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Setting Up a Years of Service Award Program in Your Company

by Jack Smith
Years of Service awards

Years of Service awards are an important part of a successful employee recognition program that celebrates your most dedicated employees while inspiring loyalty in others. These days, employee commitment is one of the most important values, so the people who have been with your company for years definitely deserve to be recognized.

On the other hand, forgetting to celebrate an important milestone can bring about a negative response, especially if the employee is celebrating a significant anniversary (like a 10 year work anniversary).

If you are planning to set up a Years of Service award program at your organization, the following 5 tips will help you provide experiences and awards that your staff will love.

1.  Determine the Milestones You Want to Celebrate

Not so long ago, an employee might receive the first service award after five or ten years but these days, service anniversaries should be celebrated much earlier. According to the Work Institute Retention, more than 37% of employees leave an organization in the first year, and two out of three leave it in the first 6 months.

To determine which milestones you should celebrate, start by calculating the average tenure at your organization. For instance, if many employees leave after spending 3.5 years in your company, you should consider celebrating the third work anniversary.

You should also consider celebrating milestones beyond years of service. Being promoted, passing a certification test, and bringing in a big account are all important achievements, and celebrating your team members for small wins is a great way to establish a habit of recognition across your company.

2.  Allocate a Budget

The budget you allocate to your Years of Service awards program should demonstrate to your employees that they’re worth the commitment they’ve given to the company. After all, you don’t want to insult them with inconsequential awards and lose their loyalty.

When looking at your overall spending, you should first focus on how much you will be allocating to each year of service. For instance, are you going to offer workers celebrating their 5th anniversary a 50$ gift or a 500$ one? Although there are no defined industry standards here and it all depends on what’s feasible within your company’s means and resources, a typical amount is about $27 per year of service, so be sure you’re not much below it.

3.  Personalize the Recognition

While everyone likes to be recognized, different people like to be recognized in different ways. Some employees prefer being in the spotlight and receiving public recognition at a lavish company-wide event. However, others dread the very idea of the entire department or organization looking at them.

One way to determine how the recognized person is likely to react is by paying attention to their behavior in the office and planning the event so that it matches their personality.

You could further personalize the recognition by contacting the employee’s friends, family members, and peers and asking them to write a short note or submit a photo with the award recipient. You can include these in an email that will be sent out as part of the Years of Service award.

4.  Provide Multiple Reward Choices

Although a quality Years of Service program is not just about the reward you’re giving, the gift is the icing on the cake of the overall celebration.

These days, people are used to having a choice (just think about shopping online), so your Years of Service program should follow suit. By providing multiple gift reward choices, such as physical products, trips, experiences, concerts, and so on, you’re showing that your organization is keeping up with the times but also cares about its employees’ needs and interests.

Years of Service awards

5.  Integrate Your Brand

It’s perfectly all right to incorporate your brand into your Years of Service program, so long as it doesn’t overshadow the person being recognized. One way to subtly integrate your company is by including your organizational goals, mission, and vision in printed materials that will be given to the employees. You can also include custom company swag or a symbolic award such as a recognition pin or a piece of crystal.

Don’t forget to promote the program among your staff. Once it’s established, be sure to announce the news to the entire company.

Final Thoughts

Years of Service programs are initiatives that support and strengthen your company’s recognition efforts. Whether celebrating new hires or veteran employees, these awards will contribute to increased employee loyalty, improved morale, and to your organization’s growth.

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