How To Celebrate Church Staff Employee Milestones

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It’s an irrefutable fact that making your employees feel celebrated and appreciated goes a long way toward staff member retention, effectiveness, happiness, and productivity. Recognizing the hard work of your church staff members is a big component of great staff culture. If your team members feel their work is appreciated, they’re likely to keep working harder and better. On the flipside, if they don’t feel that their work is ever recognized, they’ll probably move on to another workplace.

No time is more important to celebrate your church staffs hard work than individual milestones – when you’ve had a team member who has been serving 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, or 20+ years, etc. These milestones should be treated as big deals, and it’s up to you as the church leaders to make sure your church staff is recognized and rewarded for their hard work.

Here are several ideas to help you put a plan in place for celebrating your church staff members’ work milestones. 

Every Year

Our team here at Vanderbloemen calls our work anniversaries “workiversaries.” Keep track (or appoint a staff member to keep track) of when each of your team members began working on your church staff. Send out a team-wide email on each staff member’s workiversary and tell them how much you appreciate their work. If you’re their direct supervisor, a thoughtful text or card can also go a long way in making them feel appreciated.

5 Years Of Service

For 5 years of service on your church staff, you should publically recognize the individual in an all-staff meeting. Then, make sure your budget is set up in a way that allows that individual’s specific team to celebrate together – perhaps with a team-specific lunch outing honoring the 5-year workiversary.

We know of one company, Ruby Receptionists, who offer their employees a 5-week paid sabbatical on their 5-year workiversary! This is something that a lot of churches might not be able to do, but consider giving an extra vacation day or two for the big milestone anniversary years.

You could also consider a small gift or a small bonus given at 5 years of service, no more than 1% of the staff member’s salary. Small gift ideas could include a gift card to a place they love, a personalized memento like a Christmas ornament or signed picture frame, or you could look for a funny gift that celebrates the unique personality they bring to the team. Also, look for ways you can incorporate your staff values into how you celebrate the work of this employee.

10+ Years Of Service

For a 10-year workiversary, consider asking the person’s supervisor to plan a “mini service” in your next all-staff meeting. Have several people prepare to say some nice words about the person and their work, or create a funny video compilation for the person. Perhaps invite the person’s spouse to surprise them and join for the meeting so they can see how awesome their husband or wife is. 

You could also give a slightly larger bonus and/or gift to thank them for their service, perhaps in the 1-1.5% of their salary range. Again, consider if additional vacation days or a short sabbatical would be a valuable award for them. As I mentioned, remember to look ahead and budget for these gifts/bonuses every year.

For each of the rest of the big employee milestones (15 years, 20 years, 25 years, etc), bump up the gift value and/or bonus amount. Especially with millennials now making up the majority of the workforce, having employees who stay on your staff for 10+ years is a big deal and should be treated as such if you want them to stick around for another 10!

How do you celebrate your staff member's milestones?

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