Are work anniversaries important?
There’s a trending story about a Burger King employee receiving an extremely modest goodie bag containing candy as a reward for 27 years of never calling in sick, and there has been much ado about it on Twitter, Reddit, and other social platforms. There’s even been a GoFundMe for the worker, who showed up every day through the COVID-19 crisis to ensure everything continued to run smoothly for his employer. The bigger questions of “how should loyalty be rewarded” are being discussed, which allows people to consider how should 27 years of employee dedication be rewarded, and should it be noted at all?
Major anniversaries are traditionally 10, 20, 25, and 30 years but sometimes recognizing 1, 2, or 5 year anniversaries let a new employee know that they are appreciated and that their contribution is valued. professional sites like LinkedIn note your work anniversary every year, and allows your colleagues to congratulate you for your milestones, so that your day is is recognized even if you work in an environment when you do not get personalized greetings on your professional anniversaries.
Generational differences, pay scale, and job duties can also drive what is expected and appropriate for work milestones. For some people, recognition of time elapsed isn’t as important as things like regular raises, health benefits, bonuses, vacation time (and the ability to take that vacation time).
So–did the company that runs that particular Burger King “get it wrong,” if the gift actually came from them and not his coworkers? While it was an anniversary, 27 years isn’t considered a “milestone” anniversary, like 25 or 30 years. He’s clearly a loyal, hard-working employee and an asset to his organization, but is 27 years a “milestone” anniversary deserving of special attention, and is it something that should be discussed upfront when someone is hired?