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With many teams now working remotely, the traditional ways that organizations celebrate work anniversaries are no longer viable. Even so, work anniversaries are still an excellent opportunity to celebrate your employees.
By recognizing them for their service to your company, you can boost team morale, happiness, and retention — all important things to the success of your organization.
If you want to celebrate your team members’ big milestones, but don't know how in the age of working from home, we're here for you! Keep reading to discover five creative work anniversary ideas for organizations of all kinds.
1. Recognize Team Members Publicly
For companies with more than a couple hundred employees, writing a personal note for every work milestone quickly becomes too time consuming to be practical. At this point, many companies start looking for ways to streamline the process of recognizing milestones — usually publicly and in real-time.
By the way, recognizing your employees’ work anniversaries publicly isn’t just about the individual — you’re creating an opportunity for everyone in your organization to join in the celebration. There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are a few examples:
- Virtual Parties: A digital get-together hosted via a video conferencing platform like Zoom is a fun way to celebrate work anniversaries — even in the age of social distancing. The kind of party you host is up to you. For instance, you could have a virtual happy hour, or hire a magician or comedian to perform on-screen.
- Peer-to-Peer Recognition: An employee recognition software like Kudos is an excellent way to publicly recognize and thank employees for their contributions and commitment. Plus it eliminates the manual work that typically makes years-of-service awards so time-consuming. Once birthdays and/or work anniversaries are configured in your organization, every employee’s milestones are posted in Kudos on their special day, making it easy for everyone in the company to send their well-wishes. For companies that offer their employees rewards, each milestone can be accompanied with a certain number of points redeemable for a Kudos Reward or a custom company reward.
- Social Media Posts: Posting on your company's social media pages is a great way to celebrate your employees. It doesn't get much more "public" than that! This approach also has the added benefit of positively impacting your employer brand by showing the world that you value your employees enough to celebrate them in this way. We just suggest checking with individual employees before doing this to make sure they're comfortable with it.
At Kudos, we take a hybrid approach with our employees. Everyone receives a Kudos Award® on their work anniversary — with tons of comments and congratulations from the rest of the team. But we also like to do a little something extra and hold a monthly virtual “Birthdays & Anniversaries” party just to get everyone together and have a little fun.
Pro Tip: If you’re using Kudos, your managers will receive automated reminders about employees who are about to celebrate a milestone or birthday. Use it to get a head start on your planning!
2. Provide a Virtual Career-Planning Session
In 2020, the average worker changes jobs every four years or so. There are many potential reasons for this — better pay, more amicable boss, shorter commute. Oftentimes employees get bored and simply want to embark on a new adventure.
But here's the thing: employee turnover is expensive. Replacing quality workers every few years isn't a great way to build a high-performance culture or a successful company.
That's why a virtual career-planning session can be such a great way to recognize a work anniversary!
Employees get to learn about ways to level up in the company, discover new roles that might interest them, and explore potential income-boosting opportunities that could become available to them in the future.
At the same time, your company sends a clear message that it values its employees, and enjoys the benefit of keeping its best team members engaged while increasing their value to the organization.
3. Create a One-of-a-Kind, Personalized Piece of SWAG
Instead of giving your employees a generic, one-size-fits-all piece of SWAG, or a plaque or trophy that just sits there taking up space, consider highly personalized items that not only name the person, but also calls out the values and qualities that they’ve displayed on the job. This level of personalization gives your team members daily reminders of why they’re valued in your organization.
Pro Tip: In Kudos, you can easily identify the qualities and values that are highest in each employee’s KQ. Here’s an example of a mug that highlights both the qualities that were represented, as well as the qualities that were recognized by this individual:
4. Support an Employee-Chosen Charity
Your employees also have personal values and causes they want to help further. That's why supporting an employee-chosen charity in recognition of their loyalty to your company is one of the best work anniversary ideas out there!
Show your team that you recognize and support their values (and help make the world a better place in the process) by donating to a charitable cause on their behalf.
5. Provide a Book of Memories
Forget the glass trophies and autographed photos of your CEO - when an employee has reached five, ten, or more years of service, they’ve probably created a lot of great memories. The thing is, over time a lot of those great moments become hazy, and the feeling of success and joy that comes from them becomes distant. Remind them! For a key milestone, create a memory book for a fantastic way to celebrate your employees, and remind them of the memories and success they have shared with your company.
If you’re already using Kudos, then you have an advantage here. Pop over to your employee’s Kudos profile and look for any “Impressive” and “Exceptional” Kudos message that has been received by the employee — those make for great memories! Next, hop into Albums and find any photos from company events with your all-star employee in them. You’ve now established a treasure trove of content for a meaningful book of memories.
Once you’ve designed your book, you can deliver it virtually via PDF, or have a printer ship it directly to your employee’s home. For extra credit, have your employee hold it up during your next virtual team party!
Celebrate Your Team in Meaningful Ways
Work anniversaries are important milestones and should definitely be celebrated. We encourage you to get creative and really make this moment special for your team members! Whether you celebrate them publically or offer to support their favorite charity, the gesture will definitely be appreciated and help boost team morale and retention. Good luck!