Business anniversaries are worth celebrating! The word anniversary means “returning yearly” - and an anniversary is a symbol of employees who have done just that: returned year after year. Employees experiencing a business anniversary means that they have remained loyal to your organization, and that’s always a big deal. Do your part by rewarding them for that loyalty and showing how appreciative you are of their ongoing support.
A work anniversary is really your chance to show staff that you are as grateful for them today as you were on day one! Doing so will improve morale, loyalty, and ultimately motivation. Don’t just take our word for it - there’s lots of research to back up these concepts.
From a numbers perspective, employee turnover can cost businesses up to $15,000 per employee. So you can see why it makes sense to do everything you can to improve retention - and celebrating work anniversaries is a key step in that direction. Ready for some actionable ideas to help you get started?
10 Ways to celebrate business anniversaries
Anniversaries don’t just apply to individuals. You can celebrate the day you founded the company (or were bought, or “carved out”, etc). You can celebrate success together as an entire team for any milestone that’s meaningful to your organization. In fact, doing so presents a lot of opportunities for publicity, along with a chance to thank customers and partners. These ideas go beyond simply recognizing an individual, and offer the chance for your entire department or organization to come together.
1. All-Company retreat
First things first, get everyone in the same room! In an increasingly disjointed workforce, the opportunities to have everyone in the same room are fewer. Consider planning a retreat for your team or for the whole company.
If you don’t have the bandwidth to plan such an event, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Surf Office can help you to plan amazing all-company retreats that everyone will love. Use the time to share in a mix of activities - along with work sessions, include great meals and fun activities. Make sure everyone has the chance to network with people outside of their normal day-to-day. Moreover, actively demonstrate appreciation by sharing highlights, accolades, or awards. If you have planned special anniversary content (such as a logo or other item below), an all-company retreat is the perfect time to share it with everyone.
2. Roll out a new logo
A well-known company is recognized by its logo. That’s why any change to your logo should be intentional. An anniversary is the perfect time to make changes and roll them out on a larger scale. You can create a comprehensive marketing campaign displaying your new logo for the first time, with some creative announcements to go with it. You could roll it out internally and then have each employee include it in their email signature; mention it on socials and have employees share with a statement about the upcoming anniversary.
The logo can be a temporary “special edition” that you’ll use for that one year, or it can be symbolic of larger changes and remain changed moving forward. However you decide to execute it, you can treat a new logo as a big deal, just like an important anniversary. Pair the two things together for maximum impact.
3. Create a trivia game
How well do your employees know the company - and each other? An anniversary is a great time to put together a fun game for the entire organization to play. You can make it part of a larger all-company retreat or carve out a day in the office to play. If you want to generate more excitement beforehand, ask employees to submit ideas for questions. Bonus points for having prizes available to the people who have the most answers.
One nice thing about this idea is that it can be done by virtual teams as well. Everyone can hop on a conference and a moderator can ask the questions, or you can submit a trivia sheet in advance and have everyone share their answers during the event. Anniversaries are a great time to reflect on a company’s history, mission, and values. A trivia game serves as a reminder of all of these elements plus adds some fun and competitive spirit, which is great for team bonding.
4. Share exclusive content
This one is more of a marketing tactic, but use the energy around your anniversary to develop some new cornerstone content. Compile data from the years you’ve been in business and develop a report that will be valuable to readers.
For example, a social media marketing agency could come up with something like “Top 10 Social Media Trends from the Last Decade”. Promote the content on social media and even through paid advertising if it’s something that is gated and can generate leads. Or, you can let current clients know that you’ll be sharing this content with them for free as a “thank you” for making your last years in business possible. Everyone likes getting something for free! And this way you have the chance to share some messaging thanking your audience for loyalty and reiterating the great things that are yet to come. Take things a step further and commit to putting out some such content every year as part of your anniversary celebration - your customers will start to look forward to it and it’s a really nice value-add for your audience.
5. Craft a timeline mural
If you have some open office space, painting a wall mural can be a really impactful team celebration. This is another one that can serve as a stand-alone activity or be part of a longer retreat. Regardless, everyone can work together to draft a timeline of events, gather supplies, and begin the actual drawing and painting. Employees might need to take some time to talk to more seasoned staff about the organization’s history.
Prep the work space, order in lunch, and put on some fun music that will get everyone’s creative juices flowing. Not only is painting a great hands-on team activity, but you’ll always have a beautiful memento of the anniversary and some really cool office art! The mural will become a handy conversation piece for others in the office; you never know what might stand out to a potential customer. If you’re feeling extra creative, ask everyone to incorporate their signature or initials into the mural for a snapshot of the team at that moment in time.
