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39 Unforgettable Work Anniversary Ideas, Rewards & Gifts For Celebrating Years of Service at a Company

By August 11, 2021 October 19th, 2021 9 Comments

celebrate work anniversary ideas

With everything on your plate, it can be tempting to let anniversary celebrations fall to the wayside.

But neglecting them can turn out to be a costly cultural error. That’s because celebrating work anniversaries isn’t just a nice gesture for your employees or coworkers – there’s a strong business case to be made for making work anniversaries a priority at your company.

Sound strange? It all comes down to the fact that our emotions and our performance are intimately linked.

When employers offer an anniversary gift or reward, they’re really saying: “This is a symbol of what all your work means to me.” In other words, work anniversary acknowledgments can make or break an employee’s sense of meaning, and consequently their motivation and productivity.

Since gratitude and optimism affect performance, companies who proactively foster these positive emotions via a culture of recognition have an automatic leg-up on those who don’t. Bonusly recently reported that companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19% in operating income.

Companies with high levels of employee engagement improved 19% in operating income Click To Tweet

Plus, there’s the fact that work anniversaries have a relatively high ROI – you get an outsized return for not much time or money. All it really takes is a little planning, some creativity, and genuine appreciation.

But it only works if you do it right. Here’s our top tips, tactics, and company anniversary ideas for employees to help you make the most of work anniversaries.

Who Would You Like To Give Gifts To?

Clients & Customers Employees

Some Of Our Favorite Work Anniversary Ideas:

1) A Handwritten Note

handwritten-note

Say “happy work anniversary” with a heartfelt handwritten note. This low-tech idea is simple but super effective. The fact that it’s handwritten demonstrates an extra level of care your team members will notice and appreciate.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for: 1 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Old-fashioned handwritten anniversary cards represent a great deal of time and care in a world of digital shortcuts. Who wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of so much thoughtfulness? (Plus, writing the note might even make you feel good.)

How to get started: When you draft this note, be sure to think about all the things that you appreciate about this person. Be specific. Is it their hard work? Years of loyal service? Fierce problem-solving? Optimism? Include everything and anything you can think of in the note. Get thoughtful work anniversary messages and inspiration from these recognition quotes and anniversary memes and best wishes.

Pro-tip: Amplify the impact of your note with a Caroo box filled with snacks and goodies that send feelings of care skyrocketing.

 

2) The Experience Of A Lifetime

adventuring

Give employees an experience they’ll never forget, one perfectly suited to their personality, whether they’re adventurous (paragliding), curious (guiding hiking), or outdoorsy (river rafting).

A good experience provides the gift of novelty, which in turn leads to happiness. As Scott Bea, PsyD, told Cleveland Clinic,

“The brain latches onto new things. Novelty helps us learn, so the brain prefers it. New and different experiences reward the brain.”

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll soak up all the novelty, happiness, and memories and return to work with renewed vigor and also a renewed commitment to the organization that enabled their experience.

How to get started: Explore Blueboard’s world of experiences to find all the possibilities you can place at your valued employees’ fingertips.

 

3) Publicly Recognize Them On The Company Recognition Feed

public-recognition

What could be more fast, easy, or effective than giving employees a public shout-out on their big day? This idea represents employee recognition amplification at its finest. Call out a few of the characteristics and accomplishments you admire most in them. Hearing this from you will make them feel good, and having you say it publicly will feel great.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Your public message is more than a message. Giving employees the recognition they crave in any format can instill in them a fulfilling sense of meaning.

How to get started: Never miss this critical moment of employee engagement by intelligently automating messages and reminders with Bonusly.

work-anniversary-bot

Pro-tip: Add this same recognition step to your onboarding checklist to give brand-new employees a proper welcome and help them yearn to make it from the first day to that first anniversary.

 

4) Throw A Team Party

hack-reactor-fun-office-activity

An office party perfectly blends recognition, celebration, and fun, making it a classic anniversary celebration. The party can have themes and costumes and complex games or it can be as simple as gathering everyone together into a conference room to share a cake with “congrats” scrolled in pink frosting. The key element of this idea is gathering to share work anniversary wishes and make the celebrant feel impossibly special.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Having fun is something nearly everyone loves, and a party is a perfect way to stir up plenty.

How to get started: Confetti’s turnkey party resources will help you throw a legendary party without logging a million planning hours.

