Employee Engagement, Rewards & Recognition | Article

8 Standout Ways to Celebrate Service Anniversaries

We believe in the power of daily recognition. But we also believe in going above and beyond to celebrate yearly service anniversaries and make employees feel extra appreciated.

One of the important days in an employee’s career journey is their first. It marks the beginning of a new era. Then every year, they reach that anniversary date and can reflect on what they have accomplished. These milestones represent their loyalty, hard work, and dedication. Never let these dates go by unnoticed! Here are a few ideas how to celebrate your employees’ service anniversaries.

1. Career Journey Timeline

Map out the employee’s journey from their first day at your company to now. Did they move positions or get promoted multiple times? What are their accomplishments? Gather ideas from their peers on what to include. You can craft a physical representation of their journey or a digital version. Either way, make sure they get to keep it as a memento they can return to and reflect on.

2. Off-Site Trips

A group activity or trip off-site can be a fun way to celebrate. It can be a helpful solution when a few employees have the same anniversary date. Set your budget then find a fun local experience. Your team may venture out for an art class, wine tasting, boat ride, or fancy lunch. Tailor the experience to what you know the employee(s) enjoys doing in their free time.

3. Personalized Gifts/Awards

Custom-branded trophies are a unique nod to an employee’s years of service. Whether it’s a numeral award, perpetual cube, or another trophy, customize it to your brand and the recipient. Similarly, personalized gifts can really make an impact. You might gift a personalized desk organizer to the person who always has a tidy desk. Or you might give the sports lover tickets to a game to watch their favorite team.

4. Photo Collection

Ask team members to send in fun photographs from over the years of the employee being celebrated. If you are still in contact with people that have left the company (and worked closely with them), reach out to those people as well. You can even get the individual’s family involved and ask them to send in photos. This will bring in great personal photos for people to have a snippet into their life outside work!

5. Matching Gear

Have people coordinate a specific type of swag or outfit for the occasion. Hand out shirts or hats to employees for the occasion so everyone can match and surprise them. Even something gimmicky like a t-shirt with a memorable picture of the person can bring joy to the recipient and those participating. A low-cost option is having everyone wear what the employee typically wears to work.

6. Decorations Galore

Fill the office with decorations and posters highlighting how many years the employee has been with your organization. At least decorate their individual workspace with balloons, streamers, etc. Send a fun celebration kit to remote employees’ homes. It might include confetti and fun little decorations they can spruce up their remote workspace with.

7. Celebration Board

Digital celebration boards are an excellent option to get everyone involved. Plus, they are perfect for celebrating fully remote employees. You create the board and then their peers can write their own messages with pictures or GIFs. The recipient can then generate a public link to share the board. Family and friends can see it and they’ll be able to keep it as a memory even after leaving your company.

8. Words from the Heart

At your celebration, have someone (or multiple people) share kind words about the employee. Think about who they would love to hear from. It could be the CEO, their direct manager, or a colleague. Encourage the recipient themselves to say a few words if they feel inclined. It’s powerful for other employees to hear an employee talk about their tenure and reflect on their experience at your organization.

Whatever route you decide to take, make it authentic. Think about the employee’s preferences and the number of years of service, then create a unique celebration to honor them. Your employees are your greatest asset and they deserve to be thanked in big ways!