Ways to Celebrate Work Anniversaries

With companies increasingly reeling from what experts are calling “The Great Resignation,” now more than ever, it feels important to celebrate retention milestones, such as work anniversaries. Abel HR is currently gearing up to celebrate its 30th anniversary — with several of the original employees still in place! Below, we outline our top ways to recognize your employees for their service, and even put a 2022 spin on the festivities by including celebrations for both remote and in-person employees! 

Employee recognition
One of the easiest ways to mark an employee milestone is to simply make others aware of the big day! If you have a company newsletter, either physical or emailed consider creating a section to recognize years of service. If your company isn’t big on newsletters or you fear it will be overlooked, some companies have had success with simply posting an announcement in break rooms or other areas where employees tend to congregate to spread the word. It could be as simple as including their name along with their start date, or you could go as far as to write a short paragraph about the areas of your company in which the employee has worked and information on how they have meaningfully contributed over the years. Other ways to foster recognition include having management provide informal kudos or words of recognition to your employee, both during anniversaries and for milestones in their career, such as the completion of major projects or the successful launch of a new product. 

Shout it on social media: 
If you read our last blog post about social media marketing, you know that it can do wonders for your business! In this scenario, you can use your social media platforms to recognize employee contributions. Much as we described above, with a description of their role, their major achievements at the company, and a few remarks about how they are valued. In posting this to your social media, you are inviting other employees to share their experiences with the employee and creating an interactive opportunity for workers to be recognized by not only their company and coworkers but also their peers and friends outside of work. 

Tangible gifts

Everyone likes a token of appreciation, so consider marking a milestone with a small gift. Some companies use these dates as an opportunity to give out branded merchandise, such as travel cups, mousepads, or even promotional wear. Others, meanwhile, might give out gift cards to local eateries or stores, providing a two-fold benefit if part of your corporate mission is to give back to your local community. 

Feed them
Nothing used to bring an office together quite like free food! While those big buffet lunches or shared birthday treats are likely off the table for a little while longer, you can still reward your employees with food if you’re willing to make a few concessions. An afternoon caffeine run to your local coffee shop, ordering in boxed lunches, or scheduling a delivery of individually packaged cookies or cupcakes can go a long way towards helping to celebrate an important employee milestone. 

A bit of fun
Marking a work milestone doesn’t have to be serious business, so don’t be afraid to have a little fun with work anniversaries! Whether it’s decorating someone’s cubicle with balloons and streamers or awarding them a humorous trophy for a work quirk. there are plenty of ways that you can inject a little fun into these anniversary events. However, we should warn that you should be good-natured in the approach you take and know whether such a gesture would be appreciated by the individual. Pros also suggest that the quirky celebration will fall flat if it’s the only gig in town and that these touches should be rolled out in hand with other, more serious forms of recognition. 

Give them a day: 
To recognize the years of commitment your employee has made to your company, it would be kind to give them at least a day away from the place!! Gifting them time off on their work anniversary shows that you value their work-life balance and want them to enjoy restorative, rejuvenating time away from their typical 9 to 5. Consider gifting a day for the single-digit anniversaries, and a week for anything thereafter to really show workers that you care. 

Give back: 
If philanthropy is a big part of your company’s mission, employees may like to have their own, personal causes be highlighted as part of their anniversary recognition. As a business owner, you could make a donation to their preferred charity or, better yet, ask them whether you can host a contribution in their honor, be it a blood donation drive, getting employees to participate in a sponsored walk, packing and delivering lunches to the homeless, or any other number of charitable activities. 

Write it down: 
Some folks don’t like to be the center of attention, but you can still recognize their work anniversary by writing them a simple letter of appreciation. A well-written note thanking your employee for their time, dedication, and their overall contributions to the company can help them to feel recognized, as well as help boost morale and motivate them to continue going the extra mile. The letters don’t need to be long or excessively detailed, but they should be customized and be written genuinely and from the heart to have the greatest impact on your employee. 

Keep it consistent: 
If you haven’t already or are new to the concept of celebrating employee anniversaries, consider setting up a service award program that keeps track of employee start dates and automatically notifies you and your employees about anniversaries. In conjunction with this program, which seeks to make recognition equitable, you can provide a token gift that becomes incrementally more special or expensive as the years of service increase.