Updated: August 27, 2022

32 Years of Service Award Ideas for Celebrating Milestones

Here is our list of the best years of service award ideas.

Years of service awards are activities or items that recognize and celebrate employees who have worked in an organization for a significant amount of time. Examples include paid day-offs, paid travel, gift boxes, and scholarships. The purpose of these activities is to appreciate employees for their contribution to the company, motivate other employees, and help retain key talent. Years of service awards are also known as milestone awards, service anniversaries, and service milestones.

These awards are examples of employee milestones, employee engagement campaigns, work anniversary gifts for employees, and staff gifts.

This list includes:

  • 5 years of service awards
  • 10 years of service awards
  • 25 years of service awards
  • 30+ years of service awards

Let’s get to it!

5 years of service awards

1. A gift box

A gift box is an excellent 5 years of service award idea. You can set up the gift box based on the worker’s hobbies and interests. You can also let workers choose their preferred gift items.

Here are some gift box award ideas:

  • A gym membership
  • Travel essentials- travel pillows, suitcase, travel mugs, coolers
  • Gardening tools or plants like succulents
  • Company branded apparel- jackets, backpacks, shirts, and mugs
  • Books
  • An art piece- For instance, you can commission a formal or funny portrait of an employee

You can combine the gift box with a letter, card, or certificate of appreciation. This gesture will make the gifts more intimate and personal.

2. Framed photo

If you have fun photos of your employees, then you can frame and present the photo as a gift. Framed employee photos go well with a thank you note for employees’ 5 years of service. You can also have a spot in the office where you hang photos of every employee who surpasses the five-year mark.

3. Five-paid days off

Rewarding employees with a five-day off package is a great way to celebrate their five years of service. You can structure the benefits package so that staff who hit this milestone automatically earn an additional workweek of paid time off. You can combine the day off with a spa coupon or a shopping voucher so that employees have a treat to enjoy in their free time.

Check out more employee benefits and perks.

4. Dinner voucher

A dinner voucher is a great way to celebrate workers for five years of service. You can give workers a dinner or lunch coupon to a fancy restaurant. If feeling generous, then you can also treat the worker’s immediate family members, a few friends, or colleagues. If time allows and the employee is willing, then you could even organize a dinner for coworkers and family and attend the meal together.

5. A cash gift

Cash gifts are among the most favorite years of service award ideas for workers. You can offer cash gifts if you are unsure what a worker wants as an award. You can base cash gifts on an employee’s contribution to the company’s growth within the five years.

6. Paid travel

If you want to celebrate a worker who likes to travel, then paid travel is among the most thoughtful award ideas. You can ask the worker to mention a favorite destination or give a few options of paid destinations.

Here are some paid travel ideas

  • A weekend getaway
  • An overnight stay at a luxurious resort
  • A one-week holiday with family
  • A first-class flight voucher for the next year

Combining a paid travel trip with paid days off is one of the best ways to motivate workers and provide a sense of belonging in a company.

Here is a list of travel incentive program ideas.

7. Gift cards or vouchers

Gift cards and vouchers are cards that you can load with monetary value. Gift cards are preferred over surprise gifts since they give employees the flexibility to choose rewards. Workers can pick a specific item instead of inappropriate gifts or those that they will not appreciate. Plus, you can send e-gift cards to employees’ emails.

10 years of service awards

8. Season tickets

Season tickets are a great way to commemorate 10 years of service for sports or arts fanatics. You can issue entire season tickets to concerts or sporting events. To make the events more enjoyable, issue tickets for the employee and a plus one. You can also try to accommodate employees’ family members like children or spouses.

9. A paid subscription

A paid subscription based on an employee’s interests will show workers that you value your workforce beyond work. You can offer various subscription options for employees to choose.

