12 Unforgettable Employee Anniversary Gifts

12 Unforgettable Employee Anniversary Gifts

Published on March 2nd, 2020

Tenured employees are some of your business’s most valuable assets. Their wealth of knowledge and experience can make them a crucial aspect to your team, so it’s important to do your best to retain them.

Beyond pay raises and promotions, one of the best things you can do to improve employee engagement and retention is to implement a service recognition program. ERE Media found that employees whose current job had a career milestone program in place projected staying 2.9 years longer than their counterparts.

Here’s everything you need to know about crafting the perfect recognition program, including some unforgettable work anniversary gift ideas that are sure to impress.

How do you recognize an employee’s service?

Celebrating employee milestones can be a great opportunity to boost employee morale. According to The Balance, recognizing an employee’s service anniversary publicly can enhance the value of the recognition for the recipient.

You can recognize an employee’s service on or around work anniversaries with an appreciation gift presented in front of their peers. The Balance also recommended taking special care in setting parameters for service recognition. A service award should contain a component that lasts over time - a reminder the employee can look back on for years to come.

While a cash bonus can be an appropriate gift in some circumstances, it’s ultimately spent with no memory of why it was given and little lasting value. That’s why recognizing an employee with a personalized, physical gift can be the best way to acknowledge their years of service.

What makes a good work anniversary gift?

Personal: Offering the same reward for milestones or retirement gifts simply doesn’t resonate with employees. Instead, think about what their own personal interests are, or better yet, give them the power to choose from a selection of rewards themselves. An employee could enjoy the opportunity to choose a gift they know they will value - whether it's something practical or something more fun that they might not have purchased for themselves.

Even if an employee chooses their own gift, it can still be personalized with their monogram or the company logo to make it truly their own. This solution ensures that employees are receiving a gift they will enjoy but is still personalized to acknowledge their achievement.

Memorable: A tangible reward can’t just be handed over, it must be a focus point of an experience to be memorable. Tailor the experience to the staff - maybe they enjoy large, public gatherings, or they could prefer a smaller celebration with their peers. Either way, creating an event around a thoughtful gift exchange attaches more value to the reward.

Authentic: BlueBird said it best: an anniversary award program is an opportunity to reflect your unique company culture. Select gifts or a service program that align with your internal culture and support your broader mission, vision or values. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and reward your employees with upscale gifts that reflect your appreciation and the value of your company.

The best employee anniversary gifts by milestone:

1 Year- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median employee tenure is just 4.2 years. For employees ages 25 to 34 that number is even lower, at 2.8 years. While a 1-year anniversary gift may sound premature, it actually makes sense to begin rewarding employees with a corporate gift for these service milestones because they may not be at the same company for five years.

A 1-year anniversary gift doesn’t need to be extravagant, here are our top picks:

Classic Pen
A sleek writing instrument can be the perfect gift for a fairly new employee, especially one who is always crafting memos or signing documents.


Wine & Cheese Board
Personalized home decor can be a great practical and fun gift for an employee. Every time they use it they’ll think of your company.

5 Years- Five years is a traditional marker for service recognition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate years 2-4 as well. Once an employee does achieve five years, consider some of these gifts:

Decorative Dish

A unique, hand-crafted dish can be a great centerpiece for your employee’s table.


Monogrammed Coasters

Classic monogrammed coasters are a compliment to any coffee table or office desk.

10 Years- iHire’s 2019 Talent Retention Report found that 75% of employees in the U.S. don’t plan to stay at their current job for more than five years. That means a ten-year anniversary celebration is a major deal in the modern workforce. These gifts reflect the importance of this milestone:

Sterling Silver

 It’s something they may not go out to purchase themselves, but will enjoy the opportunity to treat themselves to new jewelry as an anniversary gift.


  Card Holder

Whether it’s for their home office or desk at work, a sleek card holder can help your employees stay organized and ready for business.

15 Years- Another five years means another tier of anniversary gifts at your employees’ fingertips. Consider offering these tenured employees something like:

Candle Holder

An eye catching pair of candle holders will shine at your employee’s next gathering.


  Cashmere Throw

A luxurious throw blanket is suited to both traditional and contemporary interiors.

20 Years- It takes a lot of dedication, sleepless nights and hard work to reach two decades at one company. To show your appreciation, offer your employees some of these gifts:

Iconic Box Plates

Not only are these plates pleasing to look at, they can also be stored nicely within the white Limoges porcelain box.


Notebook Bag

A brief case with a comprehensive design and leather accents is perfect for your on-the-go employee.

25 Years- 25 years is a significant portion of your employee’s career. Give them a gift to match this major accomplishment, like:

Upscale Watch

An upscale watch is the pinnacle of class and will be a staple of your employee’s wardrobe and daily reminder of their milestone.



 Among other gifts for her, your employee will always remember a pair of elegant yellow 14k gold and pearl Marquis earrings as their anniversary gift.

What to include with an employee gift?

In addition to a gift, The Balance recommended employers add a handwritten anniversary card of thanks and a plaque or trophy to compliment their accomplishment. A personalized note, making mention of their hard work, will show an employee their dedication is acknowledged from the top.

Get in touch with our gifting experts for more ideas and help!