 

5) Customized Swag

nectar-hr-swag

Get employees customized company swag to help them feel a powerful sense of group identity and affiliation — to help them feel part of something bigger. By adding your logo or designs to an employee gift (hats, bags, t-shirts, etc.), you’re really saying, “You’re part of the team and we couldn’t be more pleased about it.”

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll love the feeling of earning a symbol of belonging and unity to the larger group.

How to get started: Swag out your employees with the help of a NectarHR customized swag storefront and also a team to handle your shipping and ordering logistics. This won’t only help your anniversary gifting strategy, but it will also streamline the purchasing and shipping of good luck gifts, going away giftsthank-you gifts, holiday gifts, and more.

 

6) Achievement Timeline

milestone-timeline

When people celebrate their birthdays, many of them reflect on all they’ve done over the past year. Help employees celebrating anniversaries do the same thing by giving them a timeline of all their notable achievements and telling them why they make you proud.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The timeline helps them feel that spark of pride and fulfillment in their work. Day-to-day busyness can make it hard to remember the big picture, and this timeline will encapsulate it for them in the best possible way. Reviewing their progress will only give them more motivation to continue forging their epic timeline.

How to get started: Get help to turn your rewarding trip down employee memory lane into a shareable anniversary recognition artifact they will treasure for years.

 

7) Celebrate Hiring Classes

welcome-to-team

Akin to celebrating all the May birthdays on one day, consider simultaneously honoring employees celebrating the same tenure milestone. Joint celebrations multiply the fun and take the pressure off any one individual. They can delight in their accomplishments and those of their colleagues.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The more the merrier, as the saying goes. They’ll love not just celebrating their anniversary but also celebrating with their entire work family.

How to get started: Use Assembly to streamline your tracking of employee anniversaries and create buzz as you celebrate each cohort.

 

8) Gift A Day Off

day-off

Most people don’t want more things; they want non-monetary incentives like more time, more “me time” to be precise. Give them the break they’ve earned by keeping the anniversary celebration simple with a bonus day off to share with loved ones, log some relaxation time, or just enjoy a brief respite from the stresses of the work environment.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: An experience and the powerful memory associated with it are enjoyable in the moment, in the reflection, and in the anticipation of next year’s special day.

How to get started: Help them make the most of their free-for-all day with an unforgettable experience.

 

9) Send Employee Care And Appreciation Box

Celebrate anniversaries with care packages, shippable tokens of employee appreciation packed with gifts, goodies, and other special treats. These gift boxes are especially helpful for remote or hybrid companies; they help you share meaningful moments, even when you can’t be together.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll love getting one gift that’s actually several gifts rolled into one awesome package.

How to get started: Find and customize the perfect care package for any employee celebrating any anniversary. Take this 60-second quiz to get your personalized results for sending an anniversary care package.

 

10) Creative Workshops

creative-workshop

Celebrate an employee’s years of success by helping them pick up new creative skills in areas and outlets that interest them and rekindle their creative spark. It’s the perfect way to show you appreciate them for the whole creative person they are.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The novelty of learning something new sparks joy, fulfillment, and maybe even opens up new doors of creative thinking.

How to get started: Allow them to pick the perfect creative workshop experience designed to spark learning and creativity.

 

11) Virtual Spending Card

hoppier

Rest assured that employees get what they want by giving them the funds they need to get whatever it is. Pair the spending card with a thoughtful note to add a touch of customization to what’s a universally appealing employee reward.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Choosing how to treat themselves. It’s both empowering and enjoyable.

How to get started: Manage your gift cards, balances, vendors, and distribution on Hoppier’s all-inclusive platform.

 

12) Dinner At The CEO’s House

dinner-ceo

A special night with the company’s top official will make a more memorable anniversary present than a handful of other work anniversary gifts. Carefully plan the dinners to make sure you don’t overwhelm the CEO. Depending on the size of your company, you might only need to plan a dinner party once every few months.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The opportunity to socialize with the CEO feels as special as any VIP access.

How to get started: Use engagement software to create a custom “dinner with the CEO” reward you can dole out again and again.

 

13) Give Them A Years Of Service Personalized Trophy

trophies

Trophies are timeless universal symbols of accomplishments bestowed upon everyone from Academy Award winners to Super Bowl winners to spelling-bee champions. Elevate the accomplishment that is working for your organization with a worthy trophy.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll love how it feels when you put it into their hands, when they show it off, and when they see it in the display case day after day.