Examples of gift subscription ideas:

  • Groceries
  • Fitness subscription- gym, swimming, hiking
  • Books- audiobooks or physical books
  • Meal deliveries- A takeout meal delivery every Friday for the entire family
  • Pet supplies
  • Car wash subscription
  • Learning platforms such as Udemy or Skillshare

While a paid subscription is an excellent 10 years of service award, it is advisable to purchase specific subscriptions that an employee wants or needs. As such, paid subscriptions may not work well as a surprise.

10. A raise

Raises are permanent years of service awards. While raises will motivate the employees to work even harder during the coming years, you should base raises on merit rather than tenure. For instance, a worker who puts in more effort cannot get a similar raise as one who does not. However, you can give every worker who surpasses the 10 years mark a bump in pay.

11. Bonuses

Bonuses are a great way to express gratitude for the exemplary 10 years of service to an organization. Since cash may seem like a simple gift for some employees, you can give a bonus alongside other appreciation ideas such as a thank you note or a trophy. Be sure to offer a substantial and memorable bonus amount. For instance, you can offer 20% to 40% of a workers’ salary as an added bonus to show appreciation for 10 years of service.

12. A feature in the company newsletter

A feature in the company newsletter will make employees feel appreciated for their decade of service. You can issue a one-page feature rather than a simple picture and a thank you note in the company newsletter. In the segment, an employee will share their journey throughout the years, give career advice to the younger workers or talk about their interests outside of work.

Here are get to know you questions to generate content for this profile.

13. Stock options

Letting your workers buy company stocks at lower prices is a great appreciation for 10 years of service. With this gift, employees will feel a sense of ownership in the organization. Stock options are a strategy that you can use to retain workers and gain employee loyalty.

14. A personal note of appreciation from company leadership

A personal note of appreciation from senior company leadership will make employees feel recognized for their work. You can plan for other gifts that will accompany the personal message. For instance, you can hold a dinner party where the CEO and other senior leaders will present a note of thanks.

15. Promotions

Promoting deserving employees at the 10-year mark will make them feel seen for their work. You do not have to wait for the 10 years to lapse to promote an employee. However, a 10th-year anniversary promotion will make workers feel appreciated. Promotions are also a clever way to motivate other junior workers to provide exemplary services at work. Even if the promotion does not involve a new role or different responsibilities, you can grant ten-year employees senior status that comes with perks like a special title, membership to a group of other tenured employees, and opportunities like special projects.

16. Development and training opportunities

Most employees seek career growth, financial and job security in an organization. One of the most significant ways that companies can reward employees is the provision of free development and training opportunities.

Examples of development and training opportunities:

  • Pay for a certification course
  • Give employees the freedom to access industry-specific seminars
  • Industry-related training

Employee development and training opportunities are a win for both employees and the company. Companies will benefit from the skills gained as workers get better at a craft. In addition, providing workers with opportunities to upskill in careers shows that you care about the employee’s growth.

Check out this list of employee training and development books.

25 years of service awards

17. Support employee’s charity

Supporting workers’ favorite philanthropy is a great gift to celebrate 25 years of service. You can research the workers’ favorite charity and surprise them with a donation in their honor.

You can also share non-monetary gifts such as volunteering with other workers to the honoree’s choice charity organization. For instance, if the workers support a conservation organization, then plan a day when the entire company plants trees in a nearby area.

18. A paid family holiday

A paid family holiday is a great way to honor workers for their 25 years of service. You can let workers select their preferred holiday destination and cater for expenses for the entire family or group of friends. Let employees choose between a local resort or an international destination. For 25 years of service, an international paid family trip will make workers feel more appreciated and motivate junior workers.

19. Extravagant gifts

Extravagant gifts are one of the best ways to recognize employees for 25 years of service. Your workers will feel noticed and appreciated. Lavish gifts are ideal for companies not working with a tight budget.

