Applauz Blog

25 Meaningful Work Anniversary Messages

  9 min read

By: Anouare Abdou

Work Anniversary Messages

Work anniversary messages provide a vital opportunity for employee recognition, which fosters a healthy culture and boosts engagement and retention. Here are 25 meaningful employee anniversary message examples to inspire you.

You probably celebrate events such as your wedding anniversary or your best friend’s birthday. Professional milestones like work anniversaries matter just as much. Writing a thoughtful message to acknowledge a team member’s job tenure is a small gesture that can have a big impact.

“Celebrating work anniversaries is a simple yet powerful way to let employees know how much we value their hard work and dedication. It's all about making them feel appreciated, and that positivity can do wonders for their motivation and engagement,” says Zianya Escamilla, Senior People and Culture Business Partner at Unito. “Considering that lack of recognition is a major reason people leave their jobs, why not seize this chance to make our team feel special?”

What Are Work Anniversary Messages?

Enter work anniversary messages. What exactly do they consist of? A work anniversary message can take various forms, from a handwritten card to an acknowledgment on LinkedIn or a speech at a work event.

A good employee anniversary message should include words of appreciation for a person’s contributions in the workplace. Specific examples of the impact of their contributions on their team and organization are key. You can also include personal anecdotes or mention the way a person has impacted you as a work friend if your relationship warrants it. The core purpose of the message is recognition, so keep that in mind while writing your note.

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The Importance of Acknowledging Work Anniversaries

Employee recognition increases employee engagement and promotes a healthy work environment. However, less than a quarter of employees strongly agree that their organization has a system in place to recognize professional milestones such as work anniversaries, according to Gallup research. This means that there is an opportunity to seize.

According to Escamilla, work anniversaries are more than fun celebrations – they can be leveraged as a tool to strengthen the bond between employees and their organization. Acknowledging the dedication of your employees creates positive feelings and makes them feel valued, which, in turn, boosts loyalty, productivity and employee retention. “Knowing we appreciate their contributions motivates them to keep giving their best. Plus, work anniversaries bring teams together, fostering a strong sense of belonging and promoting a collaborative, positive culture. It's a win-win for everyone,” she adds.

Karyn Martin, leadership expert and President and CEO of Interprise/Southwest Interior & Space Design, agrees. She wishes more leaders understood how important work anniversaries are to people, and how easy it is to acknowledge them: “Recognizing work anniversaries is important because it shows the employee – and the world around them – that their time stands for something. People want to stay in companies where they are ‘seen’, especially by senior management, so recognizing work anniversaries is critical to keeping your best talent. It’s only human to feel happier and do better work when your contributions are recognized.”

While sending a meaningful work anniversary message can have a long-lasting impact on morale, the opposite is also true: forgetting a milestone can be damaging. “Looking at it from the employees’ point of view, they know that it’s simple to put things in annual calendars, so if their milestone – whether it is a birthday or a work anniversary – slips by unmentioned, they know that leadership just didn’t care enough to input the dates and acknowledge the employee’s service milestones,” says Martin.

In other words, make sure you celebrate each work anniversary.

Appropriate and Impactful Work Anniversary Messages

Crafting an appropriate and impactful work anniversary message can be tricky. You want it to feel personal yet be workplace-friendly. Maybe you’re questioning whether a funny work anniversary message would work well or is best avoided. To strike the right balance between personal and professional and lighthearted and serious, get inspiration from the examples below.

1-year work anniversary messages

An Entelo study revealed that people are most likely to leave after their first year, making it a critical work anniversary to celebrate. A one-year work anniversary message should highlight the employee’s successful integration into their team and company.

  • Happy one-year work anniversary! It’s only been a year and it’s hard to imagine our team without you now. I appreciate your hard work and contributions and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
  • Congratulations on your one-year work anniversary! I am thrilled that you have joined our team. Thank you for your hard work and dedication and the positive attitude you bring to the table.
  • Happy work anniversary! Seeing how much you’ve evolved in only a year has been amazing. It’s a pleasure to work with you and I’m excited to get to know you more in the next year. Thank you for all the great work.
  • Congratulations on wrapping up your first year at [name of company]. I love how effortlessly you fit right into our team and brought so much value to [project examples]. I am excited about what else we can do together!
  • Happy one-year work anniversary! Thank you for making a positive impact on our team from the get-go. We are grateful to work with you and can’t wait to keep collaborating in the year to come.

