Follow these simple steps to plan the perfect celebration for your company’s anniversary.
We celebrate special events like birthdays for more than just a chance to enjoy a guilt-free piece of cake. We do it to show the person celebrating their birthday that we care about them—that the day they came into this world is a day worth celebrating.
Why not give your company’s “birthday” the same consideration? Our research shows that when companies give formal recognition, employees feel 355% more appreciated. Your company anniversary is the perfect chance to give that formal recognition and celebrate just how much your employee’s hard work means to you.
Whether you’re celebrating an important milestone like your company’s one-year anniversary, your 100th anniversary, or even something like the anniversary of your first product launch, when you went public, or other notable company milestones, do something meaningful for your people who make it possible. Follow these simple steps to give genuine appreciation to the people who have made your company a success.
Set aside resources early on
As any event planner worth their salt can tell you, throwing a party isn’t easy. Especially during a pandemic. To truly ensure you make the most of your anniversary celebration, set aside the time, budget, and resources to plan a special anniversary event remotely or in a socially distant manner.
Plan ahead, allocate tasks to team members, and come up with backup ideas as times can still be uncertain. You want it to be fun for your employees but simple and easy for you to plan and administer, as parties and events look different in the current environment than they have in the past. It doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate, but you’ll want a safe, pandemic-appropriate event that is still memorable and meaningful for your people. Think about partnering with an expert who can help you—O.C. Tanner makes it easy to plan and execute memorable moments to celebrate a company anniversary.
For remote celebrations, decide which technology you will use ahead of time and be sure to test it in advance. Read about more ideas for celebrating remotely, include using special backgrounds to mark the occasion.
Find your celebration’s purpose
Many business owners think their anniversary is just about celebrating their company’s years of success, but that’s only one part of the whole story. What you should really focus on is the success of your company’s purpose.
Only 48% of employees feel a sense of purpose at their current employment—which is troubling because employees that find a meaningful purpose in their work are three times more likely to stay with their organization. Design your celebration around your company’s purpose to reinforce how your employees have helped you achieve it.
Scale your celebration according to its importance
You don’t have to drain your company savings to throw a great business anniversary celebration. Keep in mind how large your company is, how long you’ve been in business, and how many potential and current clients (if any) you want to host—then scale your event accordingly.
If you find the size of your event is quickly eating into your budget, don’t be afraid to cut back. Have a smaller celebration for just your employees and save the big ideas for major milestones, like your 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversary.
Create a limited-edition product, like specially branded merchandise
Take this opportunity to refresh your image a little. If you’ve hit a big anniversary, consider designing an anniversary logo, writing a slogan or launching a full anniversary campaign, and create custom merchandise based on those updates. Your business has lasted this long—you deserve to show off a little. Give a gift like O.C. Tanner’s custom-designed symbolic awards which serve as lasting reminders of important company milestones and achievements.
Employees love receiving gifts that they can’t get anywhere else. Other good limited-edition products to celebrate an important milestone could be an item they use for work branded with the special anniversary, a luxury item made specifically for your anniversary that they can’t buy at a store, or a keepsake item that connects them directly back to your organization.
Once again, it helps to tie your new slogan or logo to your purpose to reinforce it in both your employees’ and clients’ minds.
Launch a new product or improvement
Both your employees and your clients want to see that you are invested in innovation. Demonstrate this by offering special products or services to your loyal customers—and more importantly, poll your employees to see what improvements would make their work lives easier, then put them into action.
This is a fantastic way to show that even though you’re celebrating your years of success, you’ve still got your eyes fixed on the future.
Tell people about it!
Once you’ve found your theme, planned your celebration and designed your unique merchandise, it’s time to let people know about it. Get on your social media and announce the event for both clients and employees. You can even create a landing page to register attendees.
Keep in mind, the earlier you plan your event, the earlier you can start a campaign to get people hyped for it.
Host a charity event
One great way to celebrate a significant anniversary is to sponsor a charity event. When doing this, it’s important to choose a charity that reflects your purpose and values. For example, if you’re a soup company whose purpose is to “feed the world with healthy, delicious soups,” find a charity dedicated to feeding those who are in need.
You can also involve your employees by giving them the opportunity to choose the charity you sponsor.
Compete in a sporting event
Not all corporate celebrations need to take place in person. If you’ve got an active group of employees, consider participating in an athletic or sporting event remotely—like a marathon or bike race.
After the competition, make sure everyone has the chance to share their accomplishments together online, deliver food and drinks to their homes so they can celebrate, and host a meaningful employee-appreciation ceremony online.
Put together an intimate event dedicated to recognition
While we can’t yet gather in person, you can still throw an event where the focus is on recognizing your employees’ successes. Create a video with footage and pictures of your team throughout the years, present years-of-service awards (via Zoom), and send out unique, personal profiles of each employee.
To take your anniversary party even further, create a time capsule filled with employee pictures and notes that you can open on your next significant anniversary.
The most important part of any company’s anniversary is recognizing those who have made this day possible. Keep your focus on thanking your people, and your celebration will be a success every time.
Celebrate individual work anniversaries too
In addition to celebrating the anniversary of your business, celebrate each employee’s individual work anniversary with the company as well. Every year an employee spends with your organization represents a significant investment of time and dedication that deserves some appreciation. To learn more about employee recognition examples for work anniversaries, read "10 tips to celebrate work anniversaries."
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