How to Recognize Employee and Client Life Events

All employees and clients experience significant life events, and you should recognize those life events respectfully. Acknowledge these special times with employees and clients, taking into account each individual's reactions to these kinds of events:

  • Birthdays: If a person has acknowledged his or her birthday, a card signed by everyone in the office and perhaps a group lunch or a gift are in order.

  • Weddings: If you’re invited to an employee's or a client’s wedding, remember that being asked to attend is an honor. Act accordingly. Respond to the invitation promptly (and with the same formality as the invitation itself), and send a gift either to the bride’s parents or to the bride herself before or shortly after the wedding.

  • Babies: Avoid making the following mistakes if an employee or client is expecting:

    • Don't touch a pregnant woman’s stomach.

    • Don't ask a new parent detailed questions.

    • Don't subject others to every detail of your own baby experience.

    Unless you're good friends with the person having the baby, group gifts are preferable to office baby showers.

  • Funerals: As soon as you hear about the loss, draft a letter of condolence in black ink on a plain white fold-over card or a plain monarch sheet. At funerals or memorial services, your dress should reflect the somber nature of the occasion. Wear a dark gray, black, or navy blue suit with a white shirt and dark tie if you’re a man, or a dark dress or suit with subdued jewelry if you’re a woman.

    It’s important to be sensitive to any specific cultural customs, observances, and rituals that grieving members may have during their period of mourning. Find out what will take place and what may be expected of you during the ceremony ahead of time, so you’ll be knowledgeable and act appropriately.

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