  • Food items- Expensive whiskey or wine, luxury chocolates, or meal hampers
  • Home items- Fridges, washing machines, or dishwashers
  • Technology- A new phone, laptop, iPad, or high-tech watch
  • Music instruments – Keyboard or a guitar. Music instruments are perfect gifts for employees who play or are learning how to play musical instruments
  • Luxurious golf accessories- best for an avid golfer
  • Wardrobe revamp- Apparel upgrades are an excellent idea for workspaces with formal dress codes
  • Aesthetic desk clock

Given the high cost of extravagant gifts, ensure to personalize the gifts as much as possible. Gifting golf accessories to a non-avid golfer will not serve the purpose. As such, let your employees choose the preferred presents.

For more inspiration, check out this list of luxury gift items.

20. A scholarship

If you have workers who want to go back to school, then a full-paid scholarship is a great way to reward these employees for their half-century service to the company. Workers may opt for a second degree, master’s, or doctorate scholarship. Helping older workers advance their careers is also a win for the organization.

21. Work anniversary party

Surprising your workers with a work anniversary party to commemorate 25 years of service is such a great idea! You can decorate the office with anniversary-themed décor or host a party in an outdoor space. Ensure to invite senior management and make the work anniversary party a festive event that everyone in the company will enjoy.

Here is how to throw a remote workiversary party and a list of ideas for work anniversaries in the office.

22. Social media post

Dedicating a social media post to an employee is a great way to celebrate 25 years of service. You can share a shout-out on social platforms where your company has a presence. Popular social media platforms include Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also share a post on other platforms such as LinkedIn.

What to share:

  • A picture of the employee with the CEO or junior workers
  • A photo of the employee receiving a 25-year anniversary present from the CEO
  • A video of the worker having fun at work
  • A video of the worker speaking at a conference
  • A personalized and unique message from the employee to the public
  • Things that the worker has learned over the 25 years of service at the company
  • Advice for the younger workers

Examples of social media posts:

  • Thank you xxx for your 25 years with us. We value you and appreciate your service to the company. Help us wish xx a happy 25th work anniversary!
  • Dear xx, congratulations on your 25th anniversary with us! We are grateful for your efforts throughout the years.
  • We are beyond lucky to have xx for the past 25 years! Over time, you have shown us nothing but professionalism, ethics, and a positive work attitude. We wish you a fun work anniversary.
  • A toast to more years of collaboration with xx. Join us as we celebrate xx for helping us serve our clients for 25 years!

Encourage colleagues and clients to add positive comments and wish the worker a happy anniversary.

Here are ideas for messages for work anniversaries.

23. Office upgrade

Employees value their space at work. A paid office upgrade is a great way to appreciate workers who have worked to the top. You can surprise workers with an office upgrade or let employees work with an interior office designer for a set budget.

Office upgrade ideas:

  • Get a new office plant
  • Revamp the office furniture
  • Get a new computer
  • Switch up the office lighting

You can give workers the freedom to revamp their offices. However, ensure that any changes are in line with company policies. For instance, give workers guidance on choosing wall paint that compliments the organization’s theme.

24. Trophies

Trophies are durable and tangible reminders of specific achievements. Giving trophies to workers for their 25 years of service to an organization will make employees feel seen and appreciated. Allow flexibility for workers to either display the trophy on their desks or in their homes.

To make employees feel more valued and appreciated, personalize the trophies as much as possible. It is best practice to include the employee’s name, job title, significant achievements, and the number of years served in the company.

30+ years of service awards

25. Milestone scrapbook

A milestone scrapbook is a great way to take your workers back in time. If you have fun memories of workers from the time they joined the company to recent times, then make a scrapbook and gift them with other events. For instance, a milestone scrapbook is an excellent idea for more prominent anniversaries and retirements. You can have new workers sign the scrapbook and write thoughtful memories.

26. Check off workers’ bucket list

Helping workers check off their bucket lists is a clever way to celebrate 30+ years of service. For a bucket list check-off,  you will involve the employee and ask them to list activities they want to do or places they want to visit. You can create a budget to maximize the employees’ experiences in the chosen activities.

