24x7 365DAYS Available around the clock
0845 3 900 900
HomeHuman Resources

The Marie Antoinette School Of Human Resources.

Marie Antoinette is known mainly for three things,
  • Being married to the King of France,
  • Dying at the Guillotine and
  • Uttering the following "qu'ils mangent de la brioche ", which translates to "let them eat cake".
Whilst being the King of France, or being married to him, may help with some HR functions it is not an option open to many. The Guillotine may appeal as a useful negotiating tool, but where would you store it?

So that leaves us with cake.

So when would Marie-Antionette have suggested that the current HR professional "...eat cake "?

Celebration of Company Milestones

Nothing celebrates an occasion like a big cake. If the company has been in existence for 10 years, collecting the staff together on a Friday afternoon for a quick CEO speech and the ceremonial cutting of a cake complete with the company logo and "10 years of top service to the IT industry" is an inexpensive way of engaging all the staff in the event.

Somehow a cake transports us back to an extremely happy time in our childhood. It has an emotional affect on the group assembled, unlike flowers or other gifts it can also be enjoyed by all.
Take a cake into an open plan office and count how long it is before you have an audience. Everyone gets time to 'digest' themessage on the cake

1. Launch of a New Product or Service

The sales and marketing departments can use a cake, complete with marketing slogan or picture of the latest widget to let everyone in the company know what's new.

2. Achieving a new Industry standard.

If having strived for a year to obtain a recognised industry accreditation, what better way of letting the staff know that their hard work has paid off. For example, if if you have jumped through the hoops to gain recognition of your 'Investors In People' status, then a cake with the Investors In People logo alongside the Company name will get the message across.

3. Welcome a new member of staff

We all think of a cake to say goodbye and good luck, well how about one saying: "Welcome - we are glad to have you." You may well have paid a recruitment Agency several thousand pounds to get this well sort after individual, so an extra £50 to say welcome is well worth the expense. The new man or woman will be aware that their arrival was both anticipated and well thought out.

4. Exceeding targets or goals

Most departments have Key Performance Indicators by which they are judged. Whether it be: Monthly Sales, New Memberships, Number of on-line vistors, etc. etc. A cake to celebrate hitting and exceeding this KPI is a good way of rewarding the team involved.

5. Personal Events

We all have a life outside work and significant events that mean a lot to us. Taking the time as an HR professional to remember these for your employees shows that their commitment to the company is reciprocated.
The office grapevine will soon tell you when these events crop up.

Events that may warrant a small cake can include:
  • New born baby (remember, the man is also over the moon at becoming a parent !).
  • Engagement.
  • Passing of work related exams.
  • Retirement (consider a picture cake, perhaps hobby related).
  • Birthdays.
  • Major anniversaries (anyone married for 40 years deserves a cake at least).
So how do you go about organising such a cake?

Most bakeries can produce a cake to order given a weeks notice.
There are even one or two companies offering an overnight service.
Your logo can be printed using edible ink on to edible paper (in much the same way as your printer does). Logos and details can be e-mailed to the bigger bakeries. If you are lucky enough to be city based they may even deliver. Hence with phone and e-mail the whole lot can be organised in minutes.

In terms of cake size, speak to the bakery or look on the net, most cake company web sites have portion guidelines (though these can vary widely).
Budget to spend between £1-2 per person and you won't go to far wrong.

The next time you look at the diary or hear of a celebration, be it small, personal, or a major corporate happening consider ordering a cake and make everyone happy.