The Slice

25 Ideas to Celebrate an Employee's Work Anniversary

February 17, 2023

A work anniversary is a perfect way to show your employees that you value their hard work while also offering an opportunity to bring the whole team together in celebration. Let's look at 25 ideas for how you can make sure your employees' anniversaries don't pass by unnoticed.

Taking the time to celebrate an employee's work anniversary can help to make sure your employees feel appreciated, build a stronger team, and create a positive work environment.

At the same time, coming up with the perfect gift or planning the best possible party can be time-consuming and pricey. For this reason, it's a good idea to create a system for how you celebrate the anniversaries of your workers, such as coming up with specific types of gifts and budgets that you give based on the number of years with the company.

A work anniversary is a perfect way to show your employees that you value their hard work while also offering an opportunity to bring the whole team together in celebration. Let's look at 25 ideas for how you can make sure your employees' anniversaries don't pass by unnoticed.

1. Upgrade Their Work Station

Your employees spend countless hours at their desks every week. Is there a better way to celebrate their anniversary than to help them upgrade their workstation?

There are a number of ways you can go about this. You can offer them a stipend to use toward their workstation in whatever way they please, ask them which upgrades would be most useful to them, or surprise them with a state-of-the-art workspace.

This might mean gifting them a standing desk, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse, or a brand-new computer.

When you offer an upgraded workstation, you're giving something that is both practical and symbolic. Your employee can see that you are invested in their comfort while they work and will be reminded of this every time they sit down to start the day.

2. Send Them a Commemorative Video

Is your employee reaching a particularly memorable anniversary? Have they been with the company for many years and helped the entire operation grow and thrive with their tireless efforts?

If so, a wonderful way to show your appreciation is with a commemorative video or slideshow.

3. Throw Them a Pizza Party

Creating a celebratory vibe can be difficult when your entire team is distributed. Luckily, one of the options on the table is throwing a remote pizza party for your work-from-home team.

This can be a really fun break from the day when all of your employees can get together to celebrate the hard work and commitment of the person of honor. 

4. Spread the Word

An easy way to celebrate your employee's anniversary is to make sure that your entire team, department, and company know about their big milestone.

Spread the word about their upcoming anniversary so your employee will receive words of encouragement and praise from the organization!

5. Feature Them Online

Not all gifts must be expensive or time-consuming to be meaningful. One nice thing you can do is to give a public shoutout online to your employee in recognition of their work anniversary.

Linkedin is a particularly good place to do this, but you can also publish a blog post in honor of their tenure with the company.

6. Privately Acknowledge Their Hard Work

Though giving physical gifts, throwing parties, and publicly shouting out anniversaries are lovely ideas for showing how much you appreciate your employee's hard work, private acknowledgment can sometimes be even more meaningful.

Of course, these ideas aren't mutually exclusive at all. You can throw a big ol' bash for your hardworking team member while also taking some time to privately tell them how much you value their time with the company. A little private recognition can go a long way if you send a note, set up a one-on-one meeting, or simply mention it to them the next time they're on a video call.

7. Give Them the Day Off

Employees and employers alike are increasingly aware of just how important work-life balance is. To show just how much you appreciate all of their hard work, let them take the day off!

Having the opportunity to spend their work anniversary in a way of their choosing– with their loved ones, doing something they enjoy, or simply relaxing– can really set a positive tone and communicate just how much you care about their overall well-being.

8. Celebrate With Cocktails

If you really want to take the celebration to the next level, throw your seasoned employee a happy hour get-together. You don't all have to live and work in the same place in order to make this a reality, though. You can recreate the experience of the entire team heading to the bar after work by throwing a virtual happy hour.

This is the perfect way for everyone to celebrate together regardless of where they live. It gives the opportunity for your team to relax and unwind while honoring the person of the hour. You'll be amazed that people who have been working together for years will make deeper connections by simply spending a little time hanging out without focusing on work.

To make it a night to remember, consider bringing in a live music DJ to set a celebratory tone or a stand-up comedian to get the night started with some serious belly laughs.

9. Send Them a Gift Certificate

You can send a gift certificate as a part of a larger gift package or a stand-alone gift for smaller work anniversaries or tight budgets. Though gift certificates get a bad rap as a gift you give when you don't know what else to do, choosing thoughtfully can actually be really meaningful.

Ask around to find out about your employee's favorite restaurants, stores, coffee shops, or spas so that you can give them a personalized gift certificate suited to their interests. If you're struggling to find the perfect gift certificate, it's also perfectly acceptable to offer a prepaid gift card that allows them to spend the money however they choose.

10. Create an Achievement Timeline

Creating an achievement timeline for employees that have been with your organization for a long time can be the perfect way to show that you recognize the journey that the employee has been on since day one.

Including notable milestones, photographs, and funny or meaningful stories, this is an excellent gift idea for long-term employees celebrating a big milestone anniversary.

11. Offer Professional Development Opportunities

Is the employee of the hour eager to grow in their role with the company? Are they always trying to learn new things and hone their skills?

If so, offering professional development opportunities is a thoughtful gift that can show them that you care about their career.

This could mean getting them signed up for a tuition assistance program through your company, sending them to skills training courses, offering them management and leadership training, or assisting them in acquiring professional certifications that are relevant to your industry.

