Work Anniversaries

22 Ideas For A 40 Year Work Anniversary Gift

August 11, 2022
min read

Your employee is celebrating forty years of service. It’s absolutely a milestone that should be celebrated with purpose, and we’ve got some great ideas for a 40 year work anniversary gift.

But why is making an event of this occasion so important?

Employee retention is at an all-time low. Whereas previous generations saw employees dedicated to one job for decades, today’s workers readily switch jobs for better pay and promotion prospects. In fact, the average tenure for workers between the ages of 25 - 34 is only 2.8 years.

As such, dedicated employees who have positively impacted your company are truly something to be celebrated. They need to know how much you value and appreciate them.

Tips For Choosing The Right Work Anniversary Gift

Before we get into the list of gift ideas, here are a few pointers to consider when deciding how to show your gratitude for your employee’s service.

Make It Personal

If you want to make your employee feel appreciated, choose a gift that aligns with their personality and individual traits.

This is a gift that must feel special and unique to the person you are rewarding.

Involve Colleagues

During a 40-year tenure at a single organization, an employee is sure to have connected with countless others in the workplace. So, try to involve everyone in the planning and celebrations. The celebrated employee should hear from more than one person on their 40 year work anniversary.

Budget For Work Anniversaries

Plan within the means of your company finances. A meaningful gift or gesture will be remembered and appreciated, even if it’s not overly expensive.

Take the stress out of spending on a gift by making work anniversaries a budgeted business expense.

Combine Multiple Small Gifts and Gestures 

Again, no need for extravagance. If you feel one gesture is insufficient or want to make more of an effort, put together several small gifts or ideas.

22 Fantastic Ideas For A 40 Year Work Anniversary Gift

1. Letter of Appreciation

Write a letter of appreciation acknowledging the employee’s skills and why the person is valued. Focus on their contribution and successes over the years.

Highlight significant achievements, industry awards, or accreditations. Mention how they have benefited the company and the team.

Keep in mind that if the exact phrase applies to multiple members of your team, it’s not unique enough to be meaningful to the recipient.

2. Share A Work Story In The Company Newsletter

Share the employee’s story in a company newsletter that goes out to customers and/or colleagues.

Gather some interesting information about the person’s time at the company and how they’ve grown. Speak to other employees with whom they regularly work and share positive comments or relative anecdotes.

Contributions from coworkers and employees will make it more meaningful.

3. Plant a Tree

If you have an office space with open outdoor spaces, plant a tree in honor of the celebrated employee. It will serve as a permanent reminder of their hard work and dedication in growing the company to where it is today.

4. Plaques and Keepsakes

Some employees enjoy a tangible and traditional symbol of their years in service. There are choices for every taste, in a plaque or trophy, including wooden engraved plaques, photo plaques, or even glass awards. 

If a plaque isn’t quite what you had in mind, what about a keepsake timeline map? These unique typography prints are a wonderful 40 year work anniversary gift that showcase the years, days, and hours the employee has dedicated to your organization.

5. Branded Merchandise

Not only is custom company paraphernalia a fantastic reward, but it also promotes your brand. Take it up a notch by embroidering or printing the person’s name on the item too.

There are countless gift ideas, but here are a few options if you need some inspiration:

  • Jackets or vests
  • Sweatshirt or hoodies
  • Shirts or T-shirts
  • Hats, beanies, and caps
  • Coffee mugs
  • Stationery

6. Gift Card

Gift cards can be a real treat but make sure you have paid attention to your employee’s interests and know their favorite places to shop. For a 40 year work anniversary gift, you want to make it unique and show that your appreciation is sincere.

If you want to ensure your employee spends money on something they’ll actually enjoy, give them a preloaded virtual Visa card. They’ll be able to spend the money on a vendor of their choice and can treat themselves to something they want but won’t spend their own money on. 

7. Support a Hobby

Does your employee have a passion outside of work? Are they involved in sports or hobbies? Gift them an experience by paying for a class or piece of equipment that they need to pursue their favorite pastime.

8. Donate to a Charity on Their Behalf

Many people are driven to give back to or support causes that resonate with them. So, donating to a charity they care about is a good option for any work anniversary.

9. Photo Book of Work History

You could also write a story of your employee’s journey at your company. Collect pictures and stories from co-workers. Include corporate events, funny moments at work, office parties, and accomplishments. In a 40-year tenure, there should be more than enough material for a meaningful compilation.

