Are you celebrating work anniversaries within your organization?
Employee recognition is crucial to building an engaged, satisfied team. However, the traditional model of waiting until year five to celebrate employee contributions needs an update.
While the Great Resignation seems to be slowing, employee retention remains more critical now than ever before. According to Forbes Advisor, the average tenure of an employee today is 4.1 years, and nearly 38% of employees quit within the first year of employment.
Statistics like this signal the importance of personal, meaningful recognition right from the start.
Why Building a Work Anniversary Program Matters
Work anniversaries help you recognize individual contributors in ways that improve morale, build connection, and remind employees that you care and want them to succeed.
While there is a cost associated with celebrating employees sooner and more often, it's relatively minor compared to the cost of hiring and training a new employee. While figures vary, SHRM estimates the average cost per hire to be around $4,700!
Tips to Keep in Mind When Celebrating Years of Service
Create a Plan
Leverage your employee database to track who needs to be celebrated and when. Create an annual plan that gives you plenty of notice when employee anniversaries are approaching. If you are using the PlumTree gifting platform, you can easily order and ship gifts using your client portal as needed!
Make anniversary recognition personal.
Make each work anniversary recognition personal. Even if all employees receive the same gift and message from the organization, find additional opportunities for a direct supervisor to recognize the employee’s specific contributions. Don’t be afraid to tell your employees what you value about their personality and skills.
Keep things equitable.
If you celebrate one-year anniversaries, do it for every team member, not just some. Similarly, if you decide a tenth anniversary involves a party, this should be the standard for all ten-year employees. If your team is large, consider hosting one gathering that recognizes everyone who has reached ten years of service that calendar year.
Ideas for Recognizing Employees Throughout Their Tenure
If you’ve traditionally held off until five-year or ten-year celebrations, the thought of adding earlier anniversary gifts can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, small acts of recognition can make a big impact.
Remember that the gesture is more important than the value of the gift. A smaller token to mark year one is completely acceptable. Then, as your employee continues their journey, recognition can become more significant over time. For a fifth anniversary, you could send something like our Sweat and Rest Gift Box featuring workout bands and luxury bath and body items to promote relaxation.
Then, for a milestone like ten or fifteen years, you could send something bigger, like our Chef in Action Gift Box, which includes a high-end knife set, cutting board, apron, and cookbook.
There are so many options, and each company’s circumstances are unique. Here are some general ideas and inspiration to consider when building your work anniversary gifting strategy:
Before Year One
While, technically, they haven't yet reached an "anniversary," it doesn't mean you can't get the good feelings flowing. Consider including an onboarding gift that welcomes them into the fold. Choose a tastefully branded item paired with something that conveys your company's values or core purpose. Another option is celebrating the six-month mark with a note and a small appreciation gift.
A gift to celebrate making it through an entire business cycle is a smart move. We love the idea of a thoughtful note or email paired with one of our Mini Kits. Mini Kits are a less expensive gift option (usually around $35), including two carefully selected items and a card.
Our On The Go Mini Kit includes a digital accessory bag and wireless charger that are sure to get plenty of use!
The In-Between Years (2–4, 6–9, 11–14, and all the rest)
Even in years that don't feel like major milestones, recognition matters. Consider these work anniversaries as reminders to keep ahead of appreciation and boost morale. A fun and lighthearted gift at a moderate price point can be a great option. We offer a Game is On Box that fits the bill, featuring a card game, artisan cocktail mixer, and spherical ice tray. An in-between anniversary is also an excellent time for a social media shoutout, a feature in a company-wide email, or a LinkedIn recommendation from upper management.
The Milestone Years (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and beyond)
Years ending in "0" and "5" call for something extra special! Of course, the budget and effort you put into a twenty-fifth anniversary are going to be more than you would for a fifth, but these are some fantastic ways to celebrate throughout the years:
- Gift Boxes We may be a bit biased, but we think a curated gift box says a lot! By selecting items that reflect your brand's personality and your team's interests, our gift consultants can help you create a memorable moment.
- Gatherings Gatherings can be a great way to mark a milestone, from a lunch or dinner out to a large party.
- Professional Development Opportunities Consider things like travel to a desirable conference, coaching, or even a short sabbatical.
- Vacation Time The gift of time is always valuable. Whether it’s an afternoon off or a bonus week of vacation, additional vacation time is always sure to please.
- Monetary Bonus A one-time bonus during an anniversary year can demonstrate gratitude for an employee's efforts and impact.
Whatever plan you adopt, remember that the most important goal is to thoughtfully and equitably appreciate your team throughout their time with your company.
Is it time to refresh your work anniversary program?
Tell us your needs, and we can prepare a gifting plan supporting your goals.