Birthdays call to mind so many things: The Birthday Song, birthday cakes, birthday presents, birthday hats, birthday parties, birthday wishes, birthday suits…and the list could go on.
One simple need drives all this birthday fanfare: We all want to feel special from time to time, and a birthday is the perfect time to do so. The need goes far beyond a material love for presents.
American anthropological studies have pinpointed birthdays as “significant life course rituals” that can actually help ease stress during tumultuous times, and some surveys suggest that what we treasure most about birthdays is getting attention from the people around us—friends, loved ones, coworkers, and bosses.
For most adults, workplaces are the perfect venue for feeling the specialness they crave. It’s important to acknowledge employee birthdays because most people spend a huge chunk of their time at work and justifiably expect to feel special and appreciated for doing so.
Satisfying deep needs by celebrating employee birthdays has the potential to increase employees’ sense of value, appreciation, happiness, and self esteem.
It could even improve retention as job hunting tends to increase by as much as 12% around birthdays.
There’s truly no downside to doing all you can to make your loyal employees feel special on their special days, and the list below will make doing so way easier than ever. Use these birthday messages as inspiration for your own personalized notes or shoutouts on your favorite employee recognition platform. You can also simply copy and paste your way into employees’ hearts. Have fun!
Quick & Simple Employee Birthday Wishes
These messages get your best birthday wishes across quickly and elegantly. Suitable for relationships of all levels of closeness, these just-right messages fit as easily into birthday cards as they do emails.
“Here’s to your birthday—a big day of new beginnings! Wishing you a year brimming with much-deserved good health, happiness, and joy.”
Pair this birthday wish with: This Mindfulness Box
“Happy birthday to you! May the universe grant YOU all the kindness and positivity you grant to everyone you meet.”
Pair this birthday wish with: The Care Package Lite
“Happy birthday! Take this moment to reflect with pride and gratitude on the wonderful things you’ve accomplished this year and also to welcome this new age with a smile and a heart full of optimism.”
Pair this birthday wish with: Murder Mystery in a Box
Why These Messages Work as Quick and Simple Birthday Wishes:
These birthday greetings don’t take long to read, but they’ll keep employees smiling for hours. The wishes feel personal and thoughtful, but they straddle that ideal line between saying too much and saying too little.
Thoughtful & Meaningful Employee Birthday Messages
A birthday message rings deeper when it contains extra layers of gratitude, hope, and well wishes for the special recipient. These reflective messages should aim to touch hearts, cultivate hope, and inspire plenty of smiles.
“May your cake be sweet, your hugs be long, your heart be joyful, and all your wishes be granted. It’s a true honor and privilege to work with you, and I believe you deserve every moment of happy life this world can offer.”
“I hope this year brings you all the happiness and fulfilment you need to never again approach a birthday with a head full of wishes, but to instead welcome the coming years with a heart full of gratitude for all that you have and all you have accomplished. Have a great birthday!”
“May you see past the material trappings of birthdays and embrace the gift that is welcoming another year of life and all the ups, downs, adventures, joys, laughs, and memories that come along with it. It is these things, not years, that make the true measure of life. Good luck on your next adventure!”
Pair this birthday wish with: A Happy Hour Box
Why These Messages Feel Thoughtful and Meaningful:
These messages get to meaning by prompting employees to reflect on multiple aspects of their lives while also looking toward the future with renewed optimism. By conveying these wishes, you can elevate someone’s birthday from fun to fulfilling.
Funny Employee Birthday Wishes
Funny birthday wishes aim to stand out in a sea of sameness. These messages, with their elements of surprise and absurdity, give a birthday gift more important than any money can buy; they give the gift of laughter.
“Did you know you can calculate the meaning of life by subtracting your age from your birth month and dividing by your birth date? (Or you could just skip the math and accept that aging is the only constant in life.) Happy birthday!”
“Scientists recently pinpointed a correlation between quantity of birthdays and a long lifespan. Keep up the good work!”
Pair this birthday wish with: A curated gift box
“Today is a day to celebrate age, wisdom, maturity…oh, and also you. Happy birthday!”
Why These Messages Work as Funny Birthday Wishes:
These happy birthday wishes contain just enough surprise to keep recipients on their toes. With hope, they’ll warm the birthday person up with a few chuckles so they’re primed to have full-on belly laughs during their main-event celebration. They also pair well with a joke, gag gift, or work meme to really let them know you are thinking about them on their big day.
Belated Employee Birthday Wishes
Belated birthday wishes should include a light apology but also keep the spotlight on the celebrant. Over emphasizing lateness or guilt serves the conscience of the sender more than the happiness of the recipient.
“Einstein once called our human delusions of time and space “a kind of prison.” I have freed you! I hope today you feel that the sincerity of my birthday wishes cannot be bound by the petty restrictions of human time. Happy belated birthday!”
“For your birthday, I wished you could feel the joys of presence. You did such a good job that it took me days to break through your mindful state and wish you a happy birthday. A very happy belated to you!”
Pair this birthday wish with: A personalized hobby mug
“I was on my way to wish you a very happy birthday when I foolishly followed a rabbit with a waistcoat and a pocket watch down a hole and…well, long story short, here I am on the other side to wish you a very happy, albeit late, birthday!”
