3 Gift Ideas For Work Milestones

It is important that all businesses, whatever their size or industry, recognise and reward staff. This shows your employees that they are respected and means that you get the best from them. A defined recognition and reward programme is not the reserve of big business, nor does it need to include complex commission, bonus or other financial strategies.

Marking work milestones helps foster loyalty, contribution and connection. This means that your employees can work with autonomy, with good communication and your trust. Helping people to thrive like this means giving people the freedom to act. As management, the job is simply to look, listen, understand and act to allow their best work to be created.

Anniversary and retirement milestone

Whether it’s your first or your fifteenth anniversary with the company, mark the date. First-year employees can get a gift card of their choice, with the value of gifts increasing as the years go by, tailored to the individual to reward their dedication to the organisation. A tenth anniversary could be additional time off plus a cash bonus to use as they wish.


Retirement is a hugely significant milestone, marking the end of a career or working life and deserving of a thoughtful gift that affirms the goodwill the company wishes for the individual’s future as well as gratitude for their work and loyalty. A retirement gift for coworker should be something that has value and honours the work they have done. It could be something that creates a link to what they have planned for their retirement or an ornament for their home that they have as a mark of the high regard in which they were held at work.

Champion’s Dinner

Reaching target through the number of sales, value of sales, new customer contacts or other factors should be celebrated. A good annual bonus can cost a lot financially and have a limited return, with IBM reporting that the positive impacts of this last for less than four weeks, meaning that what works better are smaller, more targeted rewards for the individual that shows you have put some thought into the reward.

Target your gifts depending on the milestone achieved. This can begin with verbal recognition for closing on a deal going up to a month’s sabbatical for employees who have worked for your company for a specific number of years or bought in 100 new clients on the books.

For those who have smashed targets, a fun and entertaining dinner with fellow champions and members of the Executive Team is something that not only rewards but gives the opportunity for networking and further improving.

If there is a company achievement, such as winning recognition in the form of an industry award, a contract that will secure your future for a while or lead to expansion, an impromptu champagne reception where employees can share their thoughts on the achievement, funny or emotional, strengthens team spirit by recognising and celebrating the positive contributions of all employees.

Softer milestones

Induction award

You could have a fun ceremony for those who have completed 90 days in the company in which they are awarded a company badge, lab coat or other company-focused gifts. Add them to your Hall of “ologists” based on your brand name or product type, for example, filmologists if you are in the photography, video or cinema business and toast their successful induction with fizz.

Soft skills award

Have a quarterly trophy awarded to employees who display the traits you admire most in your business, such as focus, optimism and results. This is then displayed on the des of the current award winner to celebrate the individual’s important contributions to the business. Your trophy should be of a design that they want on their desk for a while, but that also stands out. It should also be of quality materials, holding some value.

Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.

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