How to get started: Find an Etsy artisan to create perfect one-of-a-kind company years of service awards trophies, medals, and plaques.

 

14) Provide Growth And Development Experiences

growth-development

Instead of looking backward, try celebrating an anniversary by looking forward to future growth and development. Your employees have spent years helping you achieve goals; celebrate their anniversary with a learning experience they can leverage to meet theirs.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Employees crave professional development. They’ll relish an opportunity to grow in both their personal and professional life.

How to get started: Provide access to all the growth experiences your employees have ever imagined.

 

15) Plan A Happy Hour With A Themed Drink

happy-hour

They don’t call happy hour “happy” hour for nothing. Maximize the happiness factor of any happy hour by creating a custom anniversary cocktail. Your formula could be based on the anniversary celebrant’s personality, an inside joke you share, or even the number of years they’ve worked for you. It will be special no matter what you choose.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: If they thought they enjoyed sharing a toast with friends, then they’ll be tickled to do the happy hour dance with a drink themed around themselves.

How to get started: Leverage a gift card platform to subsidize happy hour fun while still keeping employees’ options open.

 

16) Donate To A Charity Of Their Choice

charity

Purpose-driven companies perform better. A Deloitte study found that your ability to communicate your company’s purpose has a direct link to how engaged your team is (and therefore affects their performance).

Use work anniversaries to remind your team about the bigger picture by making a charitable donation in their name. Align the charity to your company’s mission, or with a cause that’s close to his or her heart. For instance, if you know that your employee is an animal lover, donate to a local animal shelter.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Giving back satisfies their deeply human need for meaning and purpose.

How to get started: Use recognition software to create a custom charity reward you can dole out again and again.

 

17) Send Them A Shippable Experience

origami

Send an “experience in a box” to give them unforgettable and rewarding memories while avoiding the logistical nightmare of actually planning an experience for them. Whether the shippable experience is relaxing, adventurous, or playful, you can be sure it will leave behind a strong impression.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Enjoying the interactive component — the learning, cooking, exploring, creating, or playing — provides more satisfaction than opening any average gift.

How to get started: Find a ready-to-go shippable experience that sends the perfect anniversary message.

 

18) Career Planning Session

career-planning

Celebrate an anniversary with a no-holds-barred, company-centric career planning session. During this session, invite employees into an open-ended conversation where they can discuss anything and everything they might want to do in the company. Make sure employees know they can talk about any area of the company, even those they have no training or experience in.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: If they’ve reached any anniversary milestone at your organization, then they know where they’ve been. This experience helps them pinpoint what they really want to know: where they’re going next.

How to get started: Brainstorm the perfect session using a template as inspiration for a custom discussion.

 

19) Give Them Some “Whole Self” Fulfillment

fishing

Deliver whole-self experiential rewards to show employees you understand their life outside of work with what fuels their happiness. Who are they? What do they like to do? What excites and motivates them? Consider these questions to easily figure out what kind of experience to offer.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: An experience that helps employees do exactly what they love to do will leave them far more refreshed than any trip to the local coffee shop.

How to get started: Explore experiences that offer paths to holistic happiness.

 

20) A Framed Picture Of Their Early Days

framed-photo

Find a picture from a company outing or party with the employee smiling with co-workers. (If you don’t have one, it looks like you need to schedule an impromptu party and add “taking more pictures” to your official new employee onboarding process.) Print and frame the picture to help the employee stay mindful of fulfilling work friendships.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: One Globoforce survey revealed that employees who don’t have close friends at work said they would be more likely to accept a job offer than employees who have several close friends at work. While you can’t give employees friends for their anniversaries, you can help them celebrate the relationships they have formed.

How to get started: Find the perfect custom frame.

 

21) Do A LinkedIn Shout-Out

linkedin

Look beyond your internal communication channels and take your recognition public with a LinkedIn shoutout. Publicly recognizing an employee’s anniversary and also their unique skills will give them an immediate rush of satisfaction and also potentially bolster their long-term feelings of career fulfillment. Plus, the post will bring recognition pouring in from other areas as well.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Public recognition amplifies the pride they already feel on their special milestone day.

How to get started: Check out this example to plan your post.

