Employees love to be recognized. They appreciate a card on their birthday and a simple “Thank You” for a job well done. Another area that begs for employee recognition is a work anniversary. When you celebrate work anniversaries you recognize your employees and show them you value the commitment they’ve made to your company. Celebrating an anniversary is also a great tool to improve employee engagement.

Why You Need to Celebrate Work Anniversaries

There is a direct connection between recognition and retention. According to a SurveyMonkey survey, 63% of workers say they’re very unlikely to job hunt if they always or usually receive recognition. Employee recognition simply helps create a positive workplace culture and improves the employee experience. A SHRM survey saw 68% of respondents say their company’s recognition programs positively affect retention and 56% say recognition also positively affects recruitment. Regular recognition lets your employees know you value their work, which keeps them engaged and loyal to your company.

Some General Rules to Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Since every employee will have the opportunity to celebrate an anniversary, it’s important to set some general rules or guidelines to make sure this type of compensation is fair, and no one is forgotten.

  1. Decide how often you’ll celebrate work anniversaries. Of course an anniversary occurs every year but anniversaries can also be milestones. Decide if you’ll celebrate anniversaries every year, every five, 10, 15 or 20 years or a combination. For example, you can recognize employees every year as well as plan something special or over-the-top for those milestone anniversaries.
  2. Keep a master list of hire dates. If your HR software doesn’t allow you to easily pull up reports, Small Business Chronicle suggests keeping a spreadsheet of all your employees’ hire dates. Having a list you can check off, makes sure no anniversary is missed and will also alert you when a big one is coming up.
  3. Decide what type of celebration is appropriate. If you plan on recognizing annual and milestone anniversaries, decide in advance what that recognition will consist of to help set a budget. Yearly anniversaries can be recognized with something small like a card and/or a gift card to Starbucks and milestone anniversaries could receive lunch, a plaque or a party.
  4. Get employee feedback. An easy way to develop work anniversary ideas is to ask employees how they like to be recognized. Build questions into your onboarding process by asking when and how employees like their recognition when they’re hired. Not only does it provide you with valuable information, but it also educates new employees about what to expect of your company culture from the beginning.

Fun Work Anniversary Ideas

Recognizing an anniversary can either be a big event or something simple like a card. No matter your budget, here are some fun work anniversary ideas you can implement.

  • Sign a card. Giving your employees a card to thank them for their service or show appreciation is likely already something you’re doing. Make it more fun and impactful by asking co-workers to add a personal anecdote like a favorite quote from the employee being honored, a funny story or something more heartfelt, like how the employee helped their careers.
  • Spotlight them on social. Dedicate some space on your social platforms to recognize your employees’ anniversaries. You can use images or videos of the employee and post them on Facebook and ask followers to wish them a happy anniversary. Or share a group photo of all the employees who are celebrating in the same month. Spotlight them on your company’s Instagram story with a photo timeline of their tenure.
  • Give an extra day off. Allow employees to celebrate their anniversary with a day off. A free day off, without having to use PTO, gives employees the ability to run errands or just pamper themselves. If the employee can’t take their actual anniversary date off due to deadlines or other priorities, allow them to take it another time.
  • Let them bring their dog to work. At Arcoro, the employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work on a special day. Bringing furry friends to the office not only makes the employees happy but lightens up the entire office.
  • Decorate their desk. A banner with some streamers and balloons easily makes a desk look festive and special. Gather co-workers together either after work or before so the desk is the first thing the employee sees when he or she comes into work.
  • Provide breakfast. Not everyone takes lunch at the same time due to work schedules. Instead, celebrate an anniversary with a breakfast bar that can be enjoyed all morning. Arcoro has treated employees to boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts and even created a yogurt bar with fruit and granola toppings for a healthier option.
  • Bring in lunch. Summer is synonymous with barbecue. At ExakTime, an Arcoro company, the company brought in a barbecue feast to celebrate its employees. You can also keep costs down by making it potluck. Have the company provide the meat and ask the celebrated employee’s coworkers to bring in side dishes.
  • Give a gift card. The beauty of gift cards is that they can be given in any amount, large or small. What makes them special as anniversary gifts is you get the opportunity to really personalize the cards to your employee. Say your employee loves coffee, give a gift card to a local coffee shop. Or, if your employee is a runner, give a card to a local specialty running shoe store.
  • Donate to their favorite charity. Employees who are passionate about a charity will appreciate a donation in their name. Or give your employee time off to volunteer on their anniversary.
  • Set up some outdoor games. If the weather cooperates, celebrate an employee by throwing an outdoor party. Set up some outdoor games, like cornhole, ring toss, horseshoes or lawn darts. Your employees will enjoy a break away from their desks in the sunshine.
  • Create an indoor putt-putt game. If an outdoor celebration won’t work, bring the party inside. For a golf enthusiast, create an indoor mini-golf or putt-putt game. It’s a fun event even non-golfers can enjoy. Or choose another game that aligns with the celebrated employee’s interests like trivia, Pictionary or a murder mystery game; the sky is the limit. As a bonus, an indoor game doubles as a teambuilding event.
  • Bring in a food truck. Food trucks are everywhere and for good reason – these kitchens on wheels provide food that appeals to a large group and is easy to eat. Arcoro has brought in an ice cream truck to its office parking lot for employees to enjoy on a hot day. This is a fun idea for a simple party that doesn’t require a lot of set up or equipment.

Arcoro’s HR software solutions allow companies to track details and milestones about their employees. Our onboarding solution welcomes new employees and gives them a strong start. It is also vital for obtaining essential information about what your employee likes and what they expect from your company.

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