Does your team know how much you appreciate their efforts?
They can’t read your mind. So, celebrating work anniversaries and milestones is a way to showcase your gratitude to them.
By celebrating the work anniversary, you can tell each employee the significance of their presence in the company and that another year of their time definitely deserves a celebration!
A study found that good company culture increases revenue by 4X.
In today’s article, we’ll take a closer look at celebrating employee milestones and anniversaries.
Why Celebrating Work Anniversary Is Important
Work anniversary is a special and important event in an employee’s life. Celebrating work anniversaries is a sign of telling your employees they’re important. And you care about the time and effort they give to the company.
Here are some reasons:
It helps in creating a recognition culture
Work anniversary is an excellent opportunity to thank your employees for sticking with you and contributing to your company’s growth. Your employee recognition program must include rewarding employees on their anniversaries.
It improves the employee retention rate
Feeling undervalued is the most common reason why employees leave a company. When employees feel appreciated and recognizes by their company and feel that their work matters, they stick with the organization.
It encourages other employees
Mark my words, every employee remembers their work anniversary.
When you celebrate an employee’s work anniversary, you’re telling your entire staff that your organization appreciates and celebrates employees’ milestones. It increases employee motivation and inspires them to strive and achieve the same milestones.
It helps to attract top talent
Work Anniversary awards don’t just help you retain your current employees, they also help you attract top talent. Share your employees’ success and celebration videos and images across social media. It sends a powerful message to prospective hires: we value and recognize our employees!
It helps to get peace of mind
When you recognize your employees and celebrate their milestones, it gives you peace of mind and a good night’s sleep. They are more than your employees – They’re someone’s child, parent, and friend. Appreciate their service and enhance their experience.
Top 5 Best Practices for Celebrating Employees’ Anniversaries
Let’s look at some best practices for recognizing and celebrating employees’ work anniversaries in the modern workplace.
1. Leverage the power of technology
Imagine keeping track of every employee’s anniversary and birthday on a spreadsheet and manually checking it every week?
It’s 2022, and no manager should have to be subjected to such time-consuming manual work, especially when so many cost-effective software solutions are available. When it comes to celebrating an employee’s work anniversary, technology is your best friend. Employee recognition and reward software like EngageWith are essential to automate and streamline the entire process.
This engagement software can help HR managers by sending automatic reminders to them and emails to employees on their work anniversaries and birthdays, and so much more.
2. Host an award ceremony
Offer praise and awards during a company-wide gathering. It can be very encouraging for the employee receiving the award and inspiring for those watching as new employees may aspire to achieve a long tenure.
That said, if your company doesn’t have the resources to organize a ceremony or if your team is working remotely, there is an alternative solution available.
Using employee recognition software, you can publicly announce on the company channel (Slack or MS Teams) when an employee is celebrating a work anniversary. Or, you can also send a company-wide email highlighting each individual who is celebrating an anniversary as well.
3. Offer wide-range of gift options
Gone are the days of cheesy corporate-branded swag. You should offer employees a wide range of practical gifts that they will use and want. You’re offering a part of your budget to buying these gifts, making them memorable.
From perfumes to fashion items, travel accessories, electronics, kitchenware, coupons, and more. Providing a wide range of gift options ensures that employees will purchase a gift that will be used and remembered fondly. You can also add a special touch to a gift or award with a thoughtful, personalized message
4. Celebrate both big and small milestones
Most people work at several companies throughout their careers. The average tenure in a company has decreased over the years. The median tenure for professionals aged 25 to 34 is only 3.2 years.
As a result, celebrating and recognizing the in-between years has become just as important, if not more important, to incentivize employees and make them feel appreciated and valued continuously.
5. Tie anniversary celebrations to your Employee Recognition Program
Don’t forget, your employees need regular recognition and appreciation as well. Celebrating employees for major milestones is not enough to keep employees appreciated and motivated.
That’s where an effective Employee Recognition Program comes into fill in the gaps. It offers much-needed spontaneous and genuine rewards and recognition outside of traditional corporate milestones.
To automate bonuses, rewards, and public shout-outs for special events like work anniversaries, years of service, or birthdays, check out EngageWith!
Recommended Read: 9 Best Slack Employee Recognition Apps [In-Depth Comparison]
20 Creative Work Anniversary Celebration Ideas
There are various ways to celebrate your employees’ work anniversaries (more or less formal) depending on your company culture.
Looking for some inspiration for your own office celebrations? In this article, you’ll find some interesting ways to celebrate employees’ milestones and work anniversaries.
1. Write Handwritten Notes
Employees form the backbone of your organization. When it comes to their work anniversaries and milestones, even the smallest action of gratitude can create all the difference.
