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20th Work Anniversary Celebration Ideas

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Two decades is a lengthy tenure for an employee. A 20th anniversary work celebration should acknowledge the employee's dedication and loyalty but still be a comfortable and enjoyable event for everyone involved. Plan an event that is consistent with your company culture and top it off with a gift that recognizes the employee's value to the organization.

Keep it Personal

Personal acknowledgment is an important part of any celebration. An employee's work anniversary should recognize his contributions to the company and his value as an associate. Consider a simple card signed by colleagues and a gift that addresses the length of tenure, such as an engraved timepiece that recognizes 20 years with the organization. The gift should reflect the interests of the employee and also be a keepsake he will actually enjoy.

Make it Employee-Led

A work anniversary celebration is most successful when employees decide the activity. An in-house celebration committee of volunteers can decide on the type of event and manage its budget. The committee can handle celebrations for work anniversaries, birthdays and employee outings. It can decide if the work anniversary for the 20-year employee should be low-key, with a simple cake and gift presentation in the office; a formal lunch at a local restaurant; or an after-hours reception.

Emphasize the Company Culture

How you choose to acknowledge a 20th work anniversary will depend on the size of the company and its culture. For a large company with a button-down culture, the celebration might include a presentation by senior employees and speeches that go over some of the employee's achievements and contributions from the last 20 years. A small company with a more casual culture might opt for a simple get-together after work, a company picnic or an outing to a ball game.

Inform the Celebrant

Employees who have spent 20 years at one workplace might anticipate some acknowledgment of their work anniversary, so have a colleague on the celebrations committee or a manager present the employee with options for activities, once a budget has already been determined and certain activities approved. To maintain some element of surprise, keep the employee's gift secret and plan something unexpected for the party, such as sharing old work photos of the employee he might not have known about.


Catherine Lovering has written about business, tax, careers and pets since 2006. Lovering holds a B.A. (political science), LL.B. (law) and LL.L. (civil law).

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