Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones

Your role in presenting a career milestone award on a person’s work anniversary is to create an experience that the recipient will always remember. Managers must learn how critical it is for them to honor employees on their special day.  Follow theses Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Career Milestones and put these steps into practice.

  1. Make managers responsible for milestones. You must assign managers to acknowledge their employees before or on the day of their anniversary. Hold them accountable by following up on what they did and share their employee’s reaction.
  2. Work hard to honor the person. Plan ahead of time to collect information and insights about award recipients to help everyone remember them and their contributions. Allow these musings and memories of years of service be reflective and memorable.
  3. Highlight a recipient’s attributes. Interview previous bosses and colleagues to discover their unique characteristics and attributes. Find out what makes them an excellent employee. As appropriate to the individual share these thoughts in the presentation.
  4. Plan who the attendees should be. Lower year anniversaries are informal and can be their team members or one-on-one with their manager. Longer years of service merit finding out if a senior leader or family members should be present. Always find out their wishes first.
  5. Find the right place to present. Check out your organization’s facilities and see if there is a “perfect” setting to add to the whole award experience. Discover if there are special memories associated with specific spots that could create a unique memory.
  6. Capture memories of this day. Do whatever you can to assign someone else to photograph and video record the presentation. Have a sign in book or cards for people to write their congratulations and thoughts. Or create a video book where people leave messages.
  7. Request the right person present. Whether it is their immedate manager or