1. Involve the Entire Team
Celebrating a work anniversary shouldn’t be an isolated action. It’s an excellent opportunity for employees to get to know each other, find out what they have in common, and create a healthy, positive work environment. So make sure the entire team is up to date with the upcoming anniversary and ready for the celebration.
2. Make It Personal
While a work anniversary is a work-related event, it is also a very personal milestone. Therefore, the celebration should also be personal. For example, people who celebrate their first year with the company may want to be acknowledged and become part of the team. People celebrating their twentieth year with the company may want to be respected and seen as an experienced mentor. For each occasion and person, come up with a customized work anniversary idea.
3. Send a Meaningful Gift
Many companies use the same scenario for picking up a work anniversary gift: it should be the same for everyone, neutral, and show the company’s logo. The principles are good, but the execution is poor. Yes, you should treat everyone equally and ensure the present is not offending or disrespectful. At the same time, you want the gift to be meaningful and memorable. If you gift the same mug or T-shirt with the company’s logo every year, people will sense that you aren’t authentic and just check a routine task. A handwritten card is better than any company swag.
4. Offer Gift Cards
If you don’t know what present to give, stay with the classic gift cards. You may want to do different gift cards based on tenure and invest the same money for everyone. For example, for the first year, you may give a gift card to a popular bookstore or restaurant; for the second year, a travel card, and so on. Make sure the gift card is equally valuable for all employees.
5. Order a Celebration Meal
Whether your staff is working from an office or remote, a celebration meal is always welcome. They can share it with colleagues or family and feel at the center of attention for one day. Make sure you respect the lifestyle choices of each person. For example, order a vegetarian meal for vegetarians, consider food allergies, and respect religious customs.
6. Offer Customized Benefits
Your company’s policy may include a list of customized benefits corresponding to tenure. It’s a transparent and inclusive way of rewarding the loyalty of your staff. They will know exactly what to expect for each work anniversary. For example, after working for one year, employees may choose between a gym membership, additional health services, dental insurance, lunch pass, and so on.
7. Increase the Leave Entitlement
Time off is always appreciated. And there is nothing more rewarding and reassuring than knowing that the company trusts you to take more leave and keep up the good work. Increasing the number of leave days motivates employees to stay with the company for longer, be more responsible when planning their holidays, and manage task planning better.
Managing employee leave with spreadsheets is tedious, takes time, and can cause errors. Nevertheless, you can't prevent absenteeism or abuse with such practices. LeaveBoard automates the absence management process, streamlines communications, and prepares monthly and annual reports in software that is simple and has an easy-to-use interface HR portal, as you can see in the screenshot below. Moreover, you can customize the allowances of every employee. If Josh gets one more day of PTO within his third work anniversary, you can easily customize this within the software.
8. Offer Training or Upskilling Opportunities
This work anniversary idea is based on trust. When you offer training and upskilling opportunities, you show employees you care about their professional development and have confidence in their careers. Highly trained employees find good jobs easier and can earn more money. But the fact that you have invested in their career fosters loyalty and trust.
9. Gift a Creative Workshop
Although it is a work anniversary, work isn’t all that matters. People need to take care of their creative and emotional parts to be productive and engaged. So, instead of focusing the work anniversary celebration on work, focus on other experiences. A creative workshop allows people to relax, have fun, and enjoy a different type of activity.
10. Commission a Life Coach for a Day
We all need some encouragement from time to time. Work-related milestones are moments of reflection and recollection. Having a life coach for a day may be exactly the energy boost the employees need. Learning how to balance work and family life, have a healthy lifestyle, find and follow their life goals, and be happy is one of the best work anniversary gifts you can give.
11. Discuss a Promotion
After a particular number of years with the company, many employees expect a promotion. Even if it is just a theoretical discussion, take advantage of this occasion to discuss the future opportunities of the employee. It’s a decisive moment in their career, and a discussion in that direction will be appreciated.
Tip: We do offer a 9-box grid template that allows you to spot high performers within the organization who have great potential to become future leaders.
12. Gift a Paid Trip
When an employee has worked several years for the company, a paid trip is exactly what they need. Not only that you provide time for relaxing and having fun, but you also provide ways. Make sure you consult the employee about where and when they want to go and include the family members as well. A travel gift card may be a good idea too.
13. Commission a Personalized Artwork
Important milestones need to be memorable. A personalized artwork or print will remind employees of their time with the company even when they will no longer work there. It may be a painting, sculpture, or fine art photograph that defines the time spent with the company or team.
14. Upgrade the Work Space
A good work anniversary idea is to invest in the workspace. Whether it is an office or a remote space, having a healthy environment (e.g., good lighting, ergonomic furniture, high-tech devices, etc.) helps people be more efficient and relaxed. The stress from a lousy office chair goes a long way. So offer an upgrade and ask employees what they need to be more comfortable at work.
15. Plan an Office Party
Don’t forget about the classic celebration with an office party. But personalize the party to fit the occasion and person. For example, a one-year employee may want to meet as many people as possible, while a ten-year employee may want to celebrate with their closest colleagues. The tone of the party also differs from one person to another. Some may prefer a quiet afternoon party with coffee and sweets, while others may prefer an official party with speeches and champagne.
