Traditionally, years of service awards have been thought to improve employee satisfaction and encourage engagement. Sadly, they often only recognize the tenure of an employee. Modernizing years of service awards will effectively celebrate how a person fits and belongs in the workplace culture, rather than just how long they’ve served the company. Modernizing the award means spotlighting the individual’s accomplishments, contributions, and relationships they have built through the years.
Why Years of Service Awards?
Making years of service awards about more than tenure is important. Of course, traditionally, this is how they began by simply being a way to acknowledge how long a person has been with a company. But this can easily become the equivalent of a “participation award.” It’s important to show appreciation for the person’s talent, the value they’ve added, their accomplishments and successes they have celebrated over their career. This can be effective whether it is their first year or their 20th year with an organization or company.
How Have Service Awards Changed?
Service awards are used to recognize employees on specific work anniversaries. Usually, it’s presented on the first year of employment and then for 5,10, 15, and 20 years of service. Companies handle these types of awards in different ways. Sadly, some organizations send a certificate by mail or email to an employee on their work anniversary. Other companies put more effort into the process and award faithful employees with plaques, trophies, and lapel pins.
These tangible awards are still relevant and important, but also part of a more modern form of personalized awards. Today, service awards are part of a program combined with a comprehensive employee recognition program that rewards results, praises effort, and celebrates the key intervals of an individual’s career. When done well, years of service awards create peak moments, help to foster a deeper sense of belonging, and honor the contributions over time. They allow for a time to pause and celebrate how an employee fits in and belongs in the company. They have the power to connect people in a deeper sense within the organization.
Why Should a Company Invest in Service Awards?
Obviously, awarding years of service to a company is rewarding to the individual. But is it worth it to invest in years of service award programs? It turns out that it can be much more than a way to recognize a person’s tenure. A well-organized service award program can have major positive impacts on organizational success.
- Improve Employee Retention. Employees stay two to four years longer on average at companies offering effective years of service award programs.
- Increase Employee Engagement. When service anniversaries are celebrated, employees have about a 49% increase in employee satisfaction. People tend to work harder when they feel like the company cares about them as a person, not just an employee.
- Foster Feelings of Appreciation. Abut 80% of employees say they feel appreciated for their work when the company celebrates careers.
- Create Connections. Companies that recognize years of service tend to have employees who feel like they fit and belong.
- Provide Inspiration to All Employees. Years of service awards are unlike those given for work accomplishments in that everyone can reach. All employees can receive years of service awards no matter of their level or function at the company.
- Define Workplace Culture. When a company openly appreciates the influence an employee has had on the organization, service awards demonstrate what the company values and stands for.
Four Ways to Modernize Awards Honoring Tenure
Social recognition is of great value in the workplace. Successful managers no longer lay an award on a desk or shake an employee’s hand in the corner of an office. Service awards today should involve peers and mentors, family and friends. It should create an experience that establishes a connection to the company. Need ideas for modernizing Years of service award? Take a look at these four recognition ideas.
- Empower Leadership with the know-how and resources to create an excellent recognition experience. Equip them with automated tools that remind them of upcoming anniversaries. Provide training in preparing presentations.
- Emotional connections to various work anniversaries are different. A 5-year service award and a 25-year service award should have varying levels of enthusiasm and appreciative gifts. There’s also nothing wrong with celebrating every year an employee is with you contributing to your company.
- Involve as many people as possible in the celebration. Vendors, peers, present and former supervisors, and friends can contribute memories, photos, and gifts to commemorate.
- Extended appreciation can be continued throughout a lunchtime or snacks. Provide personal keepsakes that commemorate the day with gifts and awards that can be taken home. Use social media, newsletters, and other media outlets to publicize the memorable occasion.
Contact Suburban Custom Awards
Need help selecting just the right trophy, plaque or gift for a years of service award? Contact us. We can help you find the appropriate gift for the occasion and help with wording too. Let us know how we can help you.