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Employee Workaversary: 21 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Celebrate

June 13, 2024

people clapping for an employee workaversary

Imagine walking into the office one morning to find a festive atmosphere: balloons, a beautifully decorated cake, and colleagues gathered around, ready to celebrate. No, it's not someone's birthday—it's their workaversary. And this scene is becoming more common as companies recognize the power of celebrating employee milestones.

Research shows that companies with high employee engagement are 23% more profitable and see a 14% increase in productivity. Yet, despite these compelling statistics, many organizations still overlook simple (yet impactful) ways to show appreciation.

A workaversary (also known as a work anniversary) marks the annual anniversary of an employee's start date. It's a moment to reflect on their journey, acknowledge their contributions, and reinforce their value within the company. But beyond just marking time, celebrating workaversaries can boost morale, build a positive workplace culture, and strengthen employee retention.

New to workaversaries? We've got you covered. Below, we'll walk you through the importance of workaversaries, creative ways to celebrate them, and how these celebrations can transform your workplace.


What Is a Workaversary?

Workaversary (or workiversary) is the annual celebration of an employee's start date at a company. It marks the passage of another year of dedication, hard work, and contributions. It’s a moment to pause and acknowledge the time an employee has invested in their role and the organization—whether they’ve been with the company for one year or twenty.

Workaversaries aren't just a date on the calendar or token gestures. They can play a big role in your company culture and employee engagement:

  • Boosting Employee Morale: Celebrating workaversaries helps employees feel valued. When employees feel appreciated, they tend to have higher job satisfaction and a more positive attitude at work.
  • Strengthening Employee Retention: Celebrating work milestones can improve employee retention. Employees who feel recognized and valued are more likely to stay with the company longer, reducing turnover rates and the costs associated with hiring and training new staff.
  • Building a Positive Workplace Culture: Regularly celebrating workaversaries helps build a culture of employee recognition and appreciation. It sends a clear message that the company values its employees’ hard work and dedication, which should be a core part of any company's mission.
  • Encouraging Professional Growth: Workaversaries offer an opportunity to reflect on an employee’s achievements and growth over the past year. This reflection can motivate employees to continue developing their skills.
  • Improving Team Cohesion: Celebrations bring teams together. Whether it’s a small gathering or a larger event, celebrating workaversaries strengthens team bonds.

21 Creative Ways to Celebrate Workaversaries

Celebrating work anniversaries shouldn't be boring and routine. That defeats the purpose. It should be fun, creative, and personalized to your employees—those are the types of work anniversary celebrations they'll remember.

Here are 21 creative ideas to help you celebrate workaversaries and make your employees feel seen and heard.


1. Handwritten Notes

Taking a few moments to jot down specific contributions and genuine expressions of gratitude can have a huge impact. This simple gesture speaks volumes and makes employees feel truly valued and appreciated. It's a personal touch that goes a long way in building a positive and supportive workplace culture.


2. Charity Donations

Why not celebrate a workaversary by giving back? Make a donation to a charity of the employee’s choice in their name. This thoughtful gifts shows that you care about what matters to them (not just what's within your office walls). It’s a meaningful way to honor their contributions while supporting causes they’re passionate about, creating a positive ripple effect that reaches far beyond your company.


3. Custom Awards

Custom awards can last a lifetime. With Terryberry's recognition software, you can create personalized awards that perfectly commemorate an employee’s work anniversary. Whether it’s a creative trophy, engraved plaque, or unique keepsake, these custom awards reflect the employee’s specific achievements and contributions.

4. Personalized Desk Decorations

Bobbleheads, notepads, balloons, fun lamps—these personalized desk decorations transform an employee's workspace and highlight unique personality and interests. It’s a creative and playful way to show appreciation and make their milestone unforgettable.


5. Team Brunch

Mix things up and celebrate a workaversary with a yummy team brunch instead of the usual team lunch or dinner. Gather everyone for a mid-morning feast filled with pastries, fresh fruit, and maybe even a mimosa or two.

This relaxed setting honors the employee’s milestone and provides a fantastic opportunity for team bonding. Sharing a meal in a cozy atmosphere strengthens relationships and creates lasting memories that help everyone feel more connected.


6. Virtual Celebrations

You don't need to be in-person to celebrate work anniversaries. Remote teams can organize a virtual party where team members can join from anywhere. Incorporate fun activities like online games, a virtual toast, or a highlight reel of the employee’s achievements. Sending digital gift cards or e-cards can add a special touch.


7. Social Media Shout-Outs

Give your team member a moment in the spotlight with a social media shout-out. Celebrate their workaversary by highlighting their achievements and contributions on your company’s social media platforms.

Share a photo, a few fun facts, and heartfelt messages from colleagues. This public recognition makes the employee feel valued and showcases your company’s culture of appreciation to a wider audience.


8. Extra Time Off

What better way to celebrate a workaversary than with a little extra time off? Reward employees with an additional day off or even a half-day to mark their milestone. Whether they use it for a long weekend getaway or just some personal downtime, this perk is a much-appreciated way to say thank you for their dedication and hard work.


