8 Service Anniversary Milestones Every Company Should Celebrate

Read this article to find out what service anniversary milestones make the most difference and how companies utilize employees’ Moments that Matter to make the most of R&R programs

April 20, 2023 By Ravijojla Novakovic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!


Sometimes, the most meaningful opportunities to recognize your employees hide in plain sight. Of course, we’re talking about celebrating employees’ service anniversary milestones, in other words, employees’ professional Moments that Matter. 

Marking service anniversaries and other Moments that Matter leads to a more wholesome employee experience, which brings many benefits to company culture and overall workforce productivity and health.  

According to Training Folks, “the costs of losing an employee extend well beyond the financial burden to the company which studies have shown can be up to 16% of annual salary for high-turnover positions like with retail and up to 213% of annual salary for higher executive positions like a CEO.” 

Recognizing employees’ years of service and other milestones makes employees feel seen and heard, and it strengthens connection and impacts bonding in the workplace.

And that directly translates into benefitting the company’s goals on a strategic level, with a long-term (innovation, agility, connection, belonging, team morale) and short-term impact (saving money on turnover and hiring and onboarding new employees, engagement, productivity). 

What are Service Anniversary Milestones?

Anniversary milestones are events that companies celebrate publicly by recognizing employees’ years of service and other important milestones. Service anniversary milestones are Moments that Matter that mark professional events on employees’ career journeys that are unique to every employee. 

Celebrating employee milestones is a part of a company’s employee recognition and total rewards strategy.  

The professional Moments that Matter include celebrating the employees’ time spent at a company. Most importantly, these are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 10th, and every following 5th year of service. 

But also, some moments are specific to each employee, such as their hiring anniversaries, first sale anniversary, completion of a new sales target, project, or promotion, but also role-specific and learning achievements such as completing a course and gaining new skills, and any other event that is considered a professional achievement and can be celebrated. 

→ Learn more about Service Anniversaries here

8 Service Anniversary Milestones Every Company Should Celebrate

1. Newly hired 

While working at your company, employees will go through several stages of their career journey. According to Oracle’s taxonomy, there are 11 stages of the employee life cycle, and Onboarding comes on the 4th place, right after Attraction, Recruiting, and Interviewing. 

Onboarding is one of the most critical stages in an employee’s life cycle at a company. This is the time companies use to familiarize the candidate with the company values, processes, and organization, conduct training, establish a performance management cadence, and so on. 

In this stage, candidates get immersed into the work environment, they socialize with their new peers, integrate with company culture, and finally, decide whether their new job is a good fit. 

According to Training Folks, statistics show that companies lose up to 25% of their new hires in the first year. While there are many reasons for high turnover in this first year, lots of the reasons are linked to the onboarding that the employee experiences. 

A significant part of creating a great onboarding experience is the creation of signs of appreciation for the newly hired employees, showing them they are welcomed and needed. 

An appreciable way to celebrate a new employee could be a branded welcome box waiting for them on their first day, a lunch with the manager before onboarding, or a public recognition gesture that announces that the employee has now started working for the company.  

→ To find out how to make service anniversaries easier for companies, click here

2. Promotion

Employees take notice of the dates that are important to them and expect that companies commemorate these events somehow. And this is what distinguishes companies with a great culture from companies that only sport vanity culture – only caring about how they look on the outside. 

Promotion is a big deal for employees, and they will gladly showcase the achievement they worked so hard to attain. However, many companies miss out on recognizing this achievement when doing so does not need to be a complicated process, regardless of how large or small the company may be. Giving a shoutout about an employee’s promotion on LinkedIn is definitely worthwhile, but don’t let the celebration end there. 

Imagine your organization has a company-wide Moments that Matter appreciation program that flags employees’ Moments that Matter, including the option to recognize it publicly and give employees a means to boast about it on LinkedIn. When these are automated, and managers are being sent reminders about these critical events, the vital moment is never missed. 

3. Sales target and big wins

Hitting a sales target, or any other ‘big win’ like completing a huge project, is a career milestone that demands recognition. Recognizing such events reinforces desired behaviors and actions, boosts morale and engagement, and helps employees feel great about their achievements and progress. What’s best is that the good feelings are contagious and further impact customer experience, organizational agility, and health. 

According to a Gallup study, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. Additionally, highly engaged workplaces saw 41% lower absenteeism and 59% less turnover

The more considerable achievements are best recognized with peer-2-peer, and top-down thank you congratulatory messages. Employees will appreciate being awarded with meaningful presents if a company supports monetary recognition programs. If only non-monetary programs are in place, there are other potential ways to recognize significant achievements, such as days off, public and company-wide shoutouts, and personalized cards or notes. 

→  Looking for a simple way to reward employees with meaningful awards? Have a look here

4. Learning and development achievements 

It’s becoming more and more challenging to hire and retain top talent. Companies often use learning and development as a means to motivate and retain talent but also to build and expand the skills needed for companies to thrive.

