional images, set the date and forget about it.
Holiday Wheel of Celebrations
Too many obscure holidays to remember? Get a big wheel, list all the fun holidays and give it a spin every month. Whatever it lands on, the team celebrates! Amp up the fun by creating a theme focused on the selected day. Who doesn’t want to see their favorite leader wearing a crazy hat on “National Mad Hatter Day”? It’s fun and relieves stress. Plus, it’s a reminder that work doesn’t always have to be so serious.
Bonus: The Not-So-Secret Stash
Every leader should have an emergency box filled with generic cards and tiny gifts for those moments when someone whispers, “It’s Mark’s 15th teaching anniversary today!” and you had absolutely no idea. Don’t break the bank when building your stash. There are plenty of options for affordable card bundles and tasteful offerings for your staff – even just a thoughtful email can go a long way.
Leaders, it might seem like there’s a never-ending barrage of dates, days and delightful reasons to celebrate. By acknowledging our fantastic staff, we boost morale and create a happy, fun and energetic environment. Remember, a workplace that celebrates together, stays together. Or, at the very least, laugh together during one of those crazy, costumed celebration days!
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