Milestone awards have a much deeper impact on your workplace than you may even know.
Celebrating your employees’ milestones is a fantastic way to promote a recognition-rich culture. To be clear, human resources aren’t the only group that can show appreciation or reward employees for these special occasions.
In a poll discussing employee engagement, participants were asked to recall their most memorable recognition gifts. Taking up several spots in the top six were answers like trips and prizes, as well as various forms of private and public acknowledgment. The bottom line?
People like feeling recognized.
You know those companies that never show any type of employee appreciation for meeting impossible deadlines and production goals? No bonus day off. No service award programs. No employee recognition program. No incentives whatsoever to improve the employees’ morale or the work environment. Their turnover rates tell the tale.
Employee milestone recognition is directly tied to engagement, morale, and ultimately, retention. These efforts don’t just make a lasting impact on the employees, but can also make an impact on your company’s bottom line. Onboarding new employees can be an expensive and timely process so obviously, less is more.
Still not sure what makes a “milestone” or how to start celebrating them? Read on for ten examples of employee milestones to recognize with your teams, and some great tips on how to launch a successful (and appreciated) celebration.
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What are Employee Milestones?
Promotions, birthdays, weddings, and retirements are just a few examples of the types of employee milestones that can be celebrated with your coworkers. These events highlight one main key factor – time.
Time they’ve dedicated to your organization. Time they’ve spent becoming the best at what they do. Time they’ve invested in a variety of relationships. These milestones are a great opportunity to show your support for their ever-growing personal and career goals.
Ideas For A Milestone Celebration
1 Personal Handwritten Note
A heartfelt note expressing appreciation and congratulations for employee milestones can be a simple yet powerful way to show that you are truly thankful for the employee’s hard work.
It is an effective way to recognize them and make them feel appreciated.
2 Gift Card
An employee gift card is a great way to reward employees for their dedication, especially when they hit a career milestone.
It allows the employee to purchase something they desire as recognition of their accomplishment!
3 Award or Trophy
Create an award or trophy to symbolize employee achievement and give a memorable token that will last through years of service.
This special gesture will make the employee feel noticed and valued by their colleagues, providing long-term employee engagement.
4 Employee Care Package
A care package is a unique way to recognize employee milestones.
It can include office supplies, snacks, and other small items that will make your employee feel valued for all their hard work. You can always work with an employee gifting service that will manage all the care packages for you!
5 Team Party
What better way to celebrate employee milestones than throwing an employee appreciation party?
An employee milestone celebration party with food, drinks, and games will bring the team together and create a sense of camaraderie. Everyone can join in on the fun!
Types of Employee Milestones
Anniversaries aren’t just for nuptials and actually come in all shapes and sizes of celebratory occasions. Obviously, an employee’s milestone wedding anniversary certainly makes the list. Acknowledging their work anniversaries with the company is also worth mentioning, as are health-related celebrations.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Get a customized quote and reward your employees with a carefully curated anniversary gift box as a thoughtful way to celebrate them and their dedication.
Recognizing your employees’ annually celebrated events is a simple but effective way to show your appreciation. It’s not just a kind gesture, it’s also a way to show them you care about their individual successes as much as their professional ones.
Pro-tip: Don’t get caught in the trap of having to purchase one-off gifts for each employee’s anniversary. Set up an employee milestone program through Caroo, where you can input all your employee birthdays and anniversaries, and ship gifts out all in one easy (and free!) to use platform.
👉 Check out their dedicated Work Anniversary Box to start celebrating!
Birthdays are one of those funny occasions that come around every year, whether we’re ready to celebrate them or not. Everyone in the team may not appreciate a giant banner with their age plastered in glittered foil above their desk but fortunately, there are less flashy options to choose from. Regardless, a birthday is always celebration worthy.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Send a company-wide birthday message that everyone can see and respond to with their well-wishes.
Celebrating an employee’s birthday can be less about highlighting “the number” and more about capitalizing on the opportunity for interaction. Everyone will appreciate that the boss remembered and took the time to send a message and celebrate an office birthday to show they care.
Promotions typically mean an increase in your employees’ positional status, visibility, responsibilities, and oh yea… their pay check! These things are rarely handed out for no good reason. They’ve worked hard to achieve their goals and have shown they deserve the next level of authority. They should be recognized for taking on these responsibilities.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Instead of an engraved paperweight, remind them of the value of their contributions and gift them an unforgettable experience. And maybe a frame to display the epic photo as evidence.
Things are replaceable, memories last a lifetime. Showing you appreciate their hard work by giving them an experience is an exciting way for you to boost morale and offer them some incredible new memories.
4. Baby Announcement
There were over 3.5 million babies born in 2020 and each one was worthy of celebration. Bringing home a baby also means a lot of excitement, anxiety, and changes. It’s a big deal to start or grow a family and when your team members announce they’re about to become parents, they should be celebrated as a big deal.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Choose the perfect melody and send them a personalized music box they can enjoy with their growing family.
Giving a recognition gift that’s so beautifully customized, makes the sentiment extra special. It’s not always about business. A new baby is a very personal experience that deserves to be celebrated with such a thoughtful and memorable keepsake. They’re certain to cherish your kindness.
5. Sales Target
Achieving a sales target is an important employee milestone that can be celebrated with coworkers and colleagues. This could be a major quarterly or annual goal, or even hitting a specific number of sales for the day. Celebrating employee achievements in this way will help motivate them to continue succeeding and reach new heights.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Congratulate the employee publicly with their peers at work, either through an office-wide email or by holding a small awards ceremony where they receive recognition for their hard work and dedication.
You can also provide incentives such as additional paid time off or special treats like lunch or snacks.