9. Recognition During Company Meetings

Celebrate workaversaries during broader company meetings. Take a moment to publicly acknowledge the employee's contributions and achievements in front of their peers. Share specific examples of their hard work and the impact they’ve made on the team and company.

Celebrating milestones like these show your employees that you care—and it also highlights employees who stick around longer at your business.


10. Surprise Parties

Plan a surprise office party to celebrate an employee’s workaversary. Gather the team in a decorated conference room or a fun off-site location, complete with their favorite snacks, music, and maybe even a personalized cake.


11. Cameo Video Messages

Add a touch of star power to your workaversary celebrations with Cameo video messages. Arrange for a personalized video greeting from a celebrity, athlete, or influencer that the employee admires—it might seem like a simple thing, but these are the kinds of gestures your employees will never forget.


12. Gift Cards

Gift cards can sometimes feel like a lame cop-out for celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries, but the recipient doesn't always feel this way. They might be picky about certain products or experiences, so show them your value their tastes by putting the ball in their court with a gift card.

Choose gift cards for popular retailers, restaurants, or online stores that cater to the employee’s interests and preferences. Whether they use it for a special treat, a new gadget, or a favorite hobby, gift cards offer the freedom to choose something they truly want.


13. Office Scavenger Hunt

Turn your employee's anniversary into an adventure with an office scavenger hunt. Create a series of clues and small gifts hidden around the workplace, leading the employee on a quest around the office. Get their teammates involved as pieces of the puzzle. Each clue can highlight their achievements or be a nod to inside jokes and memorable moments.


14. Video Montage

Create a personalized video montage featuring messages from team members, clients, and even family members. Compile heartfelt congratulations, funny anecdotes, and reflections on the employee's journey. Share this touching tribute at a team meeting or send it directly to the employee. It's a keepsake they'll treasure for years to come.


15. Wellness Package

Show your employees you care about their well-being with a thoughtfully curated wellness package. Include items like a spa gift card, a fitness tracker, or a subscription to a meditation app. It’s a meaningful way to celebrate their workaversary and encourage them to take some time for self-care and relaxation.


16. Team-Building Activity

Celebrate a workaversary with a fun team-building activity that the employee loves—whether it’s an escape room, a cooking class, or a paint-and-sip event. Stepping out of the usual work routine for some fun can rejuvenate and energize everyone involved.


17. Workaversary Scrapbook

Create a personalized workaversary scrapbook filled with photos, notes, and mementos from the employee’s time at the company. Include messages from colleagues, highlights of their achievements, and fun memories that capture their journey.


18. VIP Parking Spot

Reward your employee with a VIP parking spot for their workaversary. Reserve a prime parking spot close to the office entrance and decorate it with a special sign featuring their name.

This practical perk makes their daily commute a little easier and serves as a visible reminder of their valued status within the company. It’s an extra touch that shows you’re willing to go the extra mile to celebrate them.


19. Memory Jar

Create a memory jar filled with notes from colleagues sharing their favorite memories, compliments, and moments of appreciation for the employee.

Decorate the jar to reflect their personality, whether that's with Baby Yoda stickers or Bridgerton characters. Present it during their workaversary celebration, but let them read through the messages at their own pace—it's not something you want to rush.


20. Themed Dress-Up Day

Celebrate a workaversary with a themed dress-up day that reflects the employee's interests or favorite things. Whether it’s based on their favorite movie, sports team, or hobby, invite everyone to join in the fun and dress accordingly.

It’s a great way to break the routine, encourage team participation, and inject some fun into the workplace. Plus, it highlights the employee’s personality and shows that you’ve put thought into making their day special.


21. Personalized Artwork

Commission a piece of personalized artwork to celebrate the employee’s workaversary. This could be a custom illustration, painting, or digital art piece that reflects their personality, achievements, or memorable moments from their time at the company. You might save this special recognition for employees who reach five or ten years at your company.

Recognize Your Employees (at Any Scale) with Terryberry

Celebrating workaversaries is more than just marking the passage of time—it's an opportunity to show your employees that you recognize them and you care. Whether it’s through personalized desk decorations, heartfelt handwritten notes, or exciting office scavenger hunts, these creative celebrations can transform your company's culture and bring employees together.

Don't worry—you don't need to figure it all out on your own. We can help.

Terryberry's comprehensive recognition platform provides a range of solutions to help you celebrate your employees' milestones in meaningful, memorable ways:

  • Custom Awards: Tailor-made trophies, plaques, and keepsakes that honor your employees' unique contributions and achievements.
  • Social Recognition: Engage your team with social recognition tools that allow peers to celebrate each other’s successes in real-time and provide employee feedback.
  • Awards Marketplace: Access a wide selection of awards and gifts that cater to various interests and preferences.
  • Incentive Programs: Motivate and reward your employees with customized incentive programs designed to drive performance and engagement.

Ready to transform your company’s workaversaries? Send us a message and discover how Terryberry can help you create a culture of appreciation that makes every milestone special.