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October 12, 2021

By Vanessa Nghiem

8 minutes read

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The average tenure for employees has been declining annually, currently at 4.1 years compared to 4.6 years in 2014. Unlike previous generations, Millennials are most likely to switch jobs for better pay and upward career mobility, and the average tenure for workers ages 25 to 34 is 2.8 years. Compare that with 9.9 years for employees ages 55 to 64!

Employee retention has never been more important, considering how expensive turnover is. Making sure employees are appreciated and recognized is a proven retention strategy, and 66% of employees say they would quit their job if they felt unappreciated. Whether an employee celebrates their first or tenth work anniversary at your organization, celebrating these milestones and years of service is now more important than ever. Celebrating and gifting is a great way to show recognition and appreciation for all they do!

Whether your employee is celebrating their 5, 10, 20, 30, or even 40 year work anniversary, we’ve got gift ideas they’ll really want!

1. Photo collage

Photo source: Pexels

Give a trip down memory lane with a collage full of photos from their early days and memorable work moments. From photos of orientation to team/corporate events, this will remind them about fun work moments, and how far they’ve come in the organization! 

Great for: All work anniversaries 

2. Commemorative video

If you have more time, creating a video is a great way to celebrate an employee. Video ideas could include video messages from the team (and clients) about their experience working with them, clips from company events they’ve been part of, photo slideshows, etc. 

Great for: All work anniversaries

3. Team party

Order in their favorite food (and maybe a cake) and have a team lunch! Create a playlist with music released the year they joined the organization, add some trivia, or other fun games to make the party a fun-filled memorable one. 

Remote work version: team lunch over video call, create a collaborative playlist to be played anytime, virtual trivia 

Virtual and free game ideas:

Skribbl.io (drawing and guessing game)

Lexulous (similar to Scrabble)

Great for: All work anniversaries 

4. Take them to lunch

Alternatively, taking the employee out to their favourite lunch spot is a great way to celebrate and unwind with a great meal.

Great for: All work anniversaries 

5. Offer lunch with senior leadership

flat lay photography of two bowls of fruit and vegetable salad

Having opportunities to sit down one-on-one with senior leadership is a great opportunity to connect on a professional and personal level, and in most organizations, this doesn’t happen often! This is a great chance for employees to share their ideas about the company, learn, and feel more inspired afterwards.

Great for: All work anniversaries

6. Stock options

Stock options allow employees to own part of the company, thus encouraging them to help grow and to feel more “connected” to the organization. 

Great for: Employees with a longer tenure at the organization

7. Increase their number of sick/vacation days

For all their hard work, extra leave days are always appreciated. 

Great for: All work anniversaries 

8. Monetary bonus 

Who doesn’t love some extra money? A one-time monetary bonus will help employees pay for that trip they’ve been saving up for, or that sweater they’ve been eying, or that bike that’ll help them cut down their commute time. Bonuses can be assigned based on tenure as well.

Great for: All work anniversaries

9. Gift certificates

Gift certificates to their favourite shop(s) is a great treat, and shows that there is attention paid to their interests.

Great for: All work anniversaries 

10. A day off

An extra day off is always appreciated! They can use that time to rest and recharge, enjoy a day at the park, bake scones, etc. 

Great for: All work anniversaries 

11. Paid sabbatical

The modern work week can lead to burnout, chronic work stress, and less time for self-care and personal growth. Sabbaticals are becoming more common as employees take extended time off to reset and recharge, possibly pursue a project or even change careers. In a 2009 study, sabbaticals taken by leaders had huge benefits, such as allowing them to generate new ideas for the organization, gain greater confidence in their leadership skills, and ability to collaborate with stakeholders. 

Offering the option of a sabbatical to tenured employees is not only beneficial for the employee, but also the organization itself as it provides opportunities for employees to take on more leadership and responsibility. 

Great for: Employees with a longer tenure at the organization

12. A charitable donation

Nearly 3 out of 4 millennials have donated money during the pandemic, whether to family, friends, or a non-profit. Driven by opportunities to give back to their local communities, it only makes sense that they are drawn to companies that have social-impact projects or participate in charitable giving. 