5-year work anniversary messages

If someone has been with a company for five years, they’re either going to end up staying for much longer or start looking for other challenges. Make sure they feel special with a five-year work anniversary message, which should be more personalized than a one-year one and include several mentions of the employee’s contributions through the years.

  • Wow, five years already! I still remember the time you [example of contribution or anecdote]. You’ve kept crushing it since then, especially [mention other examples of contributions]. Thank you for being such a rockstar and an invaluable team player. I hope to share many more wins with you in the future.
  • Congratulations on reaching your five-year work anniversary. Thank you for your [list of strengths and skills]. Our team is lucky to have you as both a coworker and a friend. It’s been a pleasure to watch you grow and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
  • Happy five-year work anniversary! Your skills and contributions have been instrumental to our success, from [example of contribution] to [example of contribution]. Thank you for your relentless commitment and positive energy. We are lucky to have you!
  • Congratulations on your five-year work anniversary! It’s been a pleasure to share this journey with you as both a coworker and a friend. I am inspired by your [list of strengths and skills] and am looking forward to continuing to work together. Thank you for being such an awesome team player!
  • Thank you for five years of dedication, hard work and lots of laughter. You make the workplace brighter and have helped us achieve so many goals, from [example of contribution] to [example of contribution]. We are grateful to celebrate this milestone with you.

10-year work anniversary messages

A 10-year anniversary is no small feat. If someone has been with your company for 10 years, a significant celebration should be in order, from organizing a catered team lunch to giving a unique gift alongside a thoughtful message.

  • Congratulations on your 10-year work anniversary. You’ve helped make this company what it is today through your contributions in the past decade. From taking [department/project] to the next level to always showing up with a smile, you bring so much value to the table. Thank you for your passion and commitment. Celebrate well!
  • Wow, 10 years! Congratulations on reaching this huge milestone. You’ve experienced so many changes here in the past decade and you’ve navigated them all with grace and skill. Thank you for your invaluable contributions to our team and organization. You are an inspiration!
  • Thank you for an amazing decade of service. It has been such a pleasure to work with you over the last few years and witness your [skills and strengths] in action. I especially admire the way you’ve [example of contribution or anecdote]. It’s an honor to celebrate this milestone with you!
  • Congratulations on your 10-year work anniversary. Time flies by when you’re well-surrounded and we are lucky to have you. Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do, from [example of contribution] to [example of contribution]. You’ve helped make this workplace what it is today. Cheers to your accomplishments!

20-year work anniversary messages

Being with a company for 20 years is huge. 20-year work anniversary messages should focus on the impact that the employee has had on the organization over the years and be accompanied by a gift.

  • Happy 20-year work anniversary! Thank you for your unwavering loyalty to this organization. From [example of contribution] to [example of contribution], you’ve made so many impactful contributions over the past two decades that it would be impossible to list them all. You are an inspiration to anyone who has had the pleasure of working with you.
  • Congratulations on your 20-year work anniversary! I feel so lucky to have had the chance to work with you over the years. I’ve learned so much from you, from [example of contribution] to [example of contribution]. You’ve helped make this company successful while positively impacting your colleagues. Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do.
  • Congratulations on this impressive career milestone – you make 20 years of tenure look easy but I know you’ve put in countless hours of effort to become the professional you are today. You inspire our team with your [skills and strengths] and we feel so fortunate to work with you.
  • Thank you for giving your 100% over the past two decades. Your [skills and strengths] have been essential to the growth and success of this organization. We are proud to call you a coworker and honored that you’ve chosen to work with us!
  • Happy 20-year work anniversary! Thank you for reminding us all that hard work and dedication pay off. From [example of contribution] to [example of contribution], you have shown time and time again that you are an outstanding team player. You embody the values of this company and lead by example. We are so grateful for all you have done here!

25-year work anniversary messages

Bust out the balloons because a 25-year work anniversary is a rare occurrence these days. This is a time to celebrate an employee’s professional journey. Dig into their accomplishments and promotions and look for personal anecdotes to make your work anniversary message extra special.

