The typical 9-to-5, 30-year tenure at a single job may be on its way to being a thing of the past (and the verdict is still out as to whether it was ever the norm). Nowadays, the younger generations are known for frequent job changes. This shift requires that companies change their mindset about new hires, but at the same time, employee turnover is expensive and retaining employees should be a company-wide priority.
Employee retention comes down to people enjoying where they work. It has less to do with their “job” and more to do with the culture, environment, relationships, and management that dominates your business.
Creating a company people want to work for isn’t easy, and there is a lot of competition. Luckily, simple steps can be taken to help increase employee retention. It starts by making people feel valued. One way to do that is to celebrate employee anniversaries.
5 Ways to Celebrate Employee Anniversaries
1. Give notes of gratitude
A standard card for the pharmacy won’t do much for your employee retention – no matter how appropriate the quote. Personalized notes of gratitude, on the other hand, are a simple way to show employees the entire company cares.
On their anniversary, provide your team (or the team that works most closely with the employee) with cards they can use to write the employee a note of gratitude. It can be for a specific act the employee did that helped their peer or it can simply thank them for their presence at work.
It’s important to make sure the Big Boss participates as well! And, of course, it can’t hurt to throw in a gift card to a local lunchtime eatery, favorite coffee stop, or even Amazon.
2. Decorate their desk
Going out of your way to add some extra oomph to the employee’s day shows them that you recognize the year of their life they’ve dedicated to your business and it makes it more than just a regular day at the office. Decorating their desk with balloons, streamers, confetti, or anything festive, put’s your appreciation on display and invites other employees to recognize the employee’s anniversary.
Add cake to the mix and you’ve got yourself a party. Have everyone gather around the employee’s decked out desk and share some cake as well as some words of gratitude.
3. Treat the employee (and the team) to an outing
Fun company outings are usually reserved for team building activities – and if you’re not already doing that then you need to change up your team building. But outings don’t have to be for team building purposes only. Use an employee’s anniversary as a reason to take the entire team out for something fun, or at least the team working most closely with the employee.
The options are endless, but a few unique ideas include:
- Going out for ice cream
- Playing a game of laser tag
- Spending the afternoon at the park or lake
- Heading to a museum
- Seeing a movie
Whatever you do, just make sure you do it in the employee’s name! Make sure your team knows you are going out to celebrate the employee’s anniversary.
4. Give the employee a well thought-out gift
Celebrating employee anniversaries by giving them a gift can be a tricky and underwhelming experience. Giving them another branded water bottle doesn’t show much thought (as a general rule, if it’s branded then it’s not a gift). At the same time, finding a really showy/expensive gift is time-consuming and can really miss the mark if it does not fit the employee’s style.
Instead, here are a few gift ideas that are sure to show appreciation:
- Tickets to a local music venue, theater, or sports arena
- Groupon gift to a nearby and exciting activity (i.e. indoor rock climbing, skiing, an escape game)
- Voucher to an expensive local restaurant
Another gift giving option is to create an annual gift that each employee gets throughout the year. For example, every year you could have a different edition of a pair of Converse or a handmade pottery mug.
Whatever you do, make sure your employee anniversary gifts are equitable across the board and throughout the year.
5. Give them a day off
No matter how much your employees enjoy working for your company, a day off is always appreciated. Trust us, it’s not you, it’s them. Everyone needs a day to relax and recoup every now and then.
Offering your employees a day off shows them that you know they are working hard and you value their life outside of the office. And the day off doesn’t necessarily have to be on their anniversary. Consider offering a floating anniversary day off, that way they can take it on a day that works best for their plans.
Any of these ideas will show your employees that you care and help them celebrate big milestones in their careers. But for every gift given, you must also show genuine gratitude. People don’t always remember what you did, they remember how you made them feel. If you show genuine care for your employees, they are going to remember that.
Celebrating anniversaries is one way to increase employee retention, but it can’t stop there. Creating a company that people want to work for is an around the clock job. Make sure your systems and processes are set up to attract employees and retain them.