Your employees deserve to be celebrated for their loyal service to show them that you appreciate them and care. Choose one of these work anniversary gift ideas to raise employee satisfaction and ensure your staff sticks around for the long run.
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Between the “gig economy,” job hopping, and operating in the shadow of “the Great Resignation,” employee tenure isn’t what it used to be.
The average tenure of US employees was 3.9 years in 2020, with 40% of employees quitting within the first year. This makes the employees that make it to five, 10, or even 15 years of service all the more worthy of celebration.
Celebrating work anniversaries with an appropriate gift shows employees that you care about them. Read on to hear the best work anniversary ideas for employees.
What Are Work Anniversary Gifts?
Work anniversary gifts are presents or experiences given to employees by their manager or organization when they have achieved a milestone of continuous service. Often, gifts are given at five-year intervals.
However, there is no rule for when you can give work anniversary gifts—it’s up to you to decide what is suitable for your business.
For example, if you work in retail, hospitality, or any industry that traditionally has a high turnover of employees, celebrating colleagues’ work anniversaries after a year or two of continuous service may be more suitable.
The Benefits of Giving Work Anniversary Gifts
They promote inclusivity
Including the whole team in selecting a gift when an employee meets a service milestone can bring a sense of camaraderie to the office. Including all employees in celebrating a work anniversary will promote inclusivity within the company.
You should also make sure all employees are given gifts of roughly the same price for similar milestones. For example, senior managers should not receive a more expensive gift for five years of service than an administrator receives. Ensuring that colleagues are treated equally also promotes inclusivity.
They reinforce a healthy workplace culture
Giving work anniversary gifts will reinforce a healthy workplace culture by showing you value employees as individuals, not just as workers. Celebrating employee milestones promotes an “above-and-beyond” workplace culture that your employees may begin to mimic, contributing to a more engaged and productive workforce.
They improve employee engagement and satisfaction
A good employee recognition program will help you reduce turnover by making hard-working team members feel valued for their efforts and organizing anniversary celebrations is a big part of that. When you celebrate employee anniversaries, you show them that their work is appreciated and they are an integral part of your team. This will result in a positive work environment and motivate your employees to stay with you for the long term.
How to Give the Best Work Anniversary Gifts
Keep track of everyone’s anniversaries
The first step in giving a great work anniversary gift is ensuring you keep track of every team member’s upcoming anniversaries. Setting a reminder for a few weeks before the anniversary is beneficial, so you have ample time to purchase a gift and schedule any celebration.
Give gifts that are fair and appropriate to the occasion
You should select gifts that are appropriate to your employee’s length of service and are generally in line with the gifts purchased for others for a similar length of service. For example, should you gift one employee with a company-branded mug for five years of service and another with a bottle of champagne or tickets to their favorite sports team, employees may accuse you of playing favorites.
Setting a budget and sticking to it for each company milestone is advisable so that all employees get gifts that seem fair and equal. For example, $25 for a first work anniversary, $50 for five years, $100 for ten years, and so on.
Make it personal
Gifts don’t necessarily need to be expensive, but they do need to be personal to feel meaningful. You can get creative and select a unique gift that specific employees will use and enjoy, or you could hand-make something incredibly personal. Either way, it’s best to avoid getting everyone the same thing, as this could do the opposite of making employees feel appreciated.
Get everyone involved
If your employee is celebrating a long tenure at work, they are likely to have connected with many employees across the business over the years. In this case, you should have a larger celebration. Send an open invitation across departments so all colleagues who have associated with the employee over the years can attend.
Our Favorite Work Anniversary Gift Ideas
Employee Work Anniversary Gift Ideas for One-Year Work Anniversaries
After one year, a work anniversary gift should be a small, personalized token of appreciation.
Customized Company Merch
A company-branded sweater, mug, backpack, or beanie is the perfect token for an employee’s first work anniversary. It is a great reward and will strengthen your brand and provide free advertising for the company.
Best for: Companies with a strong brand image or well-known name.
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: Employees want to feel like they’re a part of a bigger whole, and this gift will do just that: show them they’re part of your workplace community.
A Snack Box
A snack box filled with your employee’s favorite treats is an inexpensive and easy to tailor employee anniversary gift. Fill with their favorite candies, healthy snacks, or chips to keep on their desk throughout the day.
Best for: Employees with a sweet tooth or who are always at the vending machine!
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: Food is always a great gift, and taking time to personalize the gift to your employee’s preferences will show your appreciation for them.
A Fruit Basket
Fruit baskets are a popular and straightforward way to show appreciation. They brighten your employee’s desk or home and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to include a personalized note letting your employee know how much you appreciate them and their service.
Best for: An employee who is serious about a healthy lifestyle
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: Fruit baskets are always a popular choice to show appreciation. Be sure to personalize the basket with a card or customize the selection with your employee’s favorite fruits.
A Potted Plant
Potted plants are also a popular option to show appreciation. Perfect for employees who care about nature or enjoy gardening in the backyard. This one may not be for everyone, as not every employee wants the responsibility of looking after a plant. Consider purchasing a cactus or other easy-to-care-for succulent if the employee does not know to have a green thumb.
