10 Memorable Ways to Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Celebrating employees’ work anniversaries can help boost retention and improve morale. Check out these 10 ways to celebrate them

June 23, 2022
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Work anniversaries are essential for workers and companies alike. Prof. Judith Rodkin, the former President of the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania, famously said that it was neglectful not to celebrate anniversaries, and it is the duty of all companies to take note and give special attention to any anniversaries. 

The average time employees stay at one company has dropped to just 13 months. However, research shows employee retention is crucial for productivity and a successful business

One of the critical factors that influence employee retention is recognition. Employees want to feel special and recognized. Companies can improve employee recognition and retention by fostering team spirit with special celebrations and work anniversaries. 

Why Should You Celebrate Employee Anniversaries?

It is essential to celebrate employee anniversaries; this small gesture helps boost productivity, workplace morale, and employee retention. When investigating why government positions generally have significantly higher retention rates than the private sector, economists found that it was partially due to the feeling of investment workers felt in government roles.

A company that gives employees the feeling that they are more than just a cog in a machine or a number on a spreadsheet reaps immediate and long-term benefits. Employees are less likely to move to a different company and will work harder, more efficiently, and better in their current roles. 

Give Recognition

Giving recognition to an employee and wishing them a happy work anniversary is a meaningful action that will positively affect their workflow. According to a 2016 Gallup analysis, when asked whose recognition employees most value, 28% said their immediate manager’s praise was the best, 24% said the CEO, 12% their manager’s manager, 10% a customer, 9% a peer, with 17% responded with other.

A work anniversary is a perfect opportunity to give a valued employee the recognition they desire from someone who can make it meaningful. By recognizing the longevity and impact an employee has had on a company, the company can show the employee their work is appreciated and valued. 

Start recognizing employees today with Assembly. Book a demo to learn more

Cost of Turnover 

Failure to recognize your employees can increase turnover, reducing your bottom line. Losing one employee can cost a company 50% to 200% of their annual salary and is estimated to cost the US economy $1 trillion annually. If you have a 100-person company, and your average salary is $50,000, standard employee turnover rates could be costing your company up to $2.6 million a year.  

There are many ways to promote employee retention, but something as simple as a work anniversary can be helpful. Many employees report that one of the primary reasons they move companies is a lack of recognition from their superiors. Celebration of work anniversaries can help those wavering employees feel appreciated. 

Tips on Tailoring the Gift to Each Employee

No work anniversary celebration is complete without a commemorative gift. Every gift must be tailored to each employee; otherwise, the gift may feel impersonal. Some tips that can help you select the perfect gift include:

  • Buy a gift suited to an employee’s tastes, passion, or interests. 
  • Choose a gift that doesn’t just represent the passage of time; choose something that focuses on the actions, achievements, and growth the employee has achieved.
  • Consider what type of anniversary you’re celebrating; a 10-year anniversary requires a larger or more expensive gift than a 1-year anniversary. 
  • Wrap the gift and write a thoughtful card detailing exactly what you appreciate and why.

When you give the gift, don’t just drop it off on their desk. Give the gift publicly with a bit of fanfare to celebrate the employee’s achievement, so the whole company recognizes their contributions. Have whichever manager, boss, or superior has the closest relationship with the employee hand-deliver the gift.

How to Set Up Anniversary and Birthday Celebrations

Anniversary and birthday celebrations should be set up according to the personality and preferences of each employee. Different employees will want different things, some more introverted employees might just like a quick chat with their manager and a gift, and others might prefer a large lunch party with cake. 

You could decorate their workspace with a banner and balloons or send them lunch on the company using DoorDash or UberEats. You could also create a slideshow detailing their achievements (with a few hilarious slides added to show that you appreciate them, not just for their work ethic.)

Customizing the anniversary or birthday celebration to each employee will show an added level of concern and care, further reinforcing the effect of individualized attention. 

How to Celebrate a Teammate

Similar to anniversary and birthday celebrations, giving recognition to an individual teammate should be customized to their personality. The more thought and care put into an individualized celebration, the better. 

For example, if a more introverted employee always wears sweater vests, have a day when everyone in their area or office wears a sweater vest to show their appreciation. If they are a sports team fan, perhaps decorate the break or lunch room with that team’s paraphernalia. 

It is always a good idea to ask the teammate if the celebration is to their liking before doing anything. It might take the element of surprise out of things, but it is better to ensure you don’t put someone in an unwanted spotlight or do something that could be misinterpreted as insulting or mocking. 

Learn more about how Assembly can help you celebrate your employees today by booking a demo

10 Memorable Gifts or Services You Can Provide to Celebrate Employee Work Anniversaries

The best way to make employees feel appreciated on their service anniversaries is to give them something thoughtful. It could be a physical gift, a subscription to a service,  or a  gift certificate. Explore some of the following ideas that may work well for your employees: 

  1. Subscription to a newspaper, journal, magazine, or book club 

For the readers in your office, a subscription to their favorite publication would show you value their curiosity, support their hobby, and understand what they value.

  1. Customized company gifts 

Giving clothes, mugs, bags, and accessories with the company brand can be a great gift. Customize it with a name or a nickname to make it more personal.

  1. Personalized trophy 

Buying a custom trophy for the employee to celebrate some achievement can be a fun gift. Find something great and positive about the employee and put it on a trophy. 

  1. One-year membership

If your employee goes to a gym, plays golf, tennis, swims, rock climbs, or does another recreational sports activity, buy them a 1-year membership. This also helps promote retention because it shows you are investing in the next year with the employee.

  1. Parking spot or transit pass

Help make your employees’ commute more pleasant by giving them a prime parking spot if they drive or a one-month transit pass for those who use public transportation. 

  1. Weekend away

Find a bucket list destination or activity and give your employee an all-expenses-paid trip to scratch it off their list. 

  1. Donate to a cause they are passionate about

Many employees have causes outside of work where they donate their time, talent, or money. Find out which your employee supports and make a donation in their name. 

  1. Upgrade their equipment 

Upgrade whatever your employee uses for their job to the latest and greatest model; this will make their job easier, help them be more productive, and provide a tangible reminder of your appreciation. 

  1. A paid sabbatical

Offer long-term employees the opportunity to take a few months off to study, travel, or seek some other form of enrichment that will make them better, more well-rounded employees.

  1. Stock options

For employees with a specific tenure like 5 or 10 years, give them a stake in the company to show appreciation for what they helped build and give them a financial incentive to continue to achieve. 

Build a Positive Company Culture

Celebrating your employees’ work anniversaries can be a little activity that reaps large rewards. Showing your employees appreciation can boost retention and build a positive, collaborative, enthusiastic office culture. 

Switch your company to a productivity app with built-in employee anniversary recognition and celebratory functions like Assembly. This can streamline celebrations, allowing you to quickly and easily send out congratulatory messages and link them back to your company’s goals and core values.

Check out Assembly’s celebratory functions today

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

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