Ditch the Cake. Here Are 15 Creative Ways to Celebrate Work Anniversaries.

Just like birthdays, employee work anniversaries are the perfect time to celebrate your tenured employees and thank them for all their contributions through the years. While a cake and a card are nice gestures, some companies go even further to make their employees feel valued their first year, second year, and beyond. 

Looking for some inspiration for your own office celebrations? We asked 15 companies to share how they recognize this important employee milestone. From decorating desks to crafting custom beers, here’s how these companies celebrate employee work anniversaries and make employees feel recognized and valued on such an important day. 

1. Let Them Work From Home

“We let employees work from home for the week of their anniversary. It’s a really great motivational booster that allows them to avoid the traffic and nuisances of driving into the office.” — Sean Pour, SellMax 

2. Thank Them for Their Service

“We have the employee start their day with a surprise greeting on our company chat. We send it the day before so it's the first thing that everyone sees upon logging the day of their anniversary. We also ask their closest colleagues to prepare a short speech or message to thank them for their contributions. It's really simple, but it's something special and personal.” — Carissa Cascaro-Mujar, Hilsoft Inc.

3. Give Them the Day Off

“We give our employees the day off on their yearly anniversary. If their anniversary falls on a weekend or a public holiday, we allow them to take the Friday or Monday off instead. If they insist on coming in on their then we allow them to use the free day at any other point in the year. Plus we get them a cake to reward their commitment to work!” —Tom Buckland, HQ SEO & Ghost Marketing

4. Gift Them Something They Love

“When employees join the company, we have them fill out a questionnaire which asks about their hobbies, their favorite beers, films, chocolates, etc. When a milestone anniversary comes around, we know exactly what items to get them on behalf of the team. It shows consideration and the employees really appreciate it.”  — Charles Floate, DFY Links

5. Decorate Their Desk

“We usually decorate the person's desk and give them a small token of our appreciation in the form of a gift certificate or a customized trophy.” — Martin Luenendonk, Cleverism

6. Throw a Party

“We are all kids at heart and love a good old fashioned party. Our organization has a huge family feel, so whenever there’s a workplace anniversary we celebrate as a team with the employee’s favorite cake and ice cream. We take a break away from meetings and phone calls to just enjoy each other's company. It might sound simple, but this is something we all enjoy.” — Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

7. Get Crafty

“We're a creative marketing agency first, but we also brew our very own craft beer in-house to share with our clients and to celebrate milestones. For an employee's anniversary, they get to create their own beer. They get to choose the style of beer, come up with a name, design the branding, and work with our head brewer to brew their custom beer.” — Colin Hill, PH3 Agency + Brewery

8. Add Some “Pop” to Their Day

“At Namely, we give everyone celebrating a work anniversary a giant silver numbered balloon. It’s fun to look around the office and see a sea of silver balloons. There’s always lots of 1’s and 2’s floating around, but it’s also cool to see the 4’s and 5’s from the ‘Namely OGs,’ who’ve been with the company since early on!” — Olivia Small, Namely

9. Create a Video

“If you've worked with us for more than one year, we make a video to celebrate you and your memories at the company. Every month we have an organization-wide meeting and we watch the video with the entire team. It definitely makes us feel appreciated and is a sweet, personal way to boost morale.” — Ciara Hautau, Fueled

10. Encourage Them to See The World

“We're an entirely distributed team, so in-office cupcakes wouldn’t cut it. Since I'm a bit of a travel-hungry individual, I've let that influence how we reward our employees. We give employees the day off and a stipend to spend towards an experience. I'm all about living life and having meaningful experiences, rather than receiving material items, and I'm fortunate to work with a team that feels similarly!” — Chane Steiner, Crediful

11. Gift Them Time Off

“We celebrate our employees' work anniversaries by rewarding them with an extra holiday for each year of service. After five years of service, employees then receive a fully-paid one month sabbatical which they can use to do as they wish, be it traveling or simply spending more time with their family and friends.” — Fiona Kay, Nigel Wright

12. Boss for the Day

“On an employee’s work anniversary, we let them become ‘the boss’ for a day. They can’t make big policy changes, but they do get some nice perks: the best parking spot in the lot and the choice of where we order take-out from for lunch. That’s not all, they also get to pitch a new business idea that we work on for the day. We keep iterating on past pitches and a lot of these new ideas have helped our business grow tremendously.” — Russ Nauta,

13. Take Them Out

“The employee’s manager takes the team out for a lunch or a soiree at a venue of the employee’s choosing. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to reminisce about the good old times and enjoy some drool-worthy dishes together. Once, everyone has had some good food and has a drink in hand, we go around the circle sharing why we appreciate the employee and are glad to have them on our team.” — Gargi Rajan, Head HR at Mercer Mettl

14. Give Them a Gift

“Employees celebrating a work milestone get to spin our “Wheel of Fortune,” which has special prizes up for the lucky winners. Prizes include the option to take a half-day on a Friday, Amazon gift cards, and ‘Adventure Day Tickets’— where employees get the chance to enjoy a fun day out trying something new, such as paragliding, windsurfing, or riding zip wires.” — Samuel Johns, Resume Expert 

15. Recognize Their Achievements Chronologically

"For employees who have been with the company for at least two years, you can make a chronological recognition of all their achievements within the company. This type of recognition will make the employee feel proud of everything they have achieved and feel accomplished with their work." – SnackNation's work anniversaries ideas

Whether they’ve been with you for one year or five, it’s important to honor and thank your employees for their service and tenure at your company. That means giving them the recognition they deserve and helping them feel like a valued member of your team. 

Don’t want to miss an important employee milestone again? Namely Analytics’ birthdays and anniversaries dashboard lets you see who you need to celebrate in the coming days, weeks, or months. That’s not all—Namely’s timeline feature makes sure every employee’s work anniversary gets the recognition it deserves, helping you and your team congratulate them and show your appreciation! 

Namely's Anniversary and Birthdays analytics dashboard

Want to learn more about how Namely can help you engage your employees? Sign up for a demo today! 

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