Skills development is a vital activity for organizations, and many companies are moving away from the traditional way of defining jobs into building skills-based organizations. According to Josh Bersin, “Once you get started, you will see that skills play a role in hiring, mobility, development, diversity, and even pay. ” 

Companies that recognize employees for attaining a specific skill or completing a course can target industry or department-specific issues, such as improving safety at work by having employees complete a course on safety and rewarding them for it. 


5. Hiring anniversary (service anniversary) 

Celebrating employees’ years of service is the most common type of employee milestones companies formally celebrate. Usually, companies mark employees’ length of tenure on their 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th (and so on) length of tenure. Hiring anniversaries are extremely important to employees and are vital to a company’s Recognition and Rewards strategy.  

People look for new jobs at an increasing rate when reaching important milestones. According to Harvard Business Review, “Work anniversaries (whether of joining the company or of moving into one’s current role) are natural times for reflection, and job-hunting activity jumps by 6% and 9%, respectively, at those points.” 

It’s also interesting to note that companies with no Service Anniversary programs experience 3.4 years as an average employee tenure for employees aged 25-34, and according to our own data, companies with Service Anniversary programs increased the employee tenure by at least 2 years, with 5.4 years average tenure. 

According to Glassdoor, celebrating important employee moments can improve new hire retention by 82%. For industries and companies that struggle with high turnover and many of the workforce quit before their 2nd or even 1st service anniversary, introducing and celebrating important employee milestones from early on helps make a difference. 

6. Ending of a trial period 

Talent Acquisition Study reveals that 95% of organizations of all sizes admit to making bad hires every year. While reasons for making bad hires can vary from a deficient culture or technical fit to candidate misrepresentation, some bad hires happen because the candidates decided the company wasn’t a great fit. 

And while not every bad hire can be predicted, a great onboarding experience helps eradicate friction from the start and encourages a feeling of belonging among the new employees. 

When the trial period ends and the onboarding has been completed successfully, the employees move into the next stages of their career journey: Engagement, Development, and Retention. Employees are most productive in these stages, and their crossing from one stage to the next highlights the nurturing effect that companies provide, aiding employees to be successful. 

7. Retirement 

Retirement corresponds to the final stage of the employee life cycle; becoming company alumni. 

Celebrating employee retirement matters for numerous reasons: it improves employee branding by sending a message that the company cares about its employees even when the company will no longer employ them. Additionally, it improves workplace culture by showing employees their efforts are being recognized, and giving them a reason to stay with a company that values its employees until they retire. 

To celebrate an employee’s retirement, companies may choose to share memories by creating Memory Books, organizing a formal celebration event, and giving a custom, memorable gift. A great practice is to provide employees with retirement benefits, but that needs to be planned well ahead and included in a company’s Total Rewards strategy. 

→ Watch a DEMO of Semos Cloud’s Culture & Recognition Solution here. 

8. Company Milestone

When a company achieves a breakthrough moment, such as M&As, new offices opening, company anniversaries, staff growth, or a new product launched, it’s important to recognize the role employees played in achieving it. Therefore, a company milestone becomes an employee milestone that deserves to be celebrated. 

When companies habitually recognize these events and celebrations for big or small wins become a tradition, company culture flourishes. Including employees in events that matter for the company helps to strengthen a feeling of belonging and willingness to stay at a company, thus improving retention and supporting engagement.

Bonus: What other Employee Milestones to celebrate? 

Personal Moments that Matter, milestones of importance, impact how an employee feels overall, affecting how they think and act at a workplace. 

When hiring anniversaries are augmented with other Moments that Matter celebrations, the bond between employers and employees strengthens, loyalty increases, and employees are motivated to do more of the great work. 

Harvard Business Review informs that job hunting jumps 12% just before birthdays. Life milestones such as turning 30, 40, or 50 often make employees question their place in a company and wonder if they can do better elsewhere. 

Anticipating these moments and instituting a company-wide Recognition and Rewards program that keeps all employee data in one place and sends reminders when important events and service anniversary milestones are approaching is a game-changer, ensuring MtM are recognized at all times.   

Here’s a list of other important employee milestones: 

  • Birthdays
  • Buying a new house
  • Getting married
  • Becoming a parent
  • Adopting a pet
  • Wedding anniversaries
  • Big wins – any significant accomplishment such as running a big race, beating an illness, or climbing a high mountain 

See how recognizing Moments that Matter will transform your organization. Check out the program sampler below:



Everybody needs a break from the daily grind from time to time, and celebrating employee milestones and years of service is a great way to pause and celebrate the achievements thus far. 

Service anniversary milestones are an excellent opportunity for employers to capitalize on observing employees’ Moments that Matter with activities that are low in cost but bring great returns when it comes to overall company goals, measured in employee engagement, productivity, retention, and company culture. 

Celebrating employee milestones helps companies reimagine the employee experience and build a positive company culture that appreciates their employees while improving the retention and productivity of their workforce.