Great work deserves to be recognized and celebrated. But recognition that includes everyone can be a challenge. Team and company celebrations and events are one way to ensure every employee is included and feels appreciated.
After two years of virtual and scaled-back events, companies are ready to celebrate. Company celebrations don’t have to be a flashy corporate party or be expensive—the most impactful company celebrations are planned thoughtfully and full of meaning.
In fact, our Global Culture Report finds that spending as little as $50 per employee can impact employee engagement, while spending $250 or $500 provides an even more substantial return on investment.
Whether it’s a corporate event or individual team celebration, company celebrations have the potential to become peak experiences that build workplace culture and help everyone feel they belong. Here are 30 great team and company celebration ideas in 5 categories that we’ve seen clients do that can help you create a culture where employees thrive.
Learn more about company celebration and recognition budgeting in our Global Culture Report.
What are company celebrations?
Company celebrations are activities and events that include all employees to recognize and celebrate an accomplishment or achievement. They build camaraderie, connection to purpose, company culture, and company pride. Successful companies use employee recognition tools to show employee appreciation as part of their team and company celebrations.
There are countless reasons to celebrate:
- Company anniversaries or milestones (100th anniversary, 1 million products made or sold, etc.)
- Hit a sales or financial goal
- New product launch
- New client signed
- Passed a certification or test
- New brand launch
- Corporate merger
- Made an industry list (like Great Place to Work)
- Holidays (calendar year-end holidays or industry holidays like Employee Appreciation Day, Hospital Week, Manufacturing Day, etc.)
And that’s not all. Teams may have their own team celebration ideas, so be sure to ask employees for their ideas too.
Why have company celebrations?
Company celebrations are a great employee reward for their contributions to major accomplishments. The influence of recognition goes beyond how employees feel—acts of appreciation and celebrating together can:
- Increase employee engagement
- Create a peak employee experience that employees will always remember
- Build a work environment of belonging, inclusion, and community
- Foster a sense of accomplishment and success for all employees
- Encourage employees to innovate
- Improve morale and decrease conflict
- Strengthen your organization’s bonds, values, and vision
- Boost productivity
- Build a positive workplace culture where employees thrive
- Help retain employees
Giving employee recognition and employee appreciation is a crucial part of improving organizational culture and helping employees feel irreplaceable.
Get started on your next company celebration.
Team and company celebration ideas
These team and company celebration ideas will bring your employees together.
Plan a company celebration event
While getting everyone together in person for a big company party may not always be possible, you can still create a company-wide event for your employees. Plan a location-based work party, luncheon, or even open house. Don’t forget to find ways your virtual employees can join in.
Many companies have a week-long holiday event with an inclusive holiday theme, an open house for employees’ families to showcase their beautiful campus and décor, or a nice company luncheon to celebrate things like calendar or industry holidays.
Hindalco, the world’s largest aluminum rolling company, celebrates Praise Month each year, on the anniversary of their recognition program launch (powered by Culture Cloud™), with fun team activities, speakers and events, and Praise trees that recognize employees and the great work happening across the company.
University of Kentucky Healthcare hosts a service anniversary event every month to celebrate employee anniversaries that includes a ceremony, opportunities to meet senior leaders, a Yearbook with comments from peers and leaders congratulating them on their career milestone, and a choice of gift.
Give a meaningful employee gift
Give all your employees, including your offline and remote ones, a meaningful gift.
“They are so excited about picking their gift. Their faces light up when they talk about their gifts.”
Bluescope Australian Steel Products wanted to thank all their employees for a strong financial year—including contractors, labor-hire, cleaners, security guards, and employees outside of Australia—with a selection of 5 gift cards.
"Group Deposits [through Culture Cloud] is the easiest way to reward small teams, large teams, and even whole Business Units or the entire organization with a common currency that could complement the existing reward point balances already sitting in individual employee accounts.
Group Deposits was used for the organization-wide ‘Heartfelt Thanks’ issuance of 100 points as a thank you for another strong year in difficult times from the CEO Nick Hawkins. It provides us with a tool to reward our employees in a consistent manner across a diverse set of teams, functions, and geographical locations.” – IAG (Australia)
Celebrate employees with treats and games
Creative employee recognition programs incorporate fun games and treats to celebrate success. This is an easy way to encourage employee interaction with their peers and leaders, especially for remote and hybrid teams. Here are some activities companies enjoy.
- Cubicle or office decorating contest
- Scavenger hunt related to the achievement
- Zoom trivia contest
- Hot chocolate bar with donuts or treats that have the company logo on it
- Themed contests (costume contests, team potlucks, cooking competitions, etc.)
Support employees with a focus on wellbeing
A meaningful way to celebrate employee efforts and achievements is to give employees some down time. Here are some ideas to help employees rest and rejuvenate after a big accomplishment.
- Group wellness events (meditation, yoga, WeWork meetups for remote employees)
- One week off from meetings (gives employees time to focus on themselves and finish projects)
- DEI events and talks
- Peer learning day (a full day where peers share best practices and tips with one another)
- Formal and informal mentorship programs
- Group 30-minute coffee connections with leaders
Volunteer together as a team or company
Volunteering together is an impactful way to celebrate and build community at work. Give employees time off, on the clock, to volunteer and link them with volunteer opportunities that leaders participate in too. Here are some common corporate volunteer activities*:
- Volunteer at a food bank
- Cook meals for families at a Ronald McDonald House
- Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
- Collect clothes and food for a homeless shelter
- Put care packages together for hospital patients
- Walk dogs or care for pets at an animal shelter
- Mentor or encourage at-risk youth
- Clean up a park or creek or plant trees
- Read to children at school
*Note these are common volunteer opportunities in the United States. Opportunities may vary by location.
No matter how you do team and company celebrations, remember they are not the only way to recognize employees. For timely appreciation, celebrate and recognize employees throughout the year.