 

22) Share Their Story In Your Company Newsletter

newsletter

Give employees celebrity status by spotlighting them in your company newsletter on their anniversary. The spotlight can be as simple as their name and picture and a fun fact for newer employees or as in-depth as a long Q&A article for veterans. Choose whatever fits best with your company culture and newsletter format.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They can save and print the piece for their scrapbook or refrigerator.

How to get started: Browse some examples to get your format down.

 

23) Give The Team Matching Custom Shirts To Wear On Their Anniversary

team-shirts

The perfect way to celebrate hiring class anniversaries, custom t-shirts bring a festive sense of camaraderie and a deepened feeling of team unity to anniversary celebrations. Be creative with customizations to get the most out of this idea. Nicknames and inside jokes make bond-inducing customizations.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll love wearing it on the big day and also having a souvenir that makes them feel the same joy each time they wear it.

How to get started: Create your perfect customized anniversary t-shirt.

 

24) Give Them A Workspace Upgrade

The completion of another year of work merits a workspace upgrade. Both onsite and remote employees log tons of desk time in the line of company duty. Show your appreciation by giving them something new, something special for their desk. It can be practical, just for fun, or just for looks, as long as it’s something you know the employee in question will love.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: After looking at the same desk for so long, employees will drink up the refreshment even just one new item can provide.

How to get started: Browse Amazon to find anything and everything you ever envisioned perched on your employee’s desk.

 

25) A Seat At The Table

improving employee engagement at the meeting level

As they celebrate another milestone, many employees may find themselves yearning for a stronger voice in the company, and they might be ready for it, too. Instead of handing out a tangible anniversary gift, try handing out an invitation that conveys trust and recognition better than any gift.

Consider what meetings the employee might be ready to attend, especially those where people make key decisions or exchange strategic ideas. If you want to make sure the employee has a gift to open, offer a handwritten card that explains all the reasons you believe the employee is ready to be part of the meeting.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Anniversaries are prime time for reflection. This idea keeps their excitement channeled toward forwarding progress.

How to get started: Browse these appreciation speech ideas for inspiration on how to communicate how much you appreciate their work and recognize their potential.

 

26) Provide A Few Paid Months Of Fitness Classes

fitness

Perks that benefit employees’ lives in more ways than one boost employee loyalty. Make it easier for employees to work out, and they’ll want to stick around for a few more years. This anniversary gift adds true value to employees’ day-to-day routines and overall lives.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Employees who were looking to “shake things up” might just find new fitness journeys more compelling than looking for new jobs.

How to get started: Find a variety of creative ways to boost fitness.

 

27) Make A DIY Custom Video

diy-video

Consider creating a custom anniversary message video surprise on employees’ anniversaries. You don’t need any cameras or fancy equipment; most modern mobile phones will do the trick. A custom video will capture more feeling than any greeting card and probably more than even a thoughtfully written note.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 5 year work anniversary
  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: It works as a little emotional time capsule. Employees can watch it any time in the future and remember how fantastic they felt on their big day.

How to get started: Come up with a list of funny questions to ask a group of 5-10 people who work with the recipient and know him or her pretty well.

Ask each person your questions and record their answers with your phone or video camera. Important – make sure you conduct the interviews separately so that people aren’t influenced by previous answers. You want genuine, off-the-cuff responses.

Edit the responses together using your video editing software of choice. (Here’s a list of the ten best mobile video editing apps.)

Debut the video during a big team or department meeting. This is key – the idea is to extend the celebration to the larger team.

Here are few sample questions to get you started:

  • What is _____ most known for around the office?
  • What was _____’s first thought when he woke up this morning?
  • If _____ didn’t work at this company, where would she work?
  • What’s the weirdest part of your first interview with _____?
  • If _____ was on a deserted island, what three things would he want with him?
  • What do you like most about working with _____?

 

28) Give A Mindfulness Journal

Give-A-Mindfulness-Journal

Give gratitude in the form of a mindfulness journal for anniversaries. You will make employees feel good in the present and also well into the future. A journal makes it incredibly easy for your team to start their days focused on gratitude. Recipients use the journal to name the things they’re grateful for, name their long and short-term goals, and pause for reflection.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll appreciate a receiving tool to help them focus on their personal growth and development and knowing you are invested in their success.

How to get started: Pick up the perfect journal.

