They always seem to present some of the more awkward moments of office life, even if you don’t work for Dunder Mifflin. You know how it goes: A co-worker sticks his or her head into your doorway and says with minimal enthusiasm, “Hey, it’s Bob’s birthday—cake in the conference room, five minutes.”
Then everyone reluctantly assembles for another quick gathering that will start with a half-hearted, mumbled and off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday,” and end with sickeningly sweet supermarket sheet cake, before people start shuffling back to their desks as quickly as they can.
The management team at The Fort Worth Club in Fort Worth, Texas, thought there had to be a way to make office birthday recognitions less torturous and more of a treat. So now, they wait and hold one birthday party a month, to recognize everyone born in that period.
The club’s Human Resources Department organizes and promotes the monthly celebration, and everyone’s invited to come. Team-building games are included in the agenda, and the parties are also used as an occasion for making important announcements about employees’ accomplishments, personal and professional.
The parties are scheduled and announced for convenient and less-busy times, to try to ensure maximum attendance when no one will feel a rush to leave. And they are also structured to allow time, after everyone’s decompressed a bit, to have a discussion and review of the club’s mission statement, vision and values in a more relaxed setting.