"Happy Work Anniversary" Ideas to Drive Culture

"Happy Work Anniversary" Ideas to Drive Culture

Posted by Munch Mail on Sep 23rd 2021

Whether they’re celebrating 1 year or 81 years ( hats off to you Mr. Walter Orthmann), employees should be celebrated with every anniversary they dedicate to the company. Employee appreciation drives culture, and one of the biggest days of the year to help them celebrate is employee work anniversaries. Put their “Happy Work Anniversary” date on your calendar (because it’s definitely on theirs) and use the big day as a way to have culture take flight.

Importance of Wishing Employees a Happy Work Anniversary

Knowing that we spend 1/3 of our time at work – that’s 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours to ourselves – it’s important to make sure that everyone’s time is valued and celebrated, especially on work anniversaries. When work anniversaries are celebrated, you’re doing more than just saying thank you to working for the company; you’re reminding employees that their dedication and contributions are noticed and appreciated. You’re also able to show that the company cares about those contributions. 

The 4 Advices of a Man Who Has Worked for 75 Years in the Same Company; Photo by Michel Téo Sin

Year 6 is Just as Important as Day 1

As with wedding anniversaries, ALL work anniversaries should be celebrated. If your company culture is to have a big onboarding celebration, make sure as much energy is put into each work anniversary thereafter. Sure, every 5 years will mark a much bigger anniversary, but all of those years in-between should be celebrated, too.

Take it from Walter Orthmann. He’s had 81 work anniversaries to celebrate and holds the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest working career at the same company. Located in Brusque, Santa Catarina, Brazil, Walter set the record at the age of 96 in 2019 after working for Industrias Renaux S.A. (now called RenauxView) for 81 years and 85 days. He continues to work today, because he feels strongly that staying productive is what has helped him age so gracefully. Walter attributes his health and success to a clean diet, persistent tenacity towards doing what he loves, and having a productive occupation.

We hope that every one of those 81 work anniversaries was celebrated with pride and accomplishment.

Work Anniversaries Can Drive Culture

Smart companies not only recognize the strength of their people, but also the service those people deliver. When people are celebrated, service improves, and a culture is created that retains and attracts employees. All of this drives a company culture that is built for a stronger future.

When celebrating an employee’s work anniversary, it’s best to include the entire team to really help drive culture. It’s a great time to reminisce about fun times, inside jokes, and the hard work the entire team put into company growth. Goals were met, accomplishments were made, and there’s plenty more to come.

Fun Employee Work Anniversary Celebration Ideas

Picking the right “Happy Work Anniversary!” celebration should be crafted to fit the employee and team, rather than doing the same thing for every employee over and over. This will make the occasion more memorable and build anticipation for each new anniversary date. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Send Them Munch Mail

We started Munch Mail with employee gifting in mind! From the It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere! gift box to Cured and Curated gift box, we have a variety of gift boxes to send as a surprise work anniversary gift. You can also add a custom message to each box you send out. Our corporate gift boxes were hand-curated for employee gifting programs or you can work with a Munch Mail specialist to customize a box for your team .

Virtual Meeting Celebrations

For a recent internal celebration, our team surprised a soon-to-be-bride on the team with a Munch Mail gift box delivered to her door. The surprise didn’t stop there, though, because later that day over 20 members of the team joined together in a virtual bridal shower. Colleagues shared best wishes and reminisced over memories with the bride. The virtual shower was a success and one that is sure to be remembered.

The same gesture could be just as successful for work anniversaries. Send them a gift box and coordinate with the rest of the team to do a surprise virtual meeting or happy hour. If you’re able to coordinate with the employee’s spouse, partner, or roommate to help organize the surprise, make that work in your favor. If not, just plan on pulling the employee into an “emergency meeting” on the day of the event. Have fun with it, set funky backgrounds, and let teammates have the chance to say a few words about the employee.

Slideshow Shenanigans

Do you feel like you waste too much time on boring slideshows that no one pays attention to, anyway? Of course, you do, which is why this slideshow is bringing the fun to the table! Pull together key moments that happened over the past year, including goals that were met (or not met), achievements, growth ideas, and action moments to compile into a memory slideshow. Be sure to mention key qualities about the person, and if there are inside jokes to share, don’t forget to add them to the deck.

Most importantly, make sure to showcase the contributions the employee made to the team and to highlight “why” they do what they do.

Surprise Box

This one has a few steps, but is super fun; in fact, we saw one organization adopt it as a monthly celebration for employees. Fill a box with some fun treats and gifts to be gifted to the employee celebrating the anniversary.

On the anniversary day, walk around the office handing out snacks and drinks to all of the employees. A variety of snacks and drinks that fit the season works great: popsicles, chips, and sodas in the summer, donuts and pumpkin spiced drinks in the fall, etc. When handing out treats, hand each employee a raffle ticket for a chance to win a prize, but make sure to hand the winning ticket to the employee with an anniversary.

As everyone is enjoying their goodies, place the prize box in the middle of the room and make an announcement of the winning ticket. The winner comes forward claims their prize!

The Gift of Time

Time is one of the most priceless gifts you can give. An hour of time or a week of time, gifting someone with paid time off is a very valuable gift.

You may recall the days when employees were gifted a gold watch for their 25+ year work anniversary or retirement. The tradition of gifting employees gold watches is rumored to have originated from The Pepsi Company in the 1940s with the concept of “You gave us your time, now we are giving you ours.” That tradition may have fizzled out today, but the value of gifting time still holds very true.

How much extra time off can you give an employee? Perhaps, only an hour or a day, but for your employees that have been with the company 10+ years, consider a 1 month paid sabbatical. Encourage family time, travel, or time to dedicate to a special project. The time off without worrying about what is going on at the office will be much appreciated (and well deserved).

Finding Employee Celebration Ideas

Don’t fret on coming up with new ideas. With idea seeking websites like Pinterest and employee recognition software like HR Cloud’s Workmates, finding new celebration ideas is easy. Just, don’t forget the date!