By RedBalloon for Business

The impact of celebrating employee milestones at work 

“You can be a leader in your workplace, your neighbourhood, or your family, all without having a title,” Travis Bradberry.

In this series of posts we are discussing ways that you can ‘shift people’s experience of work’ to make positive changes for employees and businesses. In post #4 we talked about how to create a good employee welcome experience and onboard new-starters in a time of remote working.

In this fifth post we look at how celebrating employee milestones can not only make someone’s day, but also build trust and connection with your brand and business.

Why do we need to celebrate personal employee milestones?

Business is all about relationships. How can we successfully create meaningful relationships if we’re only acknowledging people for what they do for the business? Employees are people first, and they should be treated as such. That means creating a sense of community by celebrating personal milestones too. 

It makes good business sense for people to feel special, loved and noticed. Celebrating personal milestones, like birthdays, is a great way to establish emotional connection to your brand. It builds trust with your people, as there is a level of intimacy established when you know and celebrate the occasions of importance in an employee’s life.

Special occasions also offer the opportunity to have conversations with people about their own life story, and how working with this business fits into that. The way that people found and decided to stay with your business is part of your brand’s story, and it’s a valuable thing to discuss and celebrate. It’s a great opportunity to understand why they choose to stay – this creates a culture of openness, trust and gratitude; all key ingredients to being an employer, business or supplier of choice. 

Giving experiences to celebrate milestones

So you’ve decided you want to celebrate the personal milestones of your people, but what’s the best way to do it?

It’s not hard to make someone’s day – be it an employee, customer, client or supplier – giving an experience is the perfect way to make people feel truly seen and appreciated. Experiences help build relationships, and the workplace is no exception. People do not leave their lives at the door when they enter the office each morning. 

Gifting and giving experiences needs to go beyond something you do to influence customers to buy a certain product or service. This is about creating a connection, and a connection with your employees is one of the most crucial aspects to business success. As Seth Godin said,

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

And your people are customers too. They are the ones who help create and disseminate the folklore and stories about your organisation – experiences can help you make those stories great. It is no surprise that when your people thrive, so too does your business. The common theme underpinning thriving businesses is a sense of trust and when people feel noticed and appreciated as individuals. 

Tips for celebrating personal milestones in your business:

  • Know your people. Does Jane from HR like personal or public acknowledgement? Make sure you celebrate them in a way that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable. This will build a sense of trust and comfort.
  • A little help from their friends. Support from colleagues is key to employee happiness and engagement, so do your background research so you can create a truly personalised (and appreciated) recognition of any personal milestones. By discussing plans with an employee’s friends at work, you’ll guarantee you’re on the right track.
  • Use experiences for a truly unique and personalised sentiment. Instead of the one-size-fits-all rectangular cake from the local bakery, an experience selected specifically for that employee based on what they enjoy doing, will leave a lasting impact and make them feel truly special and noticed. 

Invest in your people and make sure to celebrate their personal milestones. A thriving workplace is ultimately created by leaders who provide the business and its people with consistent love and attention. 


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To find out more about how the RedBalloon for Business team can help you reward and recognise your people, contact us today.

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