Here are some bucket list ideas for employees

  • Skydiving
  • Learn Spanish
  • Water rafting
  • Learn golf
  • Go scuba diving
  • Paragliding
  • Fly in a hot-air balloon
  • Record a song

Helping workers check off bucket lists is one of the best years of service awards for seniors. However, enforce safety measures even as workers have fun. For instance, workers should get clearance from doctors to engage in activities that may be risky.

27. Create a commemorative video of the workers

Videos are simple yet remarkable ways to commemorate workers for their 30+ work service. You can use work scrapbooks from the time the worker joined the company to recent times.

Simply create a video that entails their achievements and shows employees how far they have come since joining the organization. You can play this video at their retirement party, anniversary party or post it on social platforms. Be sure to include thoughtful messages for the employees from other colleagues.

28. Long vacations

You may opt to give junior employees a few days’ trip for their work anniversaries. You can make this gift more memorable for workers who have served for 30+ years by giving them a long vacation to their destination of choice. While a longer holiday that extends a week is not often practical, consider a two to three-week vacation.

29. VIP parking spots

If you offer VIP parking spots for senior management, then consider offering VIP parking for workers who have served for 30+ years. It may seem like a small gesture, but workers love the implied status of being special. The privilege could be a spot that is easier to park, a space with sunroof protection, or parking  close to the office entrance.

30. Access to a mentoring program

Mentoring programs will give employees who have served the company for 30+ years an opportunity to educate and mentor junior workers. Mentorship programs will provide workers with a sense of accomplishment as they guide mentees throughout their careers.

You can look for mentorship programs that workers can partake in within the community. You can also create a mentorship program in your company where people who have served for 30+ years get to mentor younger workers.

31. Sabbatical leave

A sabbatical is an extended break from work. Offering a sabbatical leave is a great way to honor tenured employees. Depending on your human resource needs, a four- to five-week sabbatical is a great way to offer an extended leave and rejuvenate workers. You can expect increased wellbeing, productivity, and even more professional knowledge from workers who go for a sabbatical.

32. Retirement bonus contribution

Employees who are celebrating 30+ years of service may be actively planning for retirement. Contributing a retirement bonus will boost financial wellbeing and reduce the pressure that workers may have regarding retirement funds. Once employees retire, the gesture will remain significant even in their senior years.


Employee recognition is more than a pat on the back for a job well done. Years of service awards should be meaningful, fun, and memorable. Rewards should relate to employee efforts, successes, and company values. To captivate your employees, ensure that the years of service awards honor workers’ contributions and build an emotional connection between employees and the organization. When well done, years of service awards give workers a sense of belonging in an organization and boost morale.

Next, check out these lists of virtual work anniversary ideas, virtual retirement party celebrations and employee care package ideas.

We also have a list of pros and cons of four day workweeks.

FAQ: Years of service award ideas

Here are answers to questions about years of service award ideas

What are years of service awards?

Years of service awards are activities or items that recognize and celebrate employees who have worked in an organization for a significant amount of time.

What are some good years of service award ideas?

Some good years of service award ideas include long vacations, milestone scrapbooks, office upgrades, and a feature in the company newsletter.

Why should you celebrate milestone years of service at work

One of the best ways to improve employees’ productivity and motivation is employee recognition. By celebrating milestone years of service at work, employees feel valued and appreciated for their work.

Here are reasons why you should celebrate milestone years of service at work:

  • Improve employee retention rate
  • Motivate employees to deliver productive results
  • Foster a feeling of belonging for employees in an organization
  • Promote better relationships between employees and employers
  • Recognize and appreciate employees for loyalty to your organization
  • Attract and retain new talent
  • Help employees form relationships and bond
  • Showcase your employer brand
  • Strengthen the organization’s culture

Investing in employee satisfaction is a long-term benefit for an organization. To keep the years of service awards interesting, ensure that the honors become more personalized and prestigious as your employees celebrate larger achievements.

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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