  • Congratulations on your 25th work anniversary! This is a huge accomplishment and we are lucky that you have chosen to grow with us over the years. From starting as a [role] to successfully evolving into a [role] and a [role], your career here is truly an inspiration. Your hard work and contributions have been invaluable to our success, from [example of contribution] to [example of contribution]. And you’ve done it all with a smile on your face. Thank you!
  • Happy 25-year work anniversary! Thank you for your unwavering commitment to greatness – you continue to inspire us with your [skills and strengths] and positively impact everyone around you. There are no words to express the immense impact you’ve had on this organization, such as the time you [anecdote or example of contribution]. Celebrate well – you deserve it!
  • It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since you joined the company. From [anecdote] to [anecdote], anyone who has been lucky enough to work with you can speak to your [skills and strengths]. It’s a pleasure to work with you and I admire your dedication and loyalty. Thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do!
  • Happy 25-year work anniversary and congratulations on reaching such an impressive career milestone! From working as a [role] to [role], your professional journey is an inspiration and you embody the qualities required to succeed in the workplace and in life. We are so lucky to have you and grateful for your contributions throughout the years – this company wouldn’t be what it is today without you!
  • Wow, 25 years! Thank you for being an example of commitment and perseverance and for your invaluable contributions to the success of this company. From [example of contribution] as a [role] to [example of contribution] as a [role], you show up with [skills and strengths] and keep crushing it regardless of the challenge. Thank you for being you and for inspiring us all in the process. Congratulations!


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Tips to Deliver Employee Anniversary Messages

The messages above can be used as a starting point to craft your own personalized note. Don’t be afraid to add your individual touch based on your unique relationship with the employee and the context of your team and organization. As far as delivering your message, there are many ways to go about it. Let the tips below guide you.

Do it during an all-hands meeting

Do you hold regular all-hands meetings? Use them as an opportunity to recognize work anniversaries and you’ll have a simple system to celebrate every milestone. Have all attendees cheer and celebrate each milestone and watch your team members beam with pride. Public recognition is powerful because it makes people feel valued for their contributions. 

Integrate work anniversaries into your onboarding process

You can also integrate work anniversaries into your onboarding process by asking employees about their preferences. For instance, when new employees join Escamilla’s organization, they are offered a choice between a gift card or company swag for their anniversary. This step in the process kicks things off on a positive note and lets people choose how they would prefer to be acknowledged. 

PTO and a personal note are always appreciated

If you’re looking for universally appreciated gift ideas, PTO is always well-received. First, it sends the message that hard work should be balanced out by a fulfilling personal life. Treating people like human beings with other priorities outside of work is a pillar of a healthy culture. There’s also the fact that it’s hard to miss the mark when offering extra time off – almost all workers would be enthusiastic about this perk. Just make sure to accompany the gesture with a thoughtful message. 

Allocate a budget for personalized surprises

Personalized gifts are always better than generic corporate ones. Allocate a budget for work anniversary celebrations so you can come up with interesting ideas year-round as milestones come up. Get to know each team member and their interests so that you can pick something that genuinely fits their taste and personality – they’ll be touched and truly feel that they are part of a caring team. An Employee recognition platform like Applauz has an integrated service awards management program that simplifies the process of recognizing milestones and ensures that employees get meaningful gifts and the recognition they deserve.

Gifts aren’t the only option. Depending on your budget, a lunch outing can be a nice way to celebrate too. If you’re on a tight budget, you can still do something small yet impactful, like leaving their favorite Starbucks drink with a note on their desk. 

Go the extra mile for the big milestones

That said, if someone has been with the company for a decade or more, it’s important to allocate resources to mark the occasion in a significant way. Getting upper management involved is a nice touch. For example, a senior leader can present the guests of honor with a gift and thank them for their contributions over the years.

Make it fun

Don’t forget to have fun. It’s a key piece of the puzzle when delivering a work anniversary message, after all. This is a happy occasion, especially in a time when employee retention is harder to achieve. Now that you have a wealth of insights to help craft the perfect note, it’s time to celebrate. 

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