Donating to their charity of choice for a work anniversary can be a great option for not just Millennials, but employees of any age. Bonus: it benefits the community!  

Great for: All work anniversaries 

13. Letter of appreciation

two employees high fiving at the office

Many people quit their jobs not because of the work, but because of their managers and bosses. Employee recognition can get sidelined when the work piles up, but taking the time to write a letter that expresses gratitude and highlights an employee’s contribution, successes, and what you’ve learned from them is important for morale and relationship-building. 

For extra impact and personalization, handwrite the note!  

Great for: All work anniversaries 

14. Coffee maker

Did you know that 64% of US adults and 71% of Canadians drink coffee daily? Coffee preferences can vary from one person to another, which is why gifting a coffee maker only makes sense. With many stylish and affordable options, they’ll be able to make their perfect cup anytime!

1) French press 2) ASOBU PourOver 3) Asobu Coldbrew Insulated Portable Brewer

Great for: All work anniversaries 

15.Employee appreciation box

What’s not to love about a gift set? Fill it with their favourite items, or contact us to curate some universal and fun items they’ll be sure to love! 

  1. Artisan Gourmet Gift Box
  2. Spa and Self-Care Kit
  3. Hot Beverage Tumbler Kit

Looking for more gift box ideas? Find our favourite kits here

16. Customized and personalized products

An apron with their nickname on it? A dog water bottle with their pet’s name on it? Bluetooth speakers with their DJ name on it? 

Why not give a one-of-a kind gift that’s personalized? 

  1. ASOBU pastel stainless steel bottle 
  2. JBL portable waterproof speaker
  3. Stormtech waterproof backpack

17. Personalized trophy/plaque

For employees who want to see a tangible representation of their years of service, a plaque or trophy is a traditional option that still works!

  1. Engraved Two-Tone Laminate Plaque
  2. Photo Plaque
  3. Glass Award

Great for: Employees with a longer tenure at the organization (e.g 5+ years)

18. Special gift unique to them

Whether it be a new plant or bottle of Spanish extra virgin olive oil, some gifts are harder to purchase for since they’re so unique to the employee. A team brainstorm, or questioning of their friend or family member might help!

Great for: All work anniversaries 

19. Social media shout-out

Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Instagram, or on internal messaging platforms, shout-outs are a simple way to show appreciation and gratitude for an employee’s contribution. As well, it helps contribute to a workplace culture of showing appreciation, gratitude, and helps build community!

Great for: All work anniversaries 

20. Purchase a shoutout on Cameo

(Image source: Tech Crunch)

Cameo is a platform that allows celebrities to send personalized video messages to fans. With over 30,000 celebrities and influencers available on the platform starting at a $5 rate, you’ll have endless options!

It’s not every day that you get recognition from a celebrity/influencer, which is what makes it an unforgettable gift they can replay over and over again.

Great for: All work anniversaries 

21. LinkedIn endorsements

Another way to show public recognition is to leave a skill endorsement and/or recommendation on LinkedIn. Similar to reference letters, recommendations are testimonial of an individual’s work and can help them achieve professional goals. 

Plus, they help strengthen the relationship between employer/manager and employee! 

Great for: All work anniversaries

22. Leadership training

Managing teams while developing strategic plans for the future can be a challenge without the right tools and training. Leadership training can bring out each employee’s leadership qualities and leadership styles, and help the company plan succession. 

Great for: Employees with a longer tenure at the organization

23. Continuing education opportunities 

For employees that are always seeking to improve their skills, providing education opportunities is a great way to keep employees engaged, provide them with opportunities to solve current work issues with new techniques and skills, and help them grow professionally. 

In fact, 87% of millennials say professional development is important in a job, and given that Millennials are currently the largest cohort in the labour force in the United States and Canada, providing education opportunities is key to retaining talent and keeping the company competitive. 

Great for: All work anniversaries 

Ready to start celebrating work anniversaries with thougtful gifts? Contact us to get your project started! 

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