Doing Milestones Differently

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Service Anniversary awards are one of the original and longest-standing components of employee recognition. The happy send-off with a handshake and a gold watch is a familiar image to many of us.  And over the last many years, that image has become symbolic of times past.

Recognizing employees for their loyalty, celebrating important work anniversaries, and meaningfully rewarding these team members has become more than just a foundational component of a strong recognition program.  It’s become critical to sustaining a happy, satisfied team.  As the global workforce evolves, turnover and even job-hopping are more common.  The disruption that this creates is clear – but beyond than that, the benefits of a cohesive team with years of collective experience are significant.  Showing your team in a meaningful way that you value their commitment to your organization is crucial to building a strong culture of recognition.

Meeting the Needs of a Changing Workforce

Millennials now account for over 50% of the workforce.  This generation values different things and brings different needs than their predecessors – and it’s important to understand how to meet those needs.  Effectively recognizing these employees for their tenure and commitment can have a tremendous effect on their productivity. 

Above all, these employees value choice based on their lifestyle when it comes to rewards and recognition.  If you have a Service Anniversary program in place, are your employees excited about the rewards they can receive? Ensuring the rewards are modern, appealing, and leave a lasting impact will go a long way toward cultivating these millennial employees as valued contributors for years to come.

Consider Remote Employees

Many traditional service anniversary awards – plaques, certificates, or trophies – can’t be celebrated in the same way by a remote workforce as they can by an in-office team.  This is important to consider, because one valuable component to celebrating service milestones is public recognition and the opportunity to both be congratulated by peers and to display these tokens of appreciation in the office.  For remote employees who are not present to participate in things like this, coupling these tokens of appreciation with a lifestyle reward can help make up the difference.  It’s also helpful for managers to take extra steps to make sure these remote employees are recognized meaningfully to their peers – be it an e-mail, an announcement in a team meeting, or even a congratulatory video call.

Don’t Wait

If your Service Anniversary program feels stale, now is the time to evaluate and adjust – and to show appreciation for your employees’ commitment in a way that both matches their lifestyle and accounts for how they fit and function in your organization.  Get in touch with us today at to talk about how we can help you implement strategy, structure, and meaningful rewards into your service milestone recognition effort as you continue to build your culture of recognition.

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