Leave small handwritten notes on their desk before they arrive in the morning. Make the employees’ teammates and managers contribute to the note.
This way, when they get to see it, they will be left will a feeling of value and understand how much your organization cares for them. After all, handwritten notes create a special place in the heart, especially in the world of emails and chat apps.
2. Organize a Team Celebration
One of the simplest things that you can do to keep their spirits high is organizing a team celebration to celebrate their milestones and anniversaries.
Let other people know how hard and persistently has someone worked in the organization. Give them their due appreciation and let the entire team rejoice in their achievement.
The event does not have to be something big or expensive. You can simply ask the teammates to come up with creative ideas and make the small occasion a big success.
3. Give a Gift Voucher
Thank your employees for their hard work by giving them a gift voucher. Make sure you don’t forget to add the element of fun to it. Give them a gift voucher from their favorite store or for a product they’ve wanted to own for a long time.
If you’re clueless about these things, you can just give them an Amazon voucher and let them do the shopping. Take your employees out of their comfort zone and gift them some unusual vouchers for activities like skydiving, skiing, and rock climbing, among others.
Snappy gives employees the freedom to choose a gift that excites them the most for all the hard work and dedication they have put in. They’ll feel appreciated with a gift they actually want.
4. Shout Out On Social Media
Want to publicize their special day? The best way is to celebrate your employees’ milestones and work anniversaries on social media.
Give them a shout-out on the platform and make them feel valued. While on the one hand, your employees are sure to feel motivated and thankful for this gesture, your customers will start seeing you as a brand that is human and cares.
Check out this post to get some inspiration on other reward ideas for employees.
5. Give A Day Time Off (Paid)
Probably one of the best things that you can do for your employees is to give them a day off from their schedule.
The point of celebrating career milestones and work anniversaries is to recognize the hard work that your employees have done through the past year in your organization.
So, what can be better than giving them paid leave for the day? Let them take a moment to reflect upon the credible work they’ve done for your organization.
Recommended Read: 15 Types of Work Leave to Include in Your Leave Policy
6. Decorate the Workstation
There’s no end to the creativity that you can bring to the table when celebrating your employees’ work anniversaries and milestones. And the best part is that you don’t even have to spend a lot on it.
The little things that you do to show them that they’re valued speak a lot about your company’s culture. Make sure their efforts are noticed by revamping their workstation. You can add plants, and flowers, arrange little notes, gift them a coffee mug or even leave them a tasty snack!
7. Have a Career Planning Session
A great organization always believes in growing with its employees. The more you help your employees see their future clearly, the more respect you will have from them.
Make sure you add to their dreams as an organization. Work anniversaries can be a great day to help them discover their path for the future. Organize a career planning session for them, so that they can advance their careers and keep on adding even a higher degree of value to your organization.
8. Create a Video
One of the creative ways that you can channelize videos for your employees is by asking their peers to record their feelings for them. Come up with a list of 5-10 funny questions to ask your employee’s teammates and make them record the responses on video.
This way, you’re not just creating a fun work environment but also making your employees valued. And what other day can be better to do this activity than your employee’s work anniversary?
Watch the smile blossom on their faces as they watch the video.
9. Lunch With CEO
One of the biggest dreams of every employee in an organization is to earn appreciation or share a few words with higher management. And because that doesn’t happen every day, it becomes a prized expression.
So, when your employees have their milestones and work anniversaries, why not give them a chance to have lunch with the CEO.
Not only would it mean a great deal to the employee but also make them exchange ideas with the management and revive their motivations.
10. Sponsor a Trip On the 5th Year Work Anniversary
Make special gestures for your loyal and old employees by going the extra mile. For example, if an employee has been working in your organization for the past 5 years, sponsor a trip for them.
Make their years count by showing how much they mean to your organization. Give them some time to celebrate this grand achievement, they’ve garnered for themselves!
FullContact has a “Paid, Paid Vacation” concept. They give their old employee $7500 to go on vacation.
11. Charitable Donation
Your employees may also give support to a charitable cause. Use work anniversaries to remind your team about the bigger picture by making a charitable donation in their name. By supporting a cause that they deeply care about, you’re aligning the business with their own values.
For instance, if your employee is an animal lover, donate to a local animal shelter. This way, you are not only recognizing your employee but also supporting the good work of charities in your city.
Recommended Read: What Is ‘Volunteer Time Off’ and Why Should You Implement it?
12. Create A Service Award Program
The best way to stay consistent is to create a formal anniversary award program. Sounds boring? You can make it spicy! The goal is to offer a personal way to celebrate this special day with each team member.
