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11 Ways to Celebrate Employee Work Anniversaries and Milestones

Nowadays, there’s a concerted effort to make the workplace a positive and meaningful place. For one thing, employers have recognized that this is a highly effective way of boosting engagement and productivity among employees.

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Nowadays, there’s a concerted effort to make the workplace a positive and meaningful place. For one thing, employers have recognized that this is a highly effective way of boosting engagement and productivity among employees.

If you’re keen on replicating this in your workplace, then one of the first places you should start is to reward employees' work anniversaries and milestones.

Whether it’s the new recruit celebrating their first year on the job, or a long-time employee who’s clocking in fifteen years, employee anniversary recognition is a crucial part of showing your team that you care.

Why should you celebrate employee work anniversaries and milestones? 🤔

Today’s employers are increasingly looking for ways to boost employee engagement and motivation among their teams. Some companies are focusing on building a feedback culture – in fact, 89% of HR leaders say ongoing peer feedback is key to success.

Meanwhile, others are overhauling their hiring strategies, making use of tools like diversity recruitment software to ensure their workforce is diverse, equal, and inclusive.

But have you considered a more tailored approach that singles out individual employees for all the right reasons? Could you be doing more to recognize the achievements of each team member?

Alongside DEI initiatives, this is arguably one of the most important things you can do to show your staff that you recognize and value their work. This is because employee recognition:

  • Shows employees you are paying attention
  • Makes employees feel appreciated and valued
  • Builds a stronger team
  • Creates a positive work environment
  • Promotes loyalty to the company

Indeed, according to Reward Gateway, 60% of employees surveyed wanted bosses to increase investment in reward and public recognition programs. So without further ado, let’s explore the best ways to plan employee work anniversary celebrations and milestones.

Here are 11 ideas to recognize employees' work anniversaries and milestones 🎊

Though there are myriad ways to implement employee anniversary recognition, we’ve gathered a list of our favorites to get you started.

1. Gifts based on years of service

Offering employee appreciation gifts or keepsakes that correspond to years of service is a great way to underscore your appreciation for an employee’s longevity. Depending on the type of work anniversary, keepsakes may include stationary, electronics, jewelry, or even an engraved plaque – bonus points if they relate to the organization and its culture in some way! 

Other meaningful gifts include a one-person meal delivery service, shared experiences, wellness subscriptions, and gift cards. These are more appropriate for shorter years of service but there’s no doubt they’ll be appreciated!

2. Time off, vacations, and sabbaticals

Sometimes, the best gifts are the intangible ones. If you have an employee celebrating an anniversary, offering them extra vacation or time off is a wonderful way of showing that you understand how precious their time is. It also underscores that you don’t expect them to give 100% at work without recognition.

Sabbaticals are another gift that could have more benefits than you think. Offering your employees a safety net to explore other avenues of work may seem scary at first. However, it’s effective in promoting a growth-first mindset that, overall, will contribute to increased productivity and engagement among employees. They may even return with a whole new host of skills that benefit your company!

3. Awards ceremony

Hosting a mini awards ceremony is a great way to celebrate the anniversary work of groups of employees, whilst getting everyone involved. Making the awards low-stakes can also be a great idea. In other words, get everyone to vote on superlatives that emphasize employees’ quirks in a positive way. 

For example, you may vote on who’s the biggest coffee drinker, who brings the best lunch, or who’s the most punctual. Don’t underestimate how reassuring even the smallest bit of recognition can be!

4. Trivia game

A low-key but meaningful way to show employee anniversary recognition is to host a trivia game focused on the celebrated employee. Where did they grow up? What was the name of their first pet? These small questions are another great way of showing interest in your colleague and may even serve as conversational icebreakers!

Trivia games can also work well for cohorts of employees that started at the same time. If you’re celebrating groups of colleagues, another great way to celebrate work anniversaries is to try escape room puzzles. Team building has never been so fun!

5. Events or outings

Group outings to celebrate a team or employee's work anniversary offer up a whole host of opportunities. City tours, wine tasting, concerts, a fancy lunch – you can truly let your imagination run wild here.

6. Home office makeover

With remote work a mainstay of modern working culture, gifting an item to help makeover someone’s home office could be an incredibly thoughtful way of celebrating their work anniversary.

For any remote workers who feel a little distanced from company culture, it also helps highlight their significance to the organization. Offering a lump sum to help towards desk, chair, or furniture costs will certainly be appreciated, but how about a computer upgrade or fancy software that makes their job easier? 

For example, a virtual PBX system would be a godsend to anyone making regular calls internationally and means they don’t have to bother with all the wires of a traditional system.

7. Shout-out

Even your quieter employee may appreciate a thoughtful and detailed shout-out on social media or the company’s internal newsletter. Make it highly personal by using their picture and highlighting three major achievements during their tenure.

8. Bucket list

Okay, we’re not suggesting that you finance someone’s trip to Niagara Falls. But, if you plan ahead and get your employees to write out an achievable bucket list at the start of the year, this gives you a ready-made set of highly personal gifts to show some work anniversary recognition.

9. Stock options

Stock options can be a surprisingly popular option when it comes to anniversary gifts. It also incentivizes employees to push for success at the company in order to see it grow. 

If you opt for this choice, you certainly won’t be alone. Google is one of many companies with high employee engagement levels that offer employees stock options. They must be doing something right!

10. Commemorative video

A commemorative video is a fantastic way of communicating your employee’s significance to the organization and putting the spotlight on their anniversary work. Record their closest team members and managers and ask them to describe the employee or recount their favorite shared memory. Don’t be surprised if the recipient starts to well up!

11. Stay up-to-date

Our final tip does not offer any gift suggestions – however, it’s perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind.

It’s vital that you keep up-to-date with everyone’s work anniversaries, so find an office calendar to keep track. If you’re extra forgetful, set pre-reminders a few weeks in advance so that you don’t miss any anniversaries. Skipping a milestone, even if it’s by accident, may come across as thoughtless.

If you’re a big company, it’s understandably difficult to keep track of everyone. You may even have specialized software for various departments, such as high volume hiring software in HR. In a similar fashion, don’t approach anniversaries in a haphazard manner – instead, set up systems to reinforce a culture that celebrates and uplifts its workforce.

Build an employee-first culture with Confetti 🎉

Celebrating work anniversaries and milestones is key if you want to keep your workforce positive, engaged, and productive. Not all these ideas will be suitable for your workforce, but we hope there are one or two pearls of wisdom that stick out for you.

And the best tip we can give you? Whatever you do, go that extra mile in making it personal for the celebrated employee. Without a doubt, that’s the best way to make your employees feel valued.

Confetti has plenty of team building experiences that are perfect for Company Celebrations. Contact [email protected] to book your next event today!
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