Ideas for Celebrating a Great Work Anniversary in Your Office

Ana Gotter
February 6, 2023
9 Great Work Anniversary Celebration Ideas | Hoppier

In the past few decades, job hopping has become more common, especially among younger generations. Instead of hunkering down to try to climb the internal ladder at a single company, employees are increasingly bouncing from employer to employer, seeking new opportunities to rise more quickly in both title and salary.

The median tenure (or length of time at a single company) for those 65 and older has been 10.3 years, while it’s only 3.2 years for those ages 25-34. You can't ignore this, especially since employee turnover rates are expensive to businesses once you factor in the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees (the average employee exit costs a business around 33% of their annual salary).

Finding ways to keep your employees around is important, therefore, and one of your best options is just to make your employees feel appreciated from the first day. When employees don’t feel like their work is recognized, they’re twice as likely to start the job-hunting process. 

When it comes to recognizing your coworker's hard work, it’s best to do so consistently. This includes praise after a job well-done, but it also includes celebrating milestones. But simply saying 'Happy work anniversary' or ‘Congrats’ isn't enough—you must also honor the time your employees have committed to your business.

Celebrating an employee's work anniversary can come in a number of different shapes and sizes, so let’s take a look at 9 different options for how to thank your team for their years of work. 

1. Give a Work Anniversary Gift

While work anniversary wishes are great and necessary when celebrating an employee's work anniversary, sometimes something tangible can go a long way.

Give your team members a physical memento of their time with your company. This can be a certificate or even a small glass paperweight with the company name and years of employment carved in.

Think about offering up small monetary gifts, too, like a $25 Hoppier card, or a set of movie passes for them and a friend. There are even work anniversary gifting platforms (like Caroo) that will automatically send your employee a customized anniversary gift box to celebrate their big day.

You can also set up an employee rewards program and award each employee “points” based on their years of service, which they can redeem for the gift of their choice. Some peer-to-peer recognition tools may enable this, which you can learn more about here

A gift box wrapped with blue ribbon and a thank you note to celebrate a work anniversary in your office.
Image source: Hoppier

2. Feature Them Online 

Most people love getting a public shoutout; it shows you value your team and the work they’re doing, and everybody loves feeling special.

Wish your employees a happy workiversary by featuring employees on the company site. A dedicated landing page or a ‘Featured employees’ section on your company's ‘About Us’ page work well to celebrate their special day while highlighting the good work they've done. You can also interview them for a short piece on your blog or the company newsletter to further boost employee satisfaction.

Anniversary shoutouts are particularly well-suited to social media like LinkedIn. Share a quick blurb about who the employee is, how long they’ve been with your company, why you love having them, and what they love about their job. Post a picture of them that they get to choose, and upload it to your accounts.

This is something that they can show off to their own friends and family and feel proud of.

3. Throw In an Extra Day Off 

We all experience burnout, and I don’t know anyone who isn’t motivated by the thought of an extra day off. 

For every year that an employee is with the company, consider granting them an extra day off in the form of PTO or vacation time. This is a major benefit that your staff is sure to appreciate, but it benefits you, too; when people have enough time off to enjoy their lives, they’ll be more focused and excited about the work they do.

And it’s important to note that while some of your team members may well take every single vacation day you offer them, there’s a solid chance that most won’t. In 2017, 52% of Americans didn’t use all of the vacation days allotted to them. 

4. Throw a Party 

Everybody loves an office party, and it’s a good way to publicly acknowledge your team with their other team members. Throw a casual party in the office breakroom at lunch, or end work half an hour early before the end of the day to celebrate with cake, delicious snacks, and some words of appreciation. 

How often you’re throwing parties will depend on your business’s structure. Companies like Disney will throw major events for cast members hitting major milestones, like 15 years, once a year. If you want to have a company-wide event, this works well, and you can celebrate everyone all at once.

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You can also have individual teams host the celebrations, so you’re only looking at 5-10 events per team per year. This will depend on the size of the team, so using best judgement will be crucial.

No matter what, thank each team member celebrating individually. Appreciation is the name of the game, after all. 

Seven people jumping and celebrating a work anniversary with streamers and balloons.
Image source: Hoppier

5. Private Acknowledgement 

Sometimes we all underestimate the value of a single quiet “thank you.” A lot of employees really want to hear that, even if they don’t realize it, especially from their direct supervisors. We inherently want to know that our work is appreciated. 

Make sure that your team leaders know to take some time and thank each individual celebrating a work anniversary for the hard work they’ve put into the company. If possible, mention specifics, like “You’ve really done an excellent job motivating other team members to sell more, you’re a big asset to us” or “Fantastic job on that client account-- they were extremely happy.”

If possible, have your team leads receive notifications or set alerts on the anniversary days for each of their team members. 

6. Public Acknowledgement In Office 

Private acknowledgement is great, but a little public acknowledgement in the office is certainly welcomed.

During a team meeting or conference call, give the employee celebrating the work anniversary a shoutout for a round of applause. It’s best to do this on the exact day they’ve joined the company if possible, or at least at the beginning of the anniversary month. Praise them for their work ethic and another successful year, wish them good luck, and let them have an extra long lunch that day.

A woman shakes a hand as, with three others faded in the background, to show gratitude for a work anniversary.
Image source: Hoppier

7. Sending a Note 

This taps into that employees want acknowledgement from their direct managers again.

In a time when we’re all sending a flurry of emails every hour, consider doing something a little more personal. Be it a 1-year work anniversary or 10-year work anniversary celebration, a handwritten note or anniversary card from the team lead or another leader the individual respects works wonders to make them feel special.

Even an e-card with personalized work anniversary messages and best wishes from the team is much appreciated, making it the perfect small gesture that can make a big impact. The fact that it also strengthens company culture is another advantage.

A laptop and hands over it writing a thank you note for a work anniversary
Image source: Hoppier

8. Let Them Call the Shots 

Everybody likes having a little bit of decision-making power, and the day of their work anniversary is the best day to hand it over!

Let the employee being celebrated choose where lunch is ordered in from, for example. Give them free rein, or offer a selection of takeout menus if you want it to be budget-friendly. Small gestures like these make great first work anniversary ideas.

9. Roll Out Major Perks for Major Anniversaries 

If someone has worked for your company for five years, they deserve something special; if they’ve made it 10 years, or even 15, that’s even more impressive.

Reserve major benefits for important milestones, and make it their best work anniversaries. After 5 years, for example, your teammate can be eligible for a paid sabbatical, and after 10 they could qualify for a paid vacation. And no this isn't expensive. Considering retaining your top talent is always cheaper than losing and replacing them, this is actually something that can lead to higher profitability as time flies.  

Final Thoughts 

Employee appreciation is directly tied to lower employee churn rates, so taking some time to celebrate work anniversaries is something more businesses should be doing. If you’re celebrating an employee's work anniversary, after all, you can potentially increase the number of anniversaries each employee averages with your company, which is well worth the extra effort. 

Want more ideas for how to show employee appreciation and boost engagement rates? You can check out our Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement here

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo

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Ready to 2x your global engagement at your next event, with Ox stress?

Make Hoppier your unfair advantage today, schedule a demo


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