 

29) Offer Stock Options

stock-options

Consider rewarding the impeccable work ethic of your veteran employees with some anniversary stock options and the sense of ownership that comes along with them.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: It provides a motivating and rewarding sense of ownership and purpose, and also a renewed sense of drive. They likely know that the company’s success is their success already, but this reward makes it so.

How to get started: Read all about Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs) here.

 

30) Send Them On A Paid Sabbatical

sabbatical

Reward employees for putting some serious time in by giving them some serious time off, paid time they can use to learn a new hobby, participate in a local service project, or experience a new culture abroad.

Encourage employees to reap all the benefits of their sabbatical by setting clear ground expectations of no email or work communication at all.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The priceless feeling of returning from one of these truly mind-clearing trips with new ideas, new perspectives, and a renewed energy to tackle their next big projects.

How to get started: Learn how to make a sabbatical leave policy.

 

31) Give Them Leadership Training

leadership-training

Celebrate an employee’s work anniversary by empowering them with priceless leadership skills. This reward makes employees feel valued and also helps your “long-termers” (who clearly have an interest in sticking around to advance along with the company) effectively convert their years of experience into leadership skills that generate all-around growth.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: It will make the employee feel valued as a key member of the team, one valued enough to earn an investment in their promising growth.

How to get started: Browse some of the top leadership training providers.

 

32) Have A Good-Natured Comedy Roast

comedy-roast

During a comedy roast, everyone tells jokes about a guest of honor. (Pop culture roasts have a reputation for getting nasty and sometimes escalating into hurtful territory, but your anniversary roast doesn’t have to include ridicule to be entertaining.)

Host the event after hours, preferably in a location where people can enjoy a few drinks if they wish. Be sure to tell the anniversary guests of honor what to expect during the event so they can come with their game faces.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Laughter mixed up with a healthy dose of recognition and also some self-deprecation will make anyone feel understood in a refreshingly authentic way.

How to get started: Start planning the anniversary roast at least a month in advance. Invite everyone in the company to submit rough “scripts” of what they plan to talk about during the roast. (Feel free to ask for stories and memories as well as jokes and impersonations.) Remind everyone to keep their “roasts” good-natured, but be sure to read through all the submissions before the event to watch for anything that might legitimately damage someone’s feelings. Send along links to some roast examples with your request to help everyone warm up their comedic chops.

 

33) Give Them A Long Vacation

vacation-time

If the old adage that “you get what you give” holds any weight, then it stands to reason that the more time you put in for a company, the more time you should get back for yourself. Reward employees for putting in the time by giving them more vacation days to rest and recuperate mentally and physically.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Everyone appreciates a good vacation. More vacation is just more to love.

How to get started: Empower epic vacations that take that importance of play and leisure time to heart.

 

34) Take Something Off Their Plate

work-help

Reward good work by taking some of it away. Maybe it’s an administrative task they’ve never complained about over the last ten years. Maybe it’s a meeting they don’t see value in. This anniversary reward sends a message of achievement and reassures loyal employees, should they need reassurance, that they can say “no” without fear of retribution.

What is this? Work anniversary reward

Best for:

  • 10 year work anniversary
  • 15 year work anniversary
  • 20 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: The incredible lightness of dropping something they didn’t realize they dreaded so much until they found out they no longer had to do it.

How to get started: Have a candid conversation to discover exactly what task they may want to give up.

 

35) Support Their Hobbies

hobbies

Empower employees to achieve a new level of fulfillment by celebrating anniversaries with the gift of hobby support. Give them what they need to finally take that textile dyeing class or martial arts training or citizen naturalist classes or whatever other activity makes them feel invigorated and fulfilled.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll be giddy to get from their employee exactly what they need to pursue the extracurricular activities they find meaningful but that often go neglected.

How to get started: Discover online courses to support practically any hobby.

 

36) A Custom Bobblehead

bobbleheads

All your favorite superheroes, cartoon and video game characters, and even public figures enjoy bobblehead representation. Why not your favorite employees (a.k.a. All your employees!)?  Show them that you see them as all the other famous figures who have their own bobbleheads by making them one of their very own.

What is this? Employee anniversary gift

Best for:

  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: It’s a quirky and legitimately one-of-a-kind reward.

How to get started: Find an artisan to create your custom bobblehead.