6. Offer rewards
What do you do for independent employees having an anniversary? Whether you’re dealing with a certain person’s anniversary or the company anniversary as a whole, it’s a great time to hand out some rewards.
Many organizations use a formal reward system where employees can earn and then cash in points for various prizes - and they typically get a lump sum of bonus points for each anniversary. If you are celebrating an anniversary for the whole company, consider ways to reward individual employees as part of the celebration. Get creative with it.
For example, hand out small cards that employees can “cash in” somewhere else in the office where someone is managing a prize station. Or, if you already use a digital system like we mentioned, make an announcement that everyone is getting a certain number of points - say, based on years of service.
Finally, anniversaries are another perfect time to celebrate greatness. Ask employees to submit nominations for co-workers who deserve special recognition, and then make sure to highlight the winners publicly. Whether that’s over a quick team lunch or during an entire company retreat, research shows that acknowledgement in front of peers is very valuable to people. Tip: if you need some ideas for simply appreciating employees, check out this article on employee appreciation day.
7. Plan a party
Who doesn’t love a party? The problem is normal daily life doesn’t offer many chances for setting down work and having fun - but an anniversary does! For milestone anniversaries, go all out and plan a large party for your colleagues, partners, and customers. This idea is pretty straightforward and you can go as big or as small as you want - just make sure you’ve allotted the appropriate timeline and budget needed to reach your party goals. We’ve got lots more office party ideas in our blog if you need some inspiration.
8. Bring in unique entertainment
Treat your employees to a special day without ever leaving the office. Bring in a great musical act, engaging comedian, or compelling speaker for a unique employee appreciation event. Make sure everyone can clear their schedules for the afternoon and provide some refreshments, then kick back and relax! You can also host the act virtually for remote teams. It’s important that management sends the message that this is an important team activity - not just something to be done if everyone is done with all their other work. Prioritize the down-time and your employees will truly appreciate it.
9. Hand out swag
Did we mention that everyone loves free stuff? Well, most people do - provided that it’s not junk. If you want to give out some mementos to employees around a business anniversary, think carefully about what people would actually enjoy.
You might want to go with a theme that is based on either the traditional anniversary gift (for example, the third anniversary is known for leather) or some of your own internal values (like if your company has a renewed focus on health and wellness). Shop around for great products that can be customized. Following our examples, you could get premium leather journals with your logo, or a high-quality yoga mat and water bottle.
There are also companies who can help you pick out the perfect products or even curate a box full of items. What a treat for everyone to get a surprise box of awesome stuff, either in their mailbox or on their desk.
10. Volunteer day
If one of the themes of your anniversary celebration is gratefulness, why not focus on “giving back”? Chances are your community has several organizations that could use help with everything from serving food to the displaced to cleaning up a playground.
Organize an entire volunteer day where your staff can have fun, bond, and improve their community. Again: employees need to understand that this day is in place of their normal work day - not in addition. If everyone is just going to have to make up their work that evening from home, you won’t get a lot of participation. So, consider the ways that you can support everyone’s bandwidth in advance of the event so that you get strong attendance. For more team cohesion strategies, make sure to visit our blog.
Tips for executing a great anniversary event
So just how do you plan to make sure your anniversary is an amazing event? Here are some practical tips that experts say will make your anniversary event the best.
- Decide who you’re celebrating. Are you focusing on the accomplishments of your company? Thanking clients? Rewarding employees? Decide on the focus before you go too far in planning.
- Determine the celebration size. Not all anniversaries make sense for a big party, but milestone ones like 10 or 20 years are ideal. What else are you doing in addition to a live event, if anything?
- Create promotional materials. Business anniversaries offer a rare opportunity to toot your own horn shamelessly. As mentioned, it’s a great time to come up with new content, rebrand, or launch new products or services. Make sure you have all of the proper elements of a campaign in order.
- Plot your schedule. Once you’ve decided just who you plan to celebrate and how, you’re ready to execute. Put together a practical schedule around all event logistics, promotional materials, and any other campaign elements. Do you want to make this a year-long effort with various touch points scheduled, or focus on a single day or event? Additionally, make sure to leave some time open for unplanned activities that come to you unexpectedly.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate a business anniversary, it’s a big deal - and you should treat it that way. Few things take the place of in-person collaboration and engagement, which is why all-company retreats are a tremendous use of time.
Need some help with executing a creative, yet budget-friendly event? Surf Office can help; reach out to our experts to learn about the perfect team retreat for your group, no matter the size.