Some say that celebrating years 1, 5, 10, and 25 are enough, but we say every year counts!

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Work Anniversaries Are Just As Important As Birthdays

Employee Anniversaries: Do They Matter?

Jul 17, 2017

I just love birthdays. Of course, I love the cake and presents, but what I love most is celebrating the birthday person’s uniqueness—the fact that only they possess the certain personality, qualities, and talents that help the world go ‘round.

A work anniversary is kind of like a birthday. It’s the one day that’s all their own. As they stepped through the open door into new possibilities, a new team, and a new environment, the next chapter of their career began.

And each year, their commitment goes deeper, their efforts improve, and their relationships with others on your team get better.

So the question is: Do you have to acknowledge every anniversary?

Our answer: Yes!

Now, I’m not talking about an all-out, expensive celebration or gift. It doesn’t have to be big. But they should be recognized and encouraged—apart from that yearly performance review. Each year, recognizing the day they came on board says you appreciate the small milestones just as much as the big ones. It’s a critical part of the Hi to Bye™ journey.

Below are a few ways you can show your appreciation on a work anniversary, as well as a few tips for how to be especially encouraging on that special day.

How to Show Your Appreciation

Give them a certificate or handwritten note to tell them something you’ve appreciated about them in the last year. Go beyond work accomplishments and share a quality about their personality you admire.

Take them out to lunch with the team and pick up the tab for their meal.

Give them a personalized gift that will remind them each time they use it how special they are to your team. We’re especially fond of our Hipster Shelfees, which make great desk buddies.

Tips for Encouragement

Be specific. Sometimes, in the busyness of our days, we don’t stop to think about the specific ways a certain employee has benefitted the company. Anniversaries are a great time to make the extra effort to tell them why they’re “totally rad” (according to our Radish Shelfee). It will show them that you notice their efforts, no matter how big or small, and will inspire them to keep up the good work.

Respect tenure. As I mentioned above, each year doesn’t have to be a big to-do. Sometimes a personal note can go just as far as an expensive gift. But the big milestones deserve a little something extra. On the 1, 5, 10, 15 (and so on) anniversaries, do something extra special to commemorate the occasion and thank them for their hard work over the years.

Focus on encouragement rather than praise. These two words are often confused and slightly different. While praise focuses on the overall outcome of a project or situation, encouragement identifies the progress or improvement made. Encouragement shows acceptance and support, acknowledges effort, and promotes self-esteem and confidence.


With each of these ways to show appreciation and tips for encouragement, their first anniversary with your company all the way to the last will be memorable and special.