How to celebrate an office anniversary

Making it a custom to celebrate employees’ company anniversaries is important for building relationships and cultivating staff retention. It can boost employ morale and motivate staff. Plus, any sort of festivity relieves stress in the workplace and creates a more collaborative atmosphere. Admittedly, it can be difficult to strike a balance between party and professional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Follow these guidelines to successfully celebrate an employee anniversary:

Establish a policy
Part of effectively honoring office anniversaries involves making sure each employee is treated equally. If two people have both been at the company for 10 years, they should get the same celebratory perks. However, if you threw a party each year employees stuck with your organization, you’d be having parties every day. Establish a precedent for which anniversaries will be celebrated. Choose a few of the typical milestones or celebrate at a predetermined increment of time such as every five or 10 years.

Go bigger each year
Usually, the celebration gets bigger the more years someone stays with a company. For example, a celebration for an employee’s five-year anniversary probably won’t be as grand as a staff member’s 25-year anniversary. Make sure the type of gift or festivity coordinates with the amount of time the employee has been with your organization and is appropriate for any employee, no matter the gender or cultural differences.

Stay on top of it
Celebrate on or as close to the actual date of the anniversary as you can. Though this may seem like an obvious rule, it’s easy for employers to get caught up in the job and forget about personal plans. However, celebrations like these are important to keep everyone stress free and satisfied with the job. Make a spreadsheet of hire dates and employee anniversaries to stay organized, or set calendar reminders.

Make it public
You can get creative with how you present the anniversary gift, but you should always make it a public announcement. Even for off-year anniversaries, you can accompany the anniversary cards with  company-wide emails or social media posts. For the bigger anniversaries, consider hanging a congratulations banner in the office.

If your office opts to throw a party, it’s automatically a public occasion. Hand out party invitations or post about the festivities online. Everyone should be invited to the celebration to honor your dedicated employee.

Use one of these ideas:
As long as you follow the basic rules for a successful employee anniversary celebration, you can customize the experience to fit the culture of your company. For example, if you have an office full of millennials, go out to a bar or restaurant after work. The younger generation loves to experience new things, so an out-of-office party will do the trick.

If time and policy constraints limit the grandeur of your festivities, keep it simple. Buy a plate of cookies to set out in the kitchen for anyone to take when they have a free minute. You can also give the employee you’re recognizing a small gift instead of making the occasion a celebration. Even just decorating his or her desk can show your appreciation for the work that person has done. This way, you’re still honoring your long-time staff without taking too much time from the work day.

You could also have lunch catered to celebrate the office anniversary. Though this requires a little more spending, retention efforts will save you money in the long run. Send around a sign-up sheet beforehand to determine how much food to order, and let the honorary employee choose what you have for lunch.

Make sure you take this crucial step for promoting job satisfaction and showing that you appreciate your employees. Not only does this create a more stress-free workplace, but it’s just a nice thing to do. Take advantage of this simple opportunity.