No one wants to celebrate their work anniversary with a stale email reading “Congratulations on X years at the company.” Employee anniversary recognition is remarkably important; around their anniversaries, workers are more likely to reflect on their past experience and their future plans, and if they find that they have been unsatisfied in their current roles, they will almost certainly leave in search of a more fulfilling job.
Because employee anniversaries only come around once per year, you need to be certain to recognize the occasion with, at the very least, a meaningful and memorable message. Here is how to make that message time and again without mistakes:
Employees could receive dozens if not hundreds of emails every day, so another email from the boss — almost regardless of its contents — is not going to get a second glance. When you want a message to feel heartfelt, you need to write it by hand.
Many business leaders are loath to handwrite anything, first because it takes so much time to put thoughts on paper with a pen and second because their handwriting might not be as clear as they might hope. However, the time and effort required for handwritten notes is exactly why these messages are so much more meaningful and memorable. If you are certain that your penmanship is so poor as to prevent legibility, you might type up and print out your note to sign — but in truth, a fully handwritten note is preferable, even if some of the words are not perfectly clear.
Your worker has given your company most of the previous year of their life — the least you can do is say “thanks.” An organization is nothing without its staff, and staff become disengaged and unproductive when they do not feel appreciated. Especially around anniversaries, when employees are more likely to reflect on their experiences in the workplace and make plans for the future of their careers, you need to be sure that your workers feel valued and respected. Gratitude should radiate out of your anniversary message, which you might begin and end with sentences expressing your thanks for their time and effort.
Reference Real Achievements
Speaking of employee effort, you should mention the worker’s achievements in your message. Over the course of the year, you should pay attention to your employees’ unique contributions, which might directly affect the company’s bottom line or might have a more general influence over the feel and function of the workplace. A worker does not need to be award-winning to warrant accolades from their boss in their annual review, so you should show pride in whatever your worker has achieved over the past year.
Offer a Meaningful Gift
If your corporate culture approves of gift giving, an employee anniversary is an appropriate occasion for offering a token of your gratitude. The scope of the gift should increase with the gravity of the anniversary; five years at a company is impressive, but it pales in comparison to 20 years, which in turn is nothing to a 50-year employee. When an employee has demonstrated such extreme loyalty, gifts might have true value, like advanced technology, designer accessories or luxury vacations, depending on a worker’s interests and passions. Gifts for newer employees should be no less personal, but they might be less expensive.
Make Plans for the Future
A handwritten message is not the place to lay out your worker’s upcoming career path — that discussion should take place in a private, one-on-one meeting scheduled around the anniversary. Still, you should make some reference to the future, perhaps by expressing your excitement to continue being their colleague. If you do have plans to elevate this worker in the near future, you might hint at available positions that would suit their experience and ambition, but if they are not ready for a promotion or raise, you should avoid any indications of this manner.
Considering the importance of work anniversaries, you need to be certain that your employees feel celebrated and cherished when this time of year rolls around. A handwritten message containing the right sentiments should earn you an engaged and enthusiastic workforce ready for another year on the job.