Work anniversaries can sometimes be the most forgotten celebratory dates, but they are oh-so important to team culture, especially in the day and age we all live in post-pandemic. Folks are feeling more burnt out than ever before and the great resignation is amongst us all. Our teammates crave the little bit of acknowledgement and recognition that they can get, and work anniversaries can be a quick and simple way to show your team you're thinking about them.
So... whether your team is 10 people or 1,000, how do you:
a) Best celebrate a work anniversary?
b) Never forget to celebrate these anniversaries ever again?
Best Ways to Celebrate Work Anniversaries
1. A Public Thank You
This can take a few different forms – a public shoutout on Slack or via Email. A post on LinkedIn. No matter how you decide to do it, there is no doubt that whoever's work anniversary it is – they will feel appreciated. This is the time to broadcast someone's accomplishments in your message – so don't skimp! Share what truly makes this individual team member such an invaluable player on your team. The benefits of saying "Thank You" also go far beyond just an individual employee. When you start to cultivate an "attitude of gratitude", it will form part of a successful company culture that supports different personalities – and helps others on your team generally get more engaged with their work.
2. Handwritten Note
This one definitely tugs on the heartstrings a bit because your employee/teammate will know that you took the time out of our busy schedule to really think about him or her and what they mean to your organization. In our current day and age, it's very rare for people to sit down and write a thoughtfully written letter. The work anniversary is just such a great opportunity to break out your old letter writing skills. Of course, the letter could include a nice little gift card or token of appreciation in addition (:
3. A Gift
This is the one idea that probably has the most "optionality" of all. Nearly everyone I've ever met enjoys getting a gift – especially when it's more than just monetary, that is to say, it has some real meaning behind it. That is the key to this idea – making sure whomever is receiving the gift truly sees the meaning behind it. This could be different for everyone. Some ideas that have worked well in the past include:
- Decision-making power for a day (limited to whatever scope you're comfortable with)
- Time off
- A physical gift that has some sentimental value to the employee, or some deeper meaning/connection to the relationship you have
- A charitable donation to a cause your employee really cares about
4. For Major Anniversaries – Sabbatical
You've probably heard of a lot of companies (especially those in the technology industry) giving sabbaticals to employees when they hit their 5-year anniversary mark. In fact, 25% of the Fortune 100 best companies to work for offer a paid sabbatical. These are a great way to give your employees a very strong signal that you care about them now, and in the future. It's a way to show that you're investing in them over the long run, and not just the here and now. Since the majority of companies aren't doing it, it also gives you a good opportunity to showcase to prospective employees in job interviews what sets you apart from the next shop other than just pay. Additionally, sabbaticals aren't just great for showing employees you care, but are also good for actually improving employee productivity. Giving an employee 1, 2, or even 3 months off (paid, again) can give them the rest and relaxation they really need to bring a fresh perspective to the workplace. It can also help lower stress levels, and leads to just general overall well-being.
Other tenure-based ideas for work anniversaries include sending them something more and more special as their tenure increases. For example, on their one year give them a nice cupcake with a candle, on their two year a nice bottle of wine, on their 5 year a free flight – that sort of thing.
5. Old Memories
Things change over time – humans (your employees) are no different. It's often said that only the best of memories are remembered, and that memories grow sweeter with time. How does this relate back to work anniversaries? Glad you asked. Whether it's your employees first work anniversary or 15th – they've changed, the company has changed, the time have changed – breaking out old team photos, quirky emails, even funny chat communications can really uplift employees on their special day. The nostalgia can put them in a good mood, and can help them imagine how they might craft new memories (maybe even better memories) in the future.
How to Never Forget Work Anniversaries
CultureBot is a tool that can actually collect work anniversaries for you. It plugs directly into Slack and can send messages out on the day of your teammate's anniversaries with both their number of years of service to your company as well as an optional gift. It takes literally no time at all to setup and gives you a few ways to go about collecting those dates from your team, so there's really no excuse to get started. Since standing it up and using it with our team, we've found that folks have become more engaged and friendly with one another, and we've started to see retention inch up from where it was pre-CultureBot. We are of course a bit biased, but we strongly recommend you try it out – what do you have to lose (except, well, maybe a couple of your best employees)?
Although not an exhaustive list of the best way to celebrate work anniversaries, with the above tips you are well on your way to improving your team's remote culture (and never forgetting another work anniversary ever again). We would love to hear what you do to celebrate work anniversaries, as well as how you (in general) promote a healthy and strong remote team culture. Add a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
😁 Stay happy & healthy,