20 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

October 26, 2023
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Work anniversaries are essential for workers and companies alike. Work anniversaries are a pivotal occasion that signifies both an employee's loyalty and the company's commitment to recognizing its team. 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.

She emphasized the importance of a celebration at work, especially during moments like an employee's work anniversary. In addition, another research shows employee retention is crucial for productivity and a successful business.  And one of the critical factors that influence employee retention is employee recognition.

Employees want more than just a paycheck. They want to feel valued, to be a part of a positive company culture, and to know that their work anniversaries are celebrated. They want to understand that their organization cares about their well-being, both professionally and personally.

Therefore, companies need to elevate employee recognition and retention, fostering a more inclusive environment. And a great way to achieve this is by celebrating work anniversaries, making employees feel valued, and integrating employee engagement activities like special celebrations.

Why Should You Celebrate Employee Anniversaries?

It is essential to celebrate employee anniversaries and to make employees feel special on their work anniversary; 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 due in part to the level of employee recognition and the feeling of investment workers felt in their roles.

A work anniversary is a momentous occasion, and public recognition during such times can make an employee feel valued. When a team member's work anniversary is celebrated, it encourages other team members to feel equally valued and appreciated. It sends a message that every year's work anniversary is important, creating a ripple effect throughout the organization.

Give Recognition

Recognizing employees on their work anniversary is an impactful gesture that can have a positive influence on their overall morale and job satisfaction.

According to a 2016 Gallup analysis, when asked whose recognition employees most value, 28% said their immediate manager's praise was the best. The other 24% said the CEO, 12% their manager's manager, 10% a customer, 9% a peer, and 17% responded with other.

A work anniversary serves as the perfect occasion to give this recognition, making sure that employees feel valued. 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 

The absence of employee recognition, especially during significant milestones like work anniversaries, can result in higher turnover rates. 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.  

Celebrating work anniversaries, whether it's a five-year milestone or a one-year journey, can be a great way to retain talent and make employees feel valued. 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 work anniversary gifts. When choosing gifts, consider the number of years of service, the individual's preferences, and the company's company culture. Ensure that the gift is given publicly, perhaps in an office party, to ensure that the employee's efforts are recognized not only by the management but also by other team members.

  • 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 with the closest relationship to the employee present the gift.

How to Set Up Anniversary and Birthday Celebrations

Anniversary and birthday celebrations should be set up according to teach employee's anniversary or birthday preferences. The key is to create an environment where every team member feels recognized and appreciated. Remember, the small gestures like remembering everyone's work anniversary dates or setting up personalized celebrations can go a long way in enhancing employee engagement and employee loyalty.

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

How to Celebrate Work anniversaries and Teammates

Incorporate work anniversary ideas that resonate with the employee. Whether it's a themed celebration based on their hobbies or personal likes, making it personalized can make a world of difference. Moreover, engaging other team members in the celebration can foster team spirit and camaraderie.

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 employee work anniversaries today by booking a demo.

20 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.

2. 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.

3. 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. 

4. 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.

5. 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. 

6. Weekend away

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

7. 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. 

8. Upgrade their equipment 

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

9. 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.

10. Stock options

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

11. Professional Development Course

Enroll them in a course or workshop that aligns with their interests or career goals.

12. Office Plant

A beautiful potted plant for their workspace can be a constant reminder of your appreciation.

13. Team Lunch

Organize a lunch for the whole team in honor of the employee.

14. Personal Wellness Packages

Spa treatments, massage vouchers, or a day at a wellness retreat.

15. Subscription Boxes

There are many types available, from gourmet foods to hobby kits.

16. Books

A best-seller or a classic in their field of interest, perhaps with a handwritten note inside.

17. Personalized Jewelry

Engraved jewelry like bracelets or necklaces.

18. Tech Gadgets

Think of wireless earbuds, tablets, or smart home devices.

19. Online Entertainment Subscriptions

Like Netflix, Disney+, or Spotify Premium.

20. Experience Gifts

Concert tickets, theater shows, or tickets to a sports event they love.

21. Culinary Experiences

A cooking class, wine-tasting session, or gourmet dining experience.

22. Mentoring Opportunity

Pair them up with a senior leader for mentoring sessions.

23. Artwork

A beautiful piece of art for their workspace or home.

24. Home Office Enhancements

If they work from home, think about ergonomic chairs, standing desks, or high-quality headphones.

25. Adventure Activities

For the thrill-seekers – maybe skydiving, bungee jumping, or hot air ballooning.

26. Cultural Subscriptions

Membership to local museums, galleries, or cultural societies.

27. Personalized Stationery

Custom notepads, pens, or planners.

28. Home Services

Subscription to meal kits, cleaning services, or lawn care, providing ease in their personal life.

29. Fitness Trackers

Devices like Fitbit or Garmin to track their health and fitness.

30. Craft Kits

For the creative souls, kits to make pottery, paint, or any other craft they might be interested in.

Build a Positive Company 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.

Ready to begin? 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.

Explore Guide
Employee recognition guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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