I always wonder why HR sucks so much at recognizing an employee’s years of service.

I know we are moving to a gig economy. Everyone is moving to a shorter workweek and we never see one another, anymore. We are all supposed to own our own brands and know that no job is forever.

But much of that is garbage.

People still work in boring, normal jobs for more than nine months. Very few people wear Google Glass and use iPhones and tablets in their ordinary lives. And even though it seems boring and basic, I think it is important to take a moment and thank the people who make your company profitable for their hard work.

I like the yearly anniversary party. It’s like a birthday. You should recognize service dates. It’s so easy to do, but HR struggles to do it.

Moreover, it’s not just the job of your local HR business partner to thank an employee for her hard work. Everyone should do it. If you celebrate service anniversary moments, someone will celebrate yours. And maybe you’ll remember why you like your colleagues, and work won’t suck as much.

So when I saw this video from Globoforce about their product called Service Timelines, I had to share it. It’s so happy and amazing.

According to my pals at Globoforce, this is a real employee. The video captures her first exposure to colleagues who are saying “thanks” for her years of service.

You can use a product to recognize service anniversaries, or you can use your mouths. I don’t care. But one thing is clear: people are happier when their work is recognized and appreciated.

Give your HR department a win. This type of program is easy for you to implement.

PS — I am a paid advisor to Globoforce, but this is good stuff. It’s your loss if you don’t click through, btw.

PS 2 — Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.



  1. I guess I’m too jaded and cynical now. My last Fortune 500 employer was great about birthdays and service anniversaries, but the most memorable web video was the one when my boss laid me off via web cam. My awesome HR partner was there by my side though. He was laid off the next week and perp walked out of the building.

  2. What amazes me is how difficult some companies make it to FIND anniversary dates. A new upgrade to our systems is making it more front and center, but too often we wait until someone leaves before we recognize their years of service.

    Hell, even one of the most toxic cultures I ever worked at gave away very nice clocks at your 5 year…

  3. Recognition for work anniversaries is OK, but has never felt much different from the automated email my bank sends on my birthday. Even when it’s genuine, I would much rather receive timely recognition for specific, impactful contributions I’ve made, than acknowledgement for “sticking it out” for X years. I think that recognition is either a part of an organization’s culture…or it isn’t. I’m skeptical that checking the box on recognizing service anniversaries could change or influence that.

  4. Love this -thank you so much for sharing. I am HR Director at my company and this has been on my mind for awhile now – thinking we need to do a better job of recognizing tenure. Great ideas!!!

  5. My company is closing in a few weeks. We had one employee who is leaving with over 23 years of service (and he’s in his early 40’s, so his career has been here so far.)

    The client he works with threw him a party – they had a cake, the big shots were there and thanked him for all he’d done over the years, they made certain he was recognized for his work. Our company? Gave him a restaurant gift card after they’d heard what the client did for him.

    In my local Global You’d Recognize The Name coffee chain location, one of the baristas/managers has been there ten years. He asked me “guess what they did?” And naturally my cynical self said “butkis?”

    Yes, that’s actually what this large, Globally Recognized, sending their people to online college because We Care, company did. Ten years and zero recognition for an awesome guy who knows his regulars and keeps the lines moving, even on a busy Monday morning.

    This is why I want to get into HR. Do it right y’all, seriously. Don’t wait for someone else to do it, and don’t do the minimum just because you feel like you have to.

  6. At the end of the day, it’s the little things people remember, and if a company doesn’t remember them for dedicating 40+ hours of their life a week to it, people will remember that, trust me.

    I was with a Fortune 100 company for several years, and the biggest event(s) each month was whoever was having an anniversary. We all knew we would be up shit creek if that person didn’t come to work each day all those years and keep the wheels greased. And if they quit? God, it was like a funeral.

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