 

37) Take Them To Lunch

lunch

A perfect option for all employees at all levels, a timeless lunch will always be an enjoyable, welcomed, and appreciated anniversary celebration. All you have to do is get together virtually or in person to share a meal, say a few words of praise, and enjoy the timeless art of communal eating.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Lunch and good conversation are almost always guaranteed to be a hit across all times and industries.

How to get started: Ask them where they would like to go.

 

38) Endorse Their Skills On LinkedIn Recommendation

linkedin-endorsement

Every day, employees leverage their skills and strengths to benefit their employers. Celebrate their years of work by publicly acknowledging and praising those skills on social media, affirming online what you know without a doubt: this employee is incredibly good at their job.

What is this? Employee anniversary recognition

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: Their feelings of pride will be absolutely priceless.

How to get started: Pick the top 5 skills to endorse along with a thoughtful supporting comment.

 

39) Throw A Puppy Party

Throw-A-Puppy-Party

Add a pack of four-legged guests to a classic office party and you’ve created a puppy party, the ideal anniversary celebration for animal lovers. Ask the employee of honor to bring in their pet and invite co-workers to do the same. If that still doesn’t add up to a party, then connect with a local shelter or service to bring in all the furry fun at work you need.

What is this? Work anniversary experience

Best for:

  • 1 year work anniversary
  • 2 year work anniversary
  • 3 year work anniversary
  • 4 year work anniversary
  • 5 year work anniversary

Why employees love this work anniversary idea: They’ll see the reduced stress levels as the anniversary award of their dreams.

How to get started: Get your puppy party planning guide.


Years of Service Tips & Ideas

1 Year Of Service

The Gen Xers at your workplace probably scoff at the idea, but celebrating employees who make it to the one year mark is a vital retention strategy.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a study of more than a million respondents found that voluntary turnover peaked one year after their start dates. Celebrating that first anniversary re-engages employees at a critical juncture, and provides an emotional lift right when employees are most likely to see if the grass really is greener elsewhere.

That said, you don’t have to go overboard. There are plenty of budget and time-friendly ways to keep your team engaged at this critical juncture.

2 Years Of Service

Two years is a big deal, especially if your workforce skews younger. For people between the ages of 21 and 23, the average tenure is barely over a year, so hitting that second anniversary is definitely a cause for celebration.

Just like getting through year one, hitting the two-year anniversary marks another critical juncture in any company-employee relationship. At this point, people who decided to stick with the company for another year to see how “things would go” might be reevaluating their long-term plans and goals.

Employees might decide to sever their relationship with a company after two years for the same reasons many experts say lovers choose to end relationships after two years:

  • The excitement wears off. After a few years, even eager employees may start admitting their current job is not the dream job they expected.
  • They stop wanting to make it work. Two years is plenty of time to perform an honest assessment of compatibility. Things you could deal with at the 6-month mark suddenly become dealbreakers.
  • Things get real. Both bosses and employees stay on their best behavior during the first few years on the job. When both parties start to relax, problems might arise. Maybe the boss isn’t as easy going as she pretended. Maybe the employee isn’t as ambitious as he pretended.

3 Years Of Service

Three years is the time to remind your employees why they love working at your company, so really focus on making things fun, personalized, and social. Especially in today’s work environment, three years signifies a commitment that a lot of businesses may not see from other employees.

Take the time to game plan and create a special day for them. Whether this involves a celebration, gift, speech, or opportunity to recognize them publicly — think about what your employee will appreciate the most. Everyone is different, so tailoring their work anniversary to their interests is a no-brainer.

4 Years Of Service

Step up your work anniversary gift game at year four. All the same concepts apply, but really up the ante to make your appreciation known.

Your 4-year employees have proven their loyalty by sticking around; they’ve clearly found a long-term work home at your company. A heartfelt anniversary gift helps employers send clear messages of gratitude that will keep dependable employees happy and engaged at work.

Depending on the size of your company and any budgetary restrictions — make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to properly research, order, and wrap their gift. You do not want to be scrambling while trying to get approval to purchase the gift all while the 4th year anniversary day approaches.

5 Years+ Of Service

In our era of job-hopping Millennial employees, average job tenure in the U.S. for workers in every industry (and of all ages) is just 4.4 years. Keeping someone around five or more years is definitely cause for celebration.

A “happy anniversary” email is not going to cut it in this case. A tenure like this may not come up all year, so take it as an opportunity to show them you really value their contribution to the team and company. This will also have a positive effect on the rest of your coworkers since they will see the benefits to a long and healthy stint at the business.

