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Six great employment anniversary appreciation ideas

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Faced with high turnover rates, employers are searching for new ways to convince workers to stay. In addition to pay increases and new benefit offerings, employers may do well to focus on making sure their workers feel appreciated. With that in mind, here are six great employment anniversary appreciation ideas.

Employers Are Struggling with Labor Shortages

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 4.2 million people quit in October 2021. This places the quit rate at 2.8 percent, which is a little lower than the record-breaking quit rate seen in September. This slight dip doesn’t mean the Great Resignation is over. According to the 2021 Work Trend Index from Microsoft, more than 40 percent of workers are thinking about quitting this year.

To reduce turnover and attract new workers, many companies are raising wages and introducing new benefits. According to the Conference Board, wage costs are expected to increase 3.9 percent in 2022, the highest increase since 2008.

These raises might be effective. Workers value salary and benefits highly, and according to a Glassdoor survey, 60 percent of respondents say they strongly consider benefits before they accept a job offer. But a little appreciation might go a long way, too.

A Show of Appreciation Could Convince Workers to Stay

According to Gloat, 34 percent of workers feel underappreciated. Furthermore, 64 percent said they planned to leave their current job, and feeling underappreciated was one of the top five reasons cited.

This isn’t to say that displays of appreciation can replace generous benefits and wages. The Gloat study also found that being unsatisfied with compensation and benefits was a top reason that workers gave for wanting to leave their current job. At the same time, regardless of how much they earn, workers who feel undervalued may start looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

Why You Should Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Showing appreciation can be a cost-effective way of boosting morale and retention, and a worker’s employment anniversary is a great time to do it.

Just make sure you’re keeping track of everyone’s work anniversaries. Imagine one worker, let’s call her Sally, has her five-year anniversary, and it goes unnoticed. Then another employee, let’s call him Bob, has his four-year anniversary, and you make a big deal out of it. Sally might not have minded at first, but after seeing you make a big deal about Bob’s work anniversary, she’s probably pretty upset, and rightfully so. She might even assume that the slight was an intentional and passive aggressive way of showing that you really don’t appreciate her and wish she would quit – something she might be tempted to do now.

If you’re going to celebrate work anniversaries, you need to celebrate them consistently. This doesn’t mean that all anniversaries need to be given the same gravitas – a 50-year anniversary will probably get a lot more attention than a two-year anniversary – but it should be fair.

Don’t risk missing an anniversary. Keep track of all the dates to make sure that no one slips through the cracks. And don’t forget to include people who are working from home. They deserve to feel valued, too.

Are you out of employment anniversary appreciation ideas?

If you’re out of employment anniversary appreciation ideas, here are some to consider. Why stop at one? Pick three of these ideas to maximize the impact.

  1. A favorite treat. There are a lot of options here, and it makes sense to get something that you know the recipient will enjoy. Good options could include a box of fancy chocolates, a gift basket or a gift certificate for a favorite restaurant or store. As mentioned in the last section, fairness is important, so make sure the gifts have the same approximate value.
  2. Personalized or branded items. You can customize common items like travel mugs, pens and notepads with the company name, and you can also include the number of years the employee has worked there or something else to personalize it. It’s a small gift, but it’s a useful one that the recipient will see regularly. Jackets, t-shirts and other items with your company logo are another option. They can be a great way of showing off your brand, too.
  3. A memorable experience. Give the employee time off to spend while enjoying a unique experience on the company’s dime. The possibilities are endless – from a spa day or a food/wine tour to golfing, white water rafting or a race car driving experience.
  4. A public statement. You could say a few words of appreciation at a company meeting, but a written statement might be even better. If you have an internal company newsletter, consider including a writeup in honor of the employees celebrating a work anniversary. Alternatively, you can post something on your company website. If employees work in the office, you can decorate their workspace or post congratulatory signs and nostalgic photos.
  5. A handwritten personal note. The gesture is supposed to show that you value the employee. If your gift seems perfunctory and impersonal, it’s not going to accomplish that goal. Take some time to handwrite a personalized note. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be specific enough to show that it’s not just a form letter.
  6. Paid time off. The employee has been with you for a long time – don’t they deserve a day off? You could have the day off land on the person’s anniversary, or on the next workday if it lands on a weekend or holiday, but a floating day off might be even more appreciated.

Do You Need to Rethink Your HR Practices?

These employment anniversary appreciation ideas should help your employees realize that you value them. If you need additional assistance with managing HR issues, a proactive HR partner can help. Higginbotham provides individualized HR services that can help you meet your HR goals. 

Not sure where to start? Talk to someone who wants to listen.

A great plan starts with a conversation. Let’s talk about what you need.

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