Traditional career milestones are still a big deal and should not go unnoticed, especially since they only come along every 5 years for each team member. Whether the celebration is for 5 years or 30 years, these are a few steps we recommend taking to make these experiences truly have an impact beyond just the acceptance of a trophy:
Plan a personalized event
Be sure to plan an event that reflects the number of service years being celebrated. Events for lower years can be kept more casual and informal. That way the events can grow larger and even more noteworthy as an individual grows in their career.
Think about unique elements you can add that will make that employee feel extra appreciated. Turn the tables on an employee who writes handwritten notes – ask others to handwrite notes of appreciation. Bring in a chocolate cake for the employee you know is a chocolate lover.
These subtle elements will go a long way, because they show the employee that the event was custom-created to celebrate them!
Invite people they know well
Pick a date that is on or close to the actual anniversary date, then extend invitations. Invite team members, managers, business partners, and other work associates. Prior to the event, ask 1 or 2 people that know the employee well to say a few words. That way they can prepare remarks and make it that much more memorable!
Gather in person if possible
Hold the event in person if it can be done safely within pandemic guidelines. Present the employee’s certificate, numeric trophy, or other milestone gift and encourage everyone to gather for a group photo. Pictures (and video if you can record the event) are nice keepsakes that the employee can also share with family and friends.
We recommend inviting remote workers into the office to celebrate their milestones as well. It can be a great opportunity for them to meet face to face with the people they typically only see on video calls. For employees that live too far or cannot travel, host a virtual event. Consider sending small party favors prior to virtual events for bigger career anniversaries.
EVERY FIVE YEARS VS. EVERY FIVE MINUTES
While career milestones are very important, we believe they aren’t the only thing worth celebrating. You should recognize the hard work that employees put in daily too, and these are our tips for celebrating everyday efforts:
Set aside time for recognition
Block out 10-15 minutes on your calendar each week to sit down and think about who you can recognize and how. You’ll almost always spot something great from little wins to daily hard work. After identifying who you’re recognizing and why, send eCards or write thank you notes. This weekly habit will make spotting these micro-moments secondhand nature!
Get to know your team members and how they prefer to receive praise. Do they prefer recognition privately or publicly? In person or virtually? Figure out what will be most meaningful for each of your employees. And if you can put a personalized spin on it, that’s even better! It could be sending a Harry Potter themed eCard to the Harry Potter fan or putting Cheez-Its on the desk of the snack enthusiast.
Keep an eye out for opportunities
Chances to show appreciation come up every day! Identify progress towards a specific goal in a one-on-one chat. Begin a team meeting by highlighting a recent team win. Thank someone for staying late to help on a project. Recognition does not always have to be formal…it can take place in informal conversations too.
In short, celebrating career milestones and recognizing everyday efforts are both far-reaching when it comes to engaging employees and enhancing the overall employee experience. Don’t let any of these moments pass by uncelebrated!
For more ideas on giving service awards and recognizing employees daily, check out our comprehensive guides.