How is celebrating birthdays at work a crime?

Friday February 1 2019


By Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka

My boss summoned me because I celebrated a colleague’s birthday from office. We just used a few minutes to surprise the colleague and cut cake. I was used to celebrating birthdays at my previous workplace. This helped us put a smile on colleauges’ faces and make their birthday special. How is a few minutes off work to celebrate a colleague’s birth distractive? Joy

Dear Joy,
Every organisation has a culture that defines it. Culture can be defined as the character and nature of an organisation.

It is what makes a business unique and is the totality of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviour, and attitudes.

Positive workplace culture attracts talent, drives engagement, impacts happiness and satisfaction, and affects performance.

If an organisation wants to leave a mark on its employees and create a captivating culture, it should establish strong traditions such as staff retreats, team building, recognition and reward practices, recognising employee birthdays and company anniversaries, etc.

Traditions may be one of the most important legacies for a company and the key to a great culture. These build meaningful connections between employees and the organisation, improve cohesion at work, foster a sense of belonging, strengthen the organisation’s identity, heighten morale and create a positive work environment.

It is always important for organisations to review the current traditions in regard to their importance to the employees, retain the valuable ones, retool others and over time discard the less meaningful ones.

As a new employee, you can appreciate your organisation’s culture through observing the workplace behaviour and interacting with fellow colleagues. Celebrating birthdays may not be one of your company’s practices yet an important aspect, have a dialogue with your supervisor and evaluate if it can be adopted.

Alice Nankya L. Nsibuka
HR business partner
NMG - Uganda
[email protected]