Best for: Employees who enjoy gardening or being out in nature.
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: Plants can bring a little color and life to an otherwise work-focused desk. Pick a flower that will bloom for added interest.
A Gift Card
Does the employee arrive every morning with their venti mochaccino? Consider a Starbucks gift card! Does the employee always have an immaculate manicure? Consider a gift card to the nearest day spa.
Gift cards can be purchased from different retailers, making it easy to personalize your gift.
Best for: This is an excellent option for the employee that’s difficult to buy for. A gift card to their favorite retailer can prevent any awkwardness if the employee is not fully happy with the gift.
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: Purchasing a gift card for the perfect retailer will show you know your employee and allow them a little treat they may not have purchased.
Tip: Send Gift Cards to Employees with Connecteam’s Rewards
Employee Gift Ideas for Five-Year Work Anniversaries
After five years, you can spend more on an employee’s work anniversary gift. This employee has proven their loyalty and deserves to be rewarded.
Extra Vacation Days
You may consider increasing the number of paid vacation days an employee is entitled to after five year’s service. Depending on how many paid vacation days your company currently offers, you may consider offering an extra three to seven days of additional leave.
Best for: All employees will appreciate extra paid vacation leave. However, this may be especially beneficial to those passionate about traveling or who have many upcoming family milestones to celebrate.
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: Additional paid vacation leave means employees can spend more time with their family, take an extra-long vacation, or even take a few days to rest and recuperate.
A small, personal coffee machine for your colleague’s desk or office is perfect for your caffeine-addict employees. Modern coffee machines can also make hot tea and hot cocoa, so whatever your employee’s hot drink preference, you can be sure their needs will be met.
Best for: Employees always visiting the coffee machine.
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: Their own coffee machine can help give your employees a sense of individuality, set them apart from their colleagues, and show that you pay attention to their interests.
Lunch with the CEO
After five years at a company, employees will likely have built relationships with senior managers within the business. However, they are unlikely to have spent a significant amount of uninterrupted time with their CEO. A nice lunch with the CEO (paid for by the company) will give your employee a chance to network, which may even lead to more prestigious workplace opportunities.
Best for: Employees recognized as talent and employees passionate about career progression.
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: Connecting with senior leaders can help make them feel important and valuable to the workplace and open up more opportunities. Plus, it can encourage your employee to continue working for the business and reenergize them for the company mission.
Gifting your employees stock options after five years of tenure allows them to own a part of the business they have spent five years growing.
While gifting stock is a great option, it should be gifted alongside something more concrete that can be enjoyed in the moment, such as company-branded merchandise or a fruit basket, just in case the stock does not perform as well as you were anticipating.
Best for: Business-minded individuals or those interested in personal finance and investing.
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: Gifting stock options to your employees gives them a monetary incentive to grow and develop your business. They may also receive quarterly dividends, making stock the gift that keeps giving.
Employee Gift Ideas for 10-Plus-Year Work Anniversaries
For employees who have reached ten years of service, you should focus on making your gift a meaningful reflection of their time with the business.
A Series of Letters
This will require planning. However, it has the opportunity to be one of the most touching gifts on the list.
After ten year’s service, an employee is likely to have connected with numerous people across the business, maybe even hundreds. Get each employee with a special memory of the colleague to write them a letter, explaining how they influenced their career, a happy memory, or even just thanking them for their support and friendship over the years. Package the letters into a book or presentation file and present them as a keepsake.
Best for: A popular manager or integral team member.
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: The letters will likely contain deeply personal and moving stories from the employee’s work tenure. Packaged together, these memories will form a priceless timeline of the employee’s tenure with the business guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings!
A sabbatical is a period of paid leave granted to employees. Traditionally, sabbatical entitlement is a year for every seven years of continuous service. However, a sabbatical could be a month or six months’ leave, depending on your business.
After ten year’s service, sending your employee on a sabbatical would allow them to travel to dream destinations or pursue a new hobby.
Best for: All employees would enjoy a paid sabbatical. However, it may be especially appreciated by employees who are passionate about travel.
Why employees will love this work anniversary gift idea: An extended period of paid leave would grant employees time to take their dream vacation.
The experience of a lifetime
Treat your employee to something off their bucket list, like skydiving, a weekend in wine country, or two tickets to Disneyland at the company’s expense. They’ve earned a taste of real adventure after ten years of loyalty.
Best for: Employees with an adventurous side.
Why employees will love this work anniversary idea: After ten years of service, stepping out of their comfort zone for the weekend can reignite employees’ passion, and the additional appreciation can help re-engage them with the workplace.
Employees deserve to be celebrated for their loyal service. With the average length of employee tenure decreasing year on year, rewarding employees who remain with your company is crucial.
As you can see from the work anniversary gift ideas above, gifts don’t need to be extravagant, but they do need to be meaningful.
Take time to understand the employee you are celebrating and tailor your gift to their preferences, and you will find these gifts to be a meaningful and touching way to help retain talent.