Nicolas Gremion

Recognizing Milestones: 8 Solid Options for Honoring Employees

How do you celebrate big employee milestones at your company, like 5 or 10 years?

1. Take Them Out to a Nice Meal

I insist on taking team members who achieve a large milestone out for a nice meal. If it’s a larger milestone, we splurge and get them a gift. It doesn’t have to be a paperweight: We prefer finding something that matches their personality. It could be a prepaid day spa, or tickets to a game. It’s an event they will always remember, and in turn, think of us by. – Abhilash


2. Collect Personal Thoughts From the Team, Then Share

When employees hit big milestones, we ask all of our employees to write down one or two things that they really appreciate about that person. We then compile the recognition and give it to the employee, along with a present tailored to them. Often the words mean even more than the gift. – Lisa CurtisKuli Kuli Inc.

3. Hold Satellite Parties for Remote Workers

With many remote employees, getting together is hard, even for important milestones. As such we’ve had “Satellite Parties,” where everyone will be given, say a 0 bonus, to celebrate. Catch is, everyone needs to send pics of their party. We then vote on the best celebration and award the winner a little something extra. It’s a good way for everyone to have a bit of fun, regardless of location. – Nicolas Gremion,

4. Give Employees a Sabbatical

At five years, and at five-year intervals, we encourage employees to go on a paid, two-week sabbatical. We do insist if they are going to take the time, that they take it all at the same time, so it doesn’t become a series of vacations. We want employees to totally unplug and “get away from it all” to refresh personally and professionally. – Dan GoldenBFO (Be Found Online)

5. Send Them on a Cruise

A cruise trip is fairly inexpensive and highly valued by employees. They have great “wow” value while not costing a tremendous amount. We offer our customers a free cruise trip with a significant other for employees who make the five-year mark. We have offered the option twice and our whole team has found it an impressive gesture. It keeps people motivated to stay with us and see the world. – Diego OrjuelaCables & Sensors

6. Honor Them With an Award

As a small business engaged in business-to-business sales, doing a million dollars in sales volume is a significant achievement. We established the Million-Dollar Sales Club, which is marked with a nice glass award, etched with the account manager’s name, achievement and date. The award is given at our weekly huddle, an all-hands meeting where we share good news and celebrate achievements. – David

7. Put Together a Retrospective

Employees will obviously appreciate a bonus for hard work, but nothing is better at making them feel like their time was well spent than a touching retrospective. Something as simple as a photo album or slideshow highlighting some of their past accomplishments will help your employee feel justified in dedicating so much time and effort into your organization. Just try and keep your eyes dry! – Bryce WelkerBeat The CPA

8. Tailor It to the Employee

At EVENTup, we celebrate big milestones in different ways. In the past, we have set up a peanut butter and jelly station with every type of PB&J you can imagine, because the specific employee ate a PB&J every day at work. We’ve also brought in an Elvis impersonator to serenade an employee that was a huge fan of Elvis. Tailoring things to the individual person shows them that they are valued. – Jayna CookeEVENTup



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