Don’t give old-school gifts like plaques or trophies. Instead, give employees their choice of gift cards, company swag, or redeemable reward points.
Employee recognition tools like EngageWith gives employees the power to choose their rewards. The Kudos and Shoutouts they receive get converted into points that can be redeemed on platforms they prefer.
13. Pay for their online course to learn a new skill
When you invest in employees’ personal growth and professional development, they appreciate it. You can pick a physical or online conference and pay for them to attend it. You can also purchase a course on Udemy, or get a subscription to a site like Skillshare.
14. Share their story in the company newsletter
If you regularly send a newsletter to customers, prospects or employees, share their stories in the newsletter. Sit down with each employee celebrating a work anniversary. Collect information about your time with the company.
Talk to employees who work with them regularly and see if they would like to provide feedback about the employee. Collect it and share it across the company.
Want to recognise your employees’ efforts and boost their morale?
15. Send flowers, a fruit basket, or a plant
Buying a bouquet of flowers or a fruit basket to an employee is the simplest way to show appreciation. These gifts can brighten up your employee’s workspace for the week. Bring these items to the office or your employee’s home for a special touch. Be sure to add a personal note saying “thank you” and tell them why you appreciate them.
Houseplants can make memorable gifts because every time your employee looks at a plant, they will be reminded of your company. Your employees may not want the responsibility of taking care of the plant. Knowing your people will probably go without saying, but never gift a plant to someone who doesn’t want one.
16. Give your employees more responsibility and a pay rise
When your employees are engaged, they don’t want to stagnate. Over the year, your employee has learned much about you and your business. If they are in a minor role, it may be time to start planning for a more significant employee role. Make sure to give them a raise to handle the extra responsibilities.
If your company doesn’t currently have a job opening, sit down with that employee to discuss their future with the company. Even if you cannot give them greater responsibility at the moment, having an open discussion about their career demonstrates your want to invest in their development.
17. A LinkedIn recommendation works great
There is a good chance that many of your employees will not retire from your organization. However, your employees deserve your support. They have given so much to your organization!
Write an excellent LinkedIn recommendation for your employees that they can rely on for years to come, no matter where they end up in your organization.
18. Getting a gym membership
Healthy employees are like the jewel in the crown of any organization. But sometimes, amid a busy work schedule, employees put everything aside, including their health.
As an employer, you can change this by encouraging employees to adopt healthier lifestyles. On the anniversary of the employees’ work, you can allow them to achieve the most incredible wealth, that is, “HEALTH”! Giving your employees company-sponsored gym memberships on their anniversary can help them get started on their health journey.
19. Depicting their journey
Reminiscing about an organization’s long journey can be fun and emotional for an employee. You can present a video or photo series on the day of the employee’s work anniversary. Doing this from the side while recognizing the employee will make the event even more special for them.
You can plan for it by getting videos and photos from staff associates. And then, it’s a further compilation and played through during the thanksgiving event. Especially for long-serving employees, picturing their journey as a timeline of their work life makes it both inspiring and memorable for everyone.
20. Offer stock options in your company
An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) allows employees to invest in the company they work for. Such programs allow employees to buy company shares lower than the market.
For example, an ESOP can be opened for employees who have worked for the company for five or more years on their employment anniversary date. Thus, it also serves as a very effective employee retention strategy that an employer can implement.
It’s best to pair gift-like stock options with a more specific gift because stock options invest in the future. Your team will love feeling like they have some ownership in the future of your business.
In this guide, you’ll find some fantastic ideas on how to celebrate work anniversaries.
Here are some benefits to celebrate employees’ work anniversaries:
– It can help to build strong teams.
– It encourages employees and creates a positive company culture.
– It reminds employees that the company cares about them and wants them to succeed.
Here are some amazing ways to celebrate work anniversaries remotely:
– Send a handwritten letter from the boss.
– Invite peers to share virtual work anniversary wishes online.
– “What I like about you” virtual activity.
– Deliver food to their homes.
– Upgrade their home office setup.
Here are some amazing employee reward ideas that attract and retain employees without breaking the bank.
To make sure your employees never feel undervalued, Here are 24 employee recognition and appreciation ideas.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Now, let’s turn it over to you—what does your workplace do to celebrate work anniversaries, and how would you like to celebrate your work anniversary? Let us know!
EngageWith is an employee recognition and rewards tool. Employees can appreciate and recognize peers, juniors, or managers by giving them Kudos or Shout outs for a job well done. It can also be used to celebrate and reward/gift employees on their birthdays and work anniversaries. Take a Demo Now!
Originally published on April 22, 2020 12:57 PM, updated on July 15 2022