Your team is better than office cake.

Let me start by saying that no one loves a party more than me. But what happens when standard workplace celebrations become a bore, or worse, a drag?

The burkeMICHAEL+ team is a tight-knit group of talented people who give it their all, every day. They deserve acknowledgement, especially around big milestone dates. Coordinating a cake, passing a card for signing, and gathering everyone to bust out an off-key song… It seems like too much and not enough at the same time. So that got me thinking: When there’s something important to celebrate at work, how should I honor my staff’s contributions in ways that’s authentic, creative, and actually meaningful?

Here are some ways we toast the big stuff at burkeMICHAEL+. Whether you’re the decider/implementor, or you have a culture committee that takes this on, we’re sharing because we like you, and we believe ideas are only as good as the people who steal them.

REAL FOOD | Forget cake. Hop on Postmates to order in lunch for everyone and screen something on Netflix in the conference room. Or hire in a charcuterie happy hour spread, pop a few bottles and let everyone knock off a little early.

GREAT GIFT | Look to the unusual. UncommonGoods offers inspired products for all tastes and interests, and their packaging is top-notch. The Sill delivers gorgeous, hard-to-kill plants of all sizes by mail. Personalized stationary from MOO is another great option, with templated designs that print and ship FAST.

A REAL DAY OFF | Giving someone a floating personal holiday to do whatever they want, when they want, is one of the most meaningful gestures you can make. Let them attach it to a Friday or a Monday for a build-your-own long weekend.

DONATION | Where your team gives time and resources is an important part of who they are. Making a donation from your company to their nonprofit cause will hero their efforts and let them share about the orgs they think are important.

DEALER’S CHOICE | Ask your staff individually how they want to celebrate. Let them chose which of these ways they’d most enjoy being acknowledged. They’ll probably have new ideas to consider, too.

CAKE | Some people love cake, and if they want cake, get them cake. Let them blow out the candles, cut the first slice, take it home to their children… whatever floats their boat. No judgment.

GET PERSONAL | Your company, like ours, probably has predictable gathering times. Take a few minutes at the start of these meetings to say something about your people and their milestones. Articulating their accomplishments in front of their peers and collaborators will mean more than a cake any day.

 

Mary Frances | President + Ringmaster
burkeMICHAEL+

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