Meaningful Ways to Mark Employee Anniversaries

by / ⠀Startup Advice / June 14, 2022

An employee anniversary is an important occasion — for employees and employers alike. When another year of employment passes, employees tend to reflect on their recent accomplishments. Along with this, they reflect on the fulfillment they feel in their current position.

If they find themselves not satisfied by their responsibilities, their pay, the appreciation they receive, or any other element of their current role, they will likely disengage. This leads them to start looking for another job.

Thus, employee anniversaries are critical milestones for employers to recognize to encourage employee engagement and retention. Here are a few meaningful ways for employers to celebrate employees on their anniversaries. This helps to keep them satisfied all year long.

Make It Personal

In larger organizations, business leaders tend to have few organic opportunities. This lets them get to know their workers on a personal level. Leaders overburdened with responsibilities might not make the time to get to know their staff, and as a result, they might consider their workforce as a solid mass, with indistinguishable individuals completing discrete tasks. Thus, when employee anniversaries roll around, leaders might make the mistake of recognizing the occasion in identical ways. This includes identical sentiments and identical gifts.

A more meaningful way to celebrate an employee’s anniversary is to personalize the occasion to the employee. Each employee has distinct interests, passions, and talents, and leaders, as well as coworkers, can draw upon these idiosyncrasies to craft a celebration that has an impact.

For example, an employer might host a team lunch from a favorite restaurant of the worker of honor. Or, they might offer a gift appropriate to the worker’s hobbies. By making every anniversary unique, workers feel seen and heard by their superiors and peers. It gives them more comfort and support in their role.

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Mention Achievements

Upon the occasion of an anniversary, a worker is much more likely to reflect on their past achievements, their current responsibilities, and their future goals and dreams. Especially as they pertain to their career. As important as their own self-satisfaction with their work is the knowledge that others around them recognize and appreciate what they have accomplished.

On an employee anniversary, recognition is more important than ever. Throughout the year, leaders should track individual employee performance and make note of impressive actions and achievements.

It is worth noting that employees do not need to complete projects with overwhelming success, earn rewards or revolutionize the industry to have workplace performance worthy of recognition. As long as they are completing their assigned tasks appropriately, they deserve recognition for their work and dedication.

How a leader recognizes an employee’s achievements depends largely on the preferences of that employee. In many cases, public praise in a company newsletter or over social media can be effective. It helps a worker feel seen and special. But, a worker might tend to be more private and introverted. In this case, a handwritten note or a one-on-one meeting might be more suitable.

Move Their Career

Finally, employment anniversaries give employees and employers alike the opportunity to plan for the future. Typically, leaders schedule performance reviews around work anniversaries. During these reviews, employees should feel comfortable discussing their wants and needs with regard to their careers. In return, leaders should listen actively and offer solutions that will help workers gain the satisfaction and fulfillment they deserve.

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There are plenty of ways for leaders to help workers in their career progression aside from promotions, which may not be appropriate for every employee. Organizations should have a number of career development programs in place for employees to take advantage of, including education and training, mentorship and networking opportunities, and more.

Leaders should be able to guide workers down the path that most suits their experience, education, strengths, weaknesses, interests, and ambitions. By connecting these career movements to work anniversaries, employers give their workers something to look forward to every year they remain with the organization.

A worker’s first anniversary tends to be a crisis point for an organization. Leaders see a fleeting opportunity to engage that worker and develop true and lasting loyalty. Or else they suffer from frustratingly high rates of employee turnover. The more meaningful leaders can make the first anniversary — and every anniversary after that — the stronger the entire organization will become.

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