12. Hand Them the Talking Stick

This is a great gift for people who love sharing what they've learned with the people around them. You could save this gift for bigger anniversaries, but it's also a nice gesture for people that have been with the company for a few years.

Offer the opportunity for the employee to have the floor to share what they've learned with their coworkers over their tenure with the company. If that sounds a bit stiff, it could also be a chance for them to share a skill with their colleagues that they've been working on in their free time.

Not all employees will love this idea– introverts would likely shudder at the idea. But for workers that love talking to a crowd, this can be a lovely way to show your appreciation.

13. Hold a Lunch in Their Honor

If you're searching for a way to show your appreciation but the occasion doesn't call for an all-day bash, an awesome option is a celebratory lunch.

You can do this in-office if you all work out of the same spot, or you can throw a remote lunch party where you all break bread together and take time to share your favorite stories about the person of the hour.

14. Offer Shares in the Company

For bigger anniversaries (think five or ten years,) a gift that can benefit all parties involved are shares in the company.

Not only does this offer something very tangible in return for their hard work, but it also can give them an increased interest in the success of the company over time.

15. Create a Scrapbook

Have you taken a bunch of photos over the years? Do you have a collection of lovely images of the team from retreats, get-togethers, and other occasions?

If so, a really nice way to let your employee know how much they're appreciated is to put together a scrapbook that compiles countless memories into one space.

16. Send a Personalized Gift Box

A wonderful way to send tangible gifts to remote employees, a personalized gift box can be a cost-effective yet thoughtful way to show how much their hard work means to you.

While there are many pre-made gift boxes and baskets out there, it can be nice to add some personalized touches. Brainstorm about your employee's interests and ask their coworkers about their hobbies. Consider theming the basket to fit one of their primary avocations and sending a personal note as a cherry on top.

17. Take Something Off Their Plate

Has everyone on your team been pretty much pushed to the limit recently? Are people constantly pulling late nights to meet deadlines? Is the employee of the hour particularly susceptible to filling their plate to the brim and taking on more than their share of the work?

If this all sounds familiar, consider giving the gift of lightening the load. Find an activity that you know they find to be burdensome and find a way to re-distribute the work– perhaps to another employee that doesn't have as much on their plate or by hiring a freelancer to deal with simple but time-consuming tasks.

18. Throw a Game Night

Another lively way to celebrate your employee's commitment to your company is by throwing a big, old-fashioned game night. This is a recipe for a wholesome good time that lets everyone relax and their competitive juices flow and serves as a team-building exercise.

If your team is spread out all over the world, don't worry. There are tons of options at your disposal– whether you go with a live trivia event, a mini-games triathlon, a radio bingo bash, or a combination of the above. Combine this with a virtual happy hour and some piping hot, fresh pizza, and you've got yourself a party to remember.

19. Send a Work-From-Home Care Package

A simple way to help your remote workers feel valued and celebrated on their work anniversary is to send a work-from-home care package.

This can include small gifts like a coffee tumbler, a cute desk lamp, a cozy blanket, and a lap desk.

20. Give the Gift of Relaxation

Researchers increasingly understand that relaxing helps to keep us mentally and physically healthy, but many of the hardest working employees can struggle to find the time to let themselves let go and unwind.

Giving the gift of relaxation could take the form of offering a gift certificate to a spa near them or sending them an at-home spa basket to use on their next day off.

21. Offer Some Quality Time With the Boss

Having one-on-one time with the CEO or another higher-up in the company can be a very meaningful display of an employee's value.

This can be as simple as a lunch meeting or a coffee break together, where the honored worker gets the chance to pick the brain of a leader in the organization.

22. Send a Classic Work Anniversary Gift

If you're on the hunt for a simple way to show your employee that you appreciate them, some really sweet ideas include a fruit basket, a bouquet of flowers, or a house plant.

Sending the gift of a house plant is a particularly nice idea, as your worker can use it to liven up their workspace in an ongoing way. As the plant grows over time, it can serve as a metaphor for the way that they have grown into their role and thrived while working with your team!

23. Offer a Monetary Bonus

We would be remiss if we didn't mention one of the most versatile and powerful anniversary gifts you can give an employee– a monetary bonus. If you are looking for a tangible way to communicate that you value your employee's dedication to the team and organization, consider giving them cold, hard cash.

That being said, this will need to be a standard practice that applies to all employees at specific milestones if you choose to give one employee a monetary bonus. The last thing you want to do is have your gift backfire by opening yourself up to being the recipient of favoritism accusations.

24. Support Their Favorite Charity

Is the employee with a big anniversary someone that is socially conscious and committed to helping make the world a better place?

If so, give them the gift of a healthy donation to a charitable cause that is close to their heart.

25. Give the Gift of Getting Away

Taking a vacation can be seriously beneficial to our mental and physical health and can allow us to return to work with a fresh and revitalized perspective. To show that you value your employee's work-life balance, one of the best gifts you can give is the ability to get away from it all.

This doesn't mean you need to send an all-expenses paid trip to the Bahamas (though that would certainly be nice!) You can also send a travel essentials kit, the perfect luggage, or a stipend for taking a weekend out of town.

No matter how you're planning on celebrating the work anniversary of your employees, it's always a good idea to make sure that everyone is well-fed. Whether you're throwing a game night, a happy hour, or a special lunch celebration, you can count on PizzaTime to deliver delicious meals right to your remote workers' doors whenever the occasion calls for it.

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