Pair this birthday wish with: An Unplugged Box
Why These Messages Work as Belated Birthday Wishes:
These messages acknowledge their tardiness without making it totally awkward or allowing it to completely overshadow the underlying birthday message. The thoughtfulness behind them is enough to make up for a little bit of lateness.
Employee Birthday Wishes from Boss
Employee birthdays are the perfect time to let a little workplace formality slide and show your team you see them not only as good employees, but also as fantastic humans. These messages should touch on qualities you admire in both the person and the employee. They are also ready to be paired with the employee rewards of your choice.)
“On your birthday today, I’m inclined to wish for your success. But if the proactivity and drive you’ve demonstrated as an employee are any indication, then you don’t need wishes to make amazing things happen. I am grateful for all that you are and all that you accomplish as an amazing employee and a remarkable person. Have a wonderful birthday!”
“Warmest birthday wishes to an employee whose hard work, creativity, and insight turn all our collaborations into gifts I absolutely cherish. I count myself lucky to be among the people who get to celebrate you on your birthday. Have a great day!”
Pair this birthday wish with: A cozy socks pack
“I’m so grateful that on your birthday I get the chance to do for you what you do for the entire team each day: Provide smiles, laughter, and a can-do sense of optimism. A wonderful employee like you, who gives so freely of their time and energy, deserves to have every birthday wish granted and as much cake as they can possibly eat.”
Pair this birthday wish with: The Cactique box
Why These Messages Work as Boss Birthday Wishes:
These messages contain an appropriate amount of warmth for an employer-employee relationship. Messages that allow bosses to convey admiration for the great employee and also the great person strengthen the pair’s fruitful collaborations and camaraderie.
Employee Birthday Wishes from Coworkers
“Happy birthday, [name/nickname]! May your year be filled with [favorite food/office snack], laughs like the ones we had during [shared memory], and many days full of [favorite hobby/activity]. Example: Happy birthday, strawbelly! May your year be filled with pretzel nuggets, laughs like the ones we had during spirit week, and many days full of hula-hooping.”
Pair this birthday wish with: A movie night pack
“I remembered your birthday without Facebook! If that doesn’t prove my feelings, then I don’t know what will. (You putting it on my calendar doesn’t change anything.) But seriously, you’re my favorite.”
Pair this birthday wish with: A custom desk set
“Enjoy all the attention you’re getting now, because when all this is over, guess what? It’ll be just you and me again. (And I totally can’t wait.)”
Pair this birthday wish with: A drool-worthy snack gift box
Why These Messages Work as Coworker Birthday Wishes:
These messages get their strength from exclusivity. They cannot be exchanged by just anyone; they can only be shared among the closest of friends and coworkers.
New Employee Birthday Messages
By giving a new employee a birthday wish, you have a chance to reiterate your initial welcome and make your latest great addition feel even closer to their new team. Written and delivered with warmth and sincerity, these messages can help cultivate closeness long before you’ve made specific memories to draw from.
“Happy birthday to you, our latest and greatest! I can’t wait to know you well enough to write a birthday message absolutely no one else will understand. Welcome to the team!”
“It has been truly delightful getting to know you so far, and I absolutely cannot wait to continue that journey. Thanks for being part of the team!”
Pair this birthday wish with: A coveted custom reward specific to your company culture
“Happy birthday to the newest member of our team! We may not have an embarrassing nickname for you yet, but don’t worry: we’ll be watching. Have a wonderful day!”
Pair this birthday wish with: Surprise desk decoration or any of our other office birthday ideas
Why These Messages Work For New Employees:
These messages tingle with beautiful possibilities. They point out that the best is yet to come, and make both the sender and the receiver feel even more excited for the beautiful relationship on the horizon.
People Also Ask These Questions About Employee Birthday Wishes
Q: How do I wish a coworker a happy birthday in 2021?
- A: There are many ways to wish a coworker a happy birthday. Make them feel special in whatever way feels most natural to you, whether that’s through greeting cards, virtual messages, in-person celebrations, thoughtful gifts, or a combination of all those things. Find inspiration with these pre-written coworker birthday wishes and gift ideas.
Q: How do I write a birthday note for work?
- A: Write a birthday note for work by copying or getting inspiration from some pre-written heartfelt employee birthday wishes. Consider your relationship to the birthday celebrant to choose or craft a message that will be well received.
Q: How do I respond to a birthday message at work?
- A: Respond to a birthday message at work with a simple “thank-you” delivered in-person, over the phone, or through a message. Express your appreciation that the person put time and effort into making you feel special on your big day.
Q: How do I celebrate an employee’s birthday virtually?
- A: Celebrate an employee’s birthday virtually by sending them the perfect birthday message in a card, social post, or text message. You can even pair your message with a thoughtful gift and an engaging virtual celebration.
Q: What is a unique way to wish an employee a happy birthday?
- A: Wish an employee happy birthday in a unique way by sending them a personal birthday message, complemented by the perfect gift or event.
Q: What is the best way to wish an employee a belated birthday?
- A: Wish an employee a belated birthday by acknowledging the tardiness without allowing it to overshadow the underlying birthday message. You can find pre-written messages specifically for wishing someone a happy belated birthday in this roundup.