Planning a happy hour on their 5th year of service, bringing in their family for a party in the office, or gifting them a week of a paid sabbatical are all ideas we have found to work well for this big 5!


Benefits To Celebrating A Work Anniversary

You might be asking, why is recognizing work anniversaries and years of service important?

Well, in addition to cultivating meaning and a heap of other general feel-good benefits, recognizing anniversaries — by hosting work anniversary celebrations and giving work anniversary gifts, for example — also carries enough business-aligned benefits to turn any strategically-minded head.

Companies who commit to celebrating work anniversaries may benefit from:

1 – More engagement. You don’t just have to assume that a solid employee recognition program boosts engagement. Some studies validate this assumption, linking recognition to engagement and also job satisfaction. If recognition boosts engagement, then the employee anniversary, the Super Bowl of all employee recognition touchpoints, provides a prime opportunity to solidify feelings of appreciation and teamwork.

2 – Better employee retention, and therefore lower turnover cost burden, which can be hefty, Celebrating work anniversaries demonstrate your caring and appreciation, and employees who know how you feel about them tend to stick around, while those left wondering or assuming that you don’t appreciate them (over half according to one study) will be more inclined to walk away.

3 – Elevated morale. By acknowledging an employee’s anniversary and pointing out a few examples of the best work they did, you’re infusing their work with deeper meaning, and helping them care more about it and engage deeply with it.

4 – Stronger company cultures. Establishing a tradition of celebrating work anniversaries creates a company culture rich with all the essential benefits (namely consistency, community, and reassurance) that come along with holding any tradition.

5 – Enhanced employee wellbeing, especially in the career area of the five wellbeing essentials. Anniversary celebrations reinforce a sense of value, community, and security in a career path, a vitally important sentiment in a time when a global pandemic has made feelings of security rare.

To recap, celebrating work anniversaries opens doors to optimal engagement, retention, morale, culture, wellbeing, and surely taps into even more benefits that haven’t yet been documented by studies or surveys.


People Also Ask These Questions About Work Anniversaries

Q: What is a work anniversary?

  • A: A work anniversary is a celebration of continued employment as measured by the number of years dedicated to an employer.

Q: How do you celebrate an employee’s work anniversary?

  • A: You can celebrate an employee’s work anniversary by giving them a memorable experience, providing professional development, or even thoughtfully recognizing their strengths and skills. Find a variety of specific anniversary celebration ideas here.

Q: Why should we celebrate work anniversaries?

  • A: You should celebrate work anniversaries because doing so improves your levels of engagement, retention, group morale, culture, and employee wellbeing.

Q: How do you celebrate work anniversaries virtually?

Q: What is the best work anniversary gift?

  • A: The best work anniversary gift is the one with the potential to make the employee you’re celebrating feel as good as possible. Take a second to think about their interests and start researching based on topics and ideas that they will appreciate more than a general gift they may not use.

9 Comments

  • Pip Meecham says:

    I love these ideas Jeff! It’s so important to recognise the efforts from your team and celebrating their work anniversaries is an awesome way to do this!

  • Bob says:

    Great ideas. !!!!

  • Courtney says:

    I love the information on what matters to Millennials regarding recognition and longevity. Our current anniversary gift program gives a card signed by the manager, general manager, and president. Gifts are only given on years, 1, 5, 10, 15, etc. I’ve always heard complaining from employees that “all I get for year two is a card?!” This helps explain why a second year anniversary might be so important to some.

  • Sylvia Hancock says:

    These are all very clever ideas….

  • Melissa says:

    Amazing can’t wait to do this

  • Tonia Khattak says:

    Thank you Jeff! We are currently working on our work anniversaries and how to make them special. These are some great ideas. I enjoy the weekly emails that contain great ideas that I receive from Snack Nation! Keep them coming!

  • Billy Studebaker says:

    What about longer serving employees? 10 Years?

  • Great Article! This information is very helpful, your performance is outstanding. I request more Anniversary Gift Ideas give us. Thank you, Jeff!

  • I like idea #16 a lot. Donating to a charity of their choice is a lovely idea! Reminds me of my grandmother. She always asked us to donate to a charity instead of buying her a gift, because she thought the money would be better spent this way. Wise woman!

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