An Easy Way To Celebrate Employee Anniversaries

I think a lot of managers have a difficult time finding opportunities to have positive interactions with employees.  I thought I would share something that I do every month that might be an easy and inexpensive way for anyone to recognize their employees and build a little goodwill throughout the organization. 

Every month I gather all of my employees around and I give them a quick state of the company speech and then various members of my management team will step up and recognize anyone that has an anniversary that month.  A work anniversary that is.  We recognize people that have been with the company for a year, two years, ten years or whatever the case may be.  Each manager will get up and share a story about an employee or talk about why they are such a valuable asset to the organization.  We print off our own little certificates on heavy cardstock so that they have something that they can display back at their desks that shows how many years they have been with the company. 

I then will close out the meeting with something reasonably inspirational.  At our last meeting I spoke about Ron Gutman’s TED presentation on the Power of Smiling.  I like to try to close the meetings out with something uplifting. 

These meetings cost us next to nothing to conduct, but I cannot easily articulate the value of them.  First and foremost, it allows my managers to express their gratitude for those “quiet” employees that might otherwise get overlooked.  Secondly, by printing off certificates and giving them out, anyone can walk around our office and quickly get a sense for how little turnover there is.  If you know a company has little or no turnover, wouldn’t that increase your desire to work there?  Finally, it helps build a bond with all of the employees.  To conduct these meetings, you have to know everyone’s name and what they do for your company.  I know for a fact that there are a lot of senior managers that don’t know most people’s names or have any idea what they do for their company.  Shame on them.  If my boss’ boss did not know my name, I don’t think I would feel like a very valuable part of the organization. 

I have had a lot of success running these types of meetings for many years.  If you don’t have something similar in place, then I suggest you give it try.  You don’t have to have the meeting every month.  I do because we have a handful of anniversaries each month.  You can do it quarterly if you only have a handful of employees.  The costs and risks are minimal and the payback is immense in my opinion.

Aside from the type of meeting that I am describing here (or thank you notes) what other low cost things do you do to recognize employees?

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