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. However, over the last few years, that image has become symbolic of times past.

Recognizing employees for their loyalty, celebrating important work anniversaries, and meaningfully rewarding these team members have become more than just a foundational component of a strong recognition program.  It’s become critical to sustaining a happy, satisfied team that stays with your company long-term.  As the global workforce evolves, turnover and even job-hopping are more common.  This can create clear disruption within your organization – but beyond that, the benefits of a cohesive team with years of collective experience are significant.  Showing your team meaningfully 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, with Gen Z employees poised to join them before too long.  These generations value different things and bring different needs than their predecessors – and it’s essential to understand how to meet those needs when reaching career milestones.  Effectively recognizing these employees with meaningful years-of-service awards can have a tremendous effect on their productivity. 

Above all, these employees value choice based on their lifestyle when it comes to service anniversaries, 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 and Gen Z employees as valued contributors for years to come, helping them reach even more career anniversaries.

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 in-person award programs, 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 for their years of service by 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 milestones award 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 to talk about how we can help you implement an award program strategy, structure, and meaningful tokens of gratitude into your service milestone recognition effort as you continue to build your culture of recognition.

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