10. Commemorative Video and Photos

This option is a little time-consuming, but since most of us have smartphones with fantastic video capabilities, videos are relatively simple to put together.

Video ideas could include messages from management, teammates, and even clients. Combine photos from the early years with meaningful quotes, messages, and more recent video clips.

Send it to the employee on the day of their anniversary to show your appreciation for their loyalty and hard work.

In similar fashion, a slide show of the person’s history at the company is a perfect way to personalize a message of appreciation.

11. Self Care Package

How about a day at the spa or a yoga retreat as a 40 year work anniversary gift?

Modern companies acknowledge the importance of self-care, but how many encourage their employees to take time off to indulge? This may be the perfect opportunity for your company to stand out.

Related: 17 Thoughtful Work Anniversary Gifts For All Employee Milestones

12. Host a Party

Long tenures deserve a party, and who would refuse one in their honor?

Think of a themed party relevant to the person's hobbies or even their favorite movie. Have a cake custom-made in recognition of the 40 years of dedicated service. Colleagues can write and share speeches. This would also be an excellent time to show a slideshow or video.

13. A Nice Watch

An engraved watch or piece of fine jewelry is a special anniversary gift that will be valued for a lifetime. It’s a traditional type of gift but will be a long-lasting reminder of the person’s years at the organization.

14. Group Outing

First, consider what the guest of honor would enjoy doing most and get the whole team out for the day. It could be a fishing expedition, for example, or maybe a wine tasting event.

Not only will it feel more personal than the average anniversary celebration, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for team bonding.

15. A New Computer

Technology evolves rapidly, and it’s possible that a long standing employee could use a computer upgrade.

Outdated technology decreases productivity and can create a lot of frustration. Computers are crucial in today’s work environment, and you can show your appreciation for a long-standing employee by helping them stay efficient.

16. Home Office Makeover

Even before the pandemic, remote working was becoming increasingly popular.

If your employee spends a good deal of time working from home, rewarding them with a trendy office upgrade might be the perfect 40-year work anniversary gift idea.

Make their work-from-home experience more exciting and efficient by giving them a budget to transform their home office space.

17. Tick Off a Bucket List Item

Is there an activity that your employee has wanted to do but has not found the time or funds?

Most people have something on their wishlist that they are longing to try. Perhaps a skydive or an intro to scuba diving? 

Make it an unforgettable experience, and they will remember that you cared enough to make it happen.

18. Monetary Bonus  

Who doesn’t love some extra money? A one-time monetary bonus will help employees indulge in something they have been saving up for. 

Perhaps it will help them afford a long-awaited trip or pay off that mortgage as retirement approaches.

19. Promotion and Raise

Engaged employees do not want to stay stagnant.Your employee has surely made their way up the corporate ladder in their 40 years of service but is there room to climb more?

This might be the perfect time to review the employee’s role and give them a promotion and raise.

20. Stock Options

What better 40 year work anniversary gift is there than allowing employees to own a part of the company they have dedicated the best part of their lives to?

The benefit of stock options generally presents itself in the future, so combining them with a physical gift like a plaque is a good idea.

Remember, these types of incentives motivate other staff to stay connected and grow within your organization, too!

21. Overseas Trip

Believe it or not, some corporations reward dedicated employees extravagantly. And while we are not suggesting this be an option all companies consider, if it fits in your company budget, why not pay for a wonderful trip to another country?

Your employee will be able to take some time off and enjoy new experiences.

22. Tenure-Based Reward System

Perhaps your company has already implemented a tenure-based reward system, but if not, maybe it’s time to do so. Give employees the choice of a couple of options as they climb the tenure ladder.

A luxury boat cruise or European adventure for 40 years of service could encourage more workers to stay with your organization.

Allow your people to choose what gets them most excited. A great idea here is a preloaded card they can use for whatever they want. As the employee tenure progresses, the number and value of perks increase.

Is your company already part of a peer recognition program? In that case, a fantastic idea for a 40 year work anniversary gift is to transfer a large sum of points to your employee or offer a large variety of programs that benefit them long term.

In Conclusion

People love to be celebrated and acknowledged for the contributions they make to their company. One of the best ways to thank your people is to have a genuine interest in them and their development at your company.

Taking time to plan and personalize a meaningful 40 year work anniversary gift will show your appreciation of their hard work.

Recognizing and celebrating employee service boosts employee morale, creating a motivated workforce who are inspired to stick with your organization long term.

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