16. Plan an Outdoor Party
An outdoor party is a good work anniversary idea because it gets people out of the office and allows them to connect in a casual environment. Furthermore, it works equally well for remote and in-person working styles. An outdoor party may be casual, stylish, fancy, long, or short. It’s a versatile type of event, so you can easily adapt it to your staff’s preferences.
17. Organize an Online Brunch
In-between meetings and tasks, an occasional brunch is welcome. And if you don’t want to make too much fuss, an online brunch is even better. Provide the same meal for employees working from home and in the office and organize an unconventional online meeting to celebrate our colleague’s work anniversary. In a relaxed atmosphere, people improve their communication abilities and befriend easily.
Surprises are a great way to celebrate a work anniversary on the budget. Gather the team and surprise the protagonist with cards, wishes, songs, gifts, and emails at a commonly agreed time. It may take no longer than a few minutes and a coffee, but the surprise will be remembered and cherished. It shows you care and find time to make a nice gesture.
19. Buy a Glamorous Cake
The cake is never out of fashion. It’s a simple and efficient way to celebrate a work anniversary. Sharing a cake provides a moment of complicity, honest communication, and relaxation. It makes everyone’s day better. Choose a high-quality cake manufacturer and go for an elegant all-favorite flavor.
20. Offer a Spa Day
Another way to contribute to the well-being of your employees is to offer them a pampering day. Don’t choose the services yourself. Instead, allow employees to choose their favorite services and benefit from an entire day of relaxation and meditation. After a year of hard work and stress, they all deserve a day of peace and quiet.
21. Gift an Experience Day
If you want employees to know they have your support, consider helping them check something on their bucket lists. Many people dream to attend a particular event, try something new, finish a marathon, and so on. By offering your support, you denote trust, friendship, and respect. You show people you care at a holistic level. Not to mention you give them a memory for a lifetime.
22. Grant Late Mornings for a Week
While a work anniversary gift or party is a localized action, receiving late mornings for a week is a continuous action with deeper results. It allows people to take it slowly, spend more time with their family, and get some rest. It shows you value their health and well-being and aim to have happy employees, not just productive employees. Furthermore, after a week of getting up late and having breakfast in peace, they will be eager to return to work.
23. Provide a Thoughtful Recommendation Letter
A great way to acknowledge the value of an employee is to offer a recommendation letter. You may give it in person or publish it on LinkedIn or other professional websites. It publicly shows your consideration, appreciation, and support for their future career.
24. Give a Financial Bonus
Many employees appreciate and even expect a financial bonus on the occasion of a work anniversary. It’s a straightforward way to say “thank you” for a year of hard work. It may be more pragmatic than other work anniversary ideas, but it’s functional and practical. You can add a handwritten letter to add more emotional value.
25. Grant a Day Off
What better gift than a day off? No more meetings, emails, and stress. Just time for themselves, to spend with their family and friends. We often think that work anniversaries should be about the working environment, but the truth is people enjoy more free time. And you can always celebrate when they return to work. Especially for people working remotely, free time is precious.
With LeaveBoard you can create a new leave policy called "Work anniversary", with the entitlement of 1 day per year. Alternatively, you can add one extra day to the Vacation allowance, when that day will take place so that the coworker will have one day to rest, rejuvenate and recharge.
Tip: With LeaveBoard, you have access to calendar feeds to the next work anniversary of your colleagues.
26. Arrange a Career Planning Session
A career coach or an HR specialist may clarify the employee’s career path. Show your interest and consideration by providing employees with the tools and support they need to grow and develop their careers. Give them access to professional advice when they need it the most.
27. Gather Appreciation from Their Peers
Instead of speaking only for yourself, speak on behalf of a community. Gather wishes and letters from colleagues and managers and create an anniversary scrapbook. It shows people they are respected and loved by the entire team or company. Especially for employees in key positions, knowing they’ve made a mark is emotional and inspirational.
Tip: We do offer 60+ appreciation letter examples for your colleagues.
28. Provide Stock Options
When you share the profit with your staff, you tell them they are part of your success. It’s engaging and fosters loyalty and responsibility. It also rewards long years of hard work and sacrifices. Offering stock options is a way of motivating people and a good employee retention strategy.
29. Get Involved in a Charity of Their Choice
If you cultivate a positive work environment and a caring company culture, helping a charity may be your way of celebrating work anniversaries. When people are active in their community, they appreciate your support more than anything. It’s not about them anymore; it’s about helping others. And it’s a good feeling to know that your hard work helps the ones in need.
30. Just Ask What They Want
The optimal work anniversary celebration involves asking people what they want. You can come up with the most extraordinary work anniversary idea. If the receiver doesn’t appreciate it, it is meaningless. So take the time to ask your colleagues and employees what they prefer to do on this special occasion. Some may not want a party. Others may not need a spa day. Value their opinion and show them you really listen and care.
Celebrating work anniversaries should be thoughtful, respectful, and inclusive. A simple gesture may be more appreciated than a fancy party. Ask for feedback and see what your employees need. Many will prefer extra time off that you can easily manage with an HR app. Others will prefer the empowering of self-services and self-management. Find the recipe for each employee and be authentic in your methods.