Why Service Anniversaries are Key Moments that Matter

When you have an employee relationship marked by loyalty, respect, and stellar achievements, service anniversaries feel like birthdays.

May 16, 2022 By Ivo Jurcic Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!
service anniversaries

Every experienced manager or PR professional knows ‌employee work anniversaries are important. 

While celebrating anniversaries in companies is nothing new, the rising awareness of recognizing Moments that Matter beckons us to discuss what anniversaries mean in this context. 

After reading this article, you’ll have a fresh perspective on employee anniversaries. 

But before we dive into the reasons why ‌service anniversaries are at the core of Moments that Matter, let’s first quickly cover why MTM are so impactful for employee relationships.

Impact of Moments that Matter 

Moments that Matter is a concept in HR used to understand the most important moments of an individual’s employment experience in a company. 

Naturally, some moments have a more significant impact on employee happiness and satisfaction than others, which is why skilled HR professionals and managers pick up on them, draw lessons and try to amplify their impact. 

Moments that Matter are observed throughout an employee’s day, month, year, and entire career. 

When employers and supervisors make a strong effort to recognize Moments that Matter, they strengthen their bond with employees and cultivate a healthy, mutually productive relationship. 

We can all agree it’s crucial to have satisfied employees. 

According to data by Gartner, 56% of HR leaders are interested in identifying critical Moments that Matter for their organization and its workforce. 

Whether it’s recognizing important employee achievements or private milestones, understanding what moments make a difference for employees is becoming increasingly important for leaders interested in employee experience. 

A landmark 2018 Gartner survey with over 5800 respondents reported that only 29% of employees agreed with the statement: HR really understands what people like me need and want. 

There seems to be a disconnect between employees and HR. 

Understanding the Moments that Matter gives HR departments an invaluable perspective on what their employees value the most, so they can create a thriving environment for their workforce.

Moments that matter allow us to learn more about what’s really important to our people, rather than the moments that HR and leaders think matter. More importantly, they enable action. When we identify the moments that matter to employees, we have clear next steps for HR to take action on to improve the employee experience. Aaron McEwan, VP, Research and Advisory at Garter

Now that you understand the significance of Moments that Matter, it’s time we discuss why service anniversaries are a critical MTM. 

Why Service Anniversaries are Key Moments that Matter 

Although we can’t pinpoint with absolute certainty which moments are most impactful, we can all agree that service anniversaries are crucially important moments in the employee experience. 

How companies celebrate their employees’ tenure speaks volumes of the company culture and things that are valued at the firm. 

Here are the 3 top reasons why service anniversaries are key Moments that Matter. 

Service Anniversaries Allow Both Sides to Celebrate their Relationship 

Reaching another anniversary date is a mutual achievement. It takes effort for both parties to sustain the relationship, which is why it shouldn’t be a one-sided celebration. 

When the leadership celebrates their service anniversary, employees feel valued for their commitment to the company. After all, employees are constantly investing their most valuable resource; their time. 

It means a lot when a large company acknowledges that fact and makes employees feel valued. 

Needless to say, valued employees bring more to the company, and deliver some of their best performance.

A survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that 93% of employees that feel valued said they are motivated to do their best. 

In addition, 88% of valued employees report being engaged with their work.

From the employer’s perspective, when the employee is thrilled about their anniversary, it shows their gratitude for being a part of the team. Service anniversaries confirm that hiring that employee was the right choice. 

As a special Moment that Matters, service anniversaries give the company a chance for a mutual appreciation and renowned commitment.

The standard school of thought suggests starting at the two- or three-year mark. In many cases, companies shouldn’t even wait this long before formally recognizing employees. In industries and businesses with high turnover, we recommend they start honoring employees at the one-year mark. Todd M. Shannon, Vice President of Growth at Warwick Inc.

According to one survey on global recognition programs, only 28% of the surveyed companies celebrate one-year anniversaries. 

anniversary milestone celebration

Companies should show appreciation more often, and celebrate service anniversaries yearly. 

Service Anniversaries Affirm Employee’s Future With the Company 

Service anniversaries are key Moments that Matter because they reassure employees that they have a future with the company.

Whenever you’re celebrating an anniversary, you’re not just reminiscing about the old days, but you’re also thinking about what the anniversary means in the context of what’s next.