6. Professional Development
Professional development is a key employee milestone that marks the employee’s strides in expanding their knowledge base, skill set, and career qualifications. Whether they’ve completed coursework or earned a certification, these accomplishments should be recognized and rewarded.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Acknowledge the employee’s efforts by sending out a personalized email or letter of congratulations.
You could also organize a small celebration or team lunch with coworkers or colleagues to honor their hard work and remarkable commitment to professional development.
7. “Big Win”
Any significant accomplishment or breakthrough that staff members achieve, be it related to their jobs or more personal undertakings, should be celebrated and recognized. Expressing gratitude for employee successes can generate a positive work atmosphere while keeping employees inspired and driven.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Celebrate the employee’s success by organizing an office-wide celebration or team building activity.
You could also offer them time off as a reward, or give them an award certificate that acknowledges their efforts and hard work.
A stage was set, the question was popped, and someone said “YES!” The engagement bliss is overflowing and the work family is thrilled! Your newly betrothed team member is on the fast track to milestones #6 and #1.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: It can be tough to get everyone in the same place to celebrate together but you can always create and send a thoughtful digital greeting card, signed by the entire team to ensure even your remote employees can share their sentiments.
Your employees’ personal happiness is just as important as their professional fulfillment. These big moments are also big opportunities to show them you support more than just their career objectives, you support their lives.
9. Just Got Married
And now, that “YES” has turned into “I do” and you have a newlywed on the team. It’s “fun” to think that getting married is as simple as a ceremony, a kiss, and a honeymoon. That may be true on the front-end, but on the back-end, there’s some residual business that still needs to be addressed.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: There’s a lot going on just after a wedding and your employee may not be aware of the 12 Things You MUST Do Right After Getting Married so help take a little of the pressure off.
Knowledge is power. Some of the things they’ll need to handle could have tax implications or affect their benefits and other work-related situations. Help them out with a little knowledge/power so they’re starting this new chapter out on the right foot.
Yes, having the option to golf and shop at 10 AM on a Tuesday…on any Tuesday, really… for the rest of their days is obviously a reason to celebrate. But ultimately, retirement is also a time to recognize their dedication, skills, and contributions to the company over the years. That kind of loyalty deserves a party!
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: No matter the season or working environment, there are a ton of ideas to help you throw a retirement party your employee will cherish (and hopefully still be talking about) throughout this next chapter of their life.
It’s the end of an era. Sending your colleague out on a high note isn’t just a thoughtful reason for a party, it leaves them with lasting memories of the people and the place with whom they finalized their career.
11. Newly Hired
It can be tough being the newbie! Starting a new job, in a new place, with new people can be overwhelming and not to mention, a little intimidating. Onboarding new team members is more than a tour of the emergency exits and some paperwork. Making the new hires feel welcome shows them they matter from day one.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: No ticker-tape parade and balloons necessary. Simply leave an employee welcome kit on their desk to let them know they’re officially part of the team.
Having a cohesive working group is so important for the success of your organization. When you begin by establishing a healthy and appreciative relationship with each individual employee, you’re able to tip the scales a little, starting from their first day.
12. President’s Club
Nothing is more valuable than time, so giving your colleague the gift of time spent on some amazing experiences is priceless. They work hard to consistently meet your deadlines and sales goals and should be rewarded based on the invaluable contributions they bring to the table.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Instead of sending a cookie basket or an impersonal gift card, send them on an experience of a lifetime.
Grand accomplishments warrant grand rewards. Showing your appreciation for their hard work creates deeper-rooted professional relationships and reinforces that they’re right where they’re meant to be.
Bonus: Company Milestone
These milestones can be identified as those “significant moments of accomplishment that mark your company’s development and growth.” While big moments for the organization as a whole, each individual has played their part in getting there. Milestones such as years in operation, a new location (i.e. growth requires bigger space for more people), or meeting exceptional company goals.
What you can do to celebrate this employee milestone: Reaching company milestones is a perfect reason to celebrate BIG so throw an awesome office party and show the team how much you genuinely value them.
Your employees win when the company does, so celebrate those wins together. Let everyone know you appreciate their contributions to these successes with some time to let loose and revel in their collective accomplishments.
When hard work or important events go unrecognized, employees tend to feel undervalued and eventually, begin to disengage. After all, they’re not just your employees, you’re a team.
And each member of your team plays a vital role in the overall success of the organization and should feel acknowledged and appreciated, both personally and professionally.
In a recent interview with Wells Fargo Chairman, Richard Kovacevich, he stated:
“When people aren’t having fun, when they’re not recognized for outstanding performance… when no one says ‘thanks,’ they do become disengaged and feel unimportant.”
Who wants to spend the majority of their days, working in an environment that leaves them feeling like that?
Acknowledging your coworkers has a powerful outcome in the big picture. Recognizing their achievements reinforces their value and generates more motivated employees. Motivated employees tend to reciprocate by being more productive and inspired, with increased loyalty, to boot.
There are no limits to the causes for celebrating your colleagues. Personal events such as birthdays and babies on the way. Workplace milestones like service anniversaries and promotions. And don’t forget, your team milestones definitely deserve a shout-out.
People Also Ask These Questions About Employee Milestones
Q: What are the benefits of celebrating employee milestones?
- A: Some benefits of celebrating employee milestones are increased employee engagement, improved employee retention, and a recognition-rich company culture.
Q: What employee milestones should be celebrated?
- A: Some employee milestones that should be celebrated are work and marriage anniversaries, birthdays, wedding engagements, promotions, and retirement.
Q: How do you identify employee milestones?
- A: Employee milestones are identified as professional and personal accomplishments that signify change and growth.
Q: Why do companies celebrate employee milestones?
- A: Companies celebrate employee milestones because employee recognition is vital to creating and maintaining a happy, healthy work environment.