Never underestimate how much it means for employees to feel reassured these days. The past two years have been traumatic for employees worldwide. 

In their Mental Health at Work report, Mindshare revealed that as much as 76% of US workers have at least one mental health condition. 

In addition, according to the same research, 46% of workers have depression. 

Another phenomenon connected to this issue is dubbed the Great Resignation. It signifies abnormal voluntary resignation rates among the workforce that erupted mid-pandemic. 

In July 2021, a staggering amount of 4 million US workers quit their jobs.  

Using service anniversaries to reinforce a sense of stability with your employees is a way of helping them cope with the stress that intensified during the pandemic. 

Service Anniversaries Reflect your Company Culture 

Company culture is reflected in the way the company celebrates employee milestones. 

When enterprises and companies go the extra mile to celebrate service anniversaries, they effectively show they care. 

There’s a fine difference between companies that celebrate employee tenure meaningfully and companies that barely even send an anniversary note. 

However, if your Years of Service award program isn’t properly structured, it will fail to deliver the results you’re seeking. And in many cases, a poorly planned program can have a negative impact! That’s why it’s critical organizations follow best practices when planning and executing their YOS award program. Todd M. Shannon, Vice President of Growth at Warwick Inc.

If companies want their service anniversaries to radiate a positive, recognition-centered culture, they have to go beyond HR sending a thank you on anniversaries. 

Gallup surveyed employees to answer the question: where does the most meaningful recognition experience come from?

whose praise matters the most statistics

Their data uncovered that the most meaningful and memorable recognition comes from their manager, at 28%, followed by the high-level officer or CEO, at 24%. Recognition means the most when it’s shown by a high-ranking member of the organization. 

When managers or CEOs recognize an employee’s service anniversary, they serve as a proxy for their company’s culture and put values to action. 

You might be tempted to think that using anniversaries is a chance to promote your culture, and by doing so, promote your company. 

However, that’s half-true at best.

Companies that care about their employees put so much effort into their company culture, not simply because they want to establish themselves as a desirable employer. 

They do so because they understand that company culture is essential for creating a positive environment for people to thrive. 

By extension, the point of celebrating Moments that Matter isn’t simply to validate how amazing your company is; the point is to celebrate your employees’ defining moments, and show appreciation. 

Celebrating service anniversaries gives you a chance to translate the culture you’ve been preaching into meaningful action. 

How to Support Service Anniversaries Successfully 

While service anniversary customs vary from organization to organization, it’s important to support HR and management so the process is successful.

We’re talking about using fine-tuned Employee Experience tools that will enable your HR professionals and managers to make service anniversaries an unforgettable experience. 

We can all agree service anniversaries are special, and deserve extra effort. After all, you can’t celebrate an anniversary by sending a thank you note. 

Unfortunately, only 16% of HR departments are experimenting with Moments that Matter strategies, according to a survey by Gartner. 

These are sad news, considering that employee turnover rates are becoming critical since the Great Resignation. Most companies still ignore the importance of MTM. 

Be better than them. 

Use Employee Experience tools to plan, prepare and automate service anniversary celebrations. 

For example, the employee reward and recognition tool JobPts has a Service Anniversaries feature so that JobPts users can excel at celebrating employee anniversaries. It enables HR and management to send custom and branded gifts or company swag to employees for their anniversaries.

service anniversaries

The best part is that the Semos Cloud handles all the logistics and shipping, so that the process is easy and hassle-free. 

For instance, you can send a branded trophy for your employee’s first year anniversary, along with a box full of branded cups, t-shirts and‌ tote bags. 

There are many options to choose from, so you can add a personal flair to every gift. 

This is just one example of how using Employee Experience tools can supercharge your employee service anniversaries. 

Imagine what your HR could do with a powerful solution at their HR toolkit. 

Final Thoughts 

Service anniversaries are key Moments that Matter and deserve your immediate attention. 

Companies that celebrate them meaningfully can deepen their relationship with their employees and show them how much they care.

On the other hand, companies that don’t recognize their employees’ tenure lose their employees once some recruiter reaches them out on LinkedIn with an offer. 

Ask yourself: how does my HR approach service anniversaries?

Reflect on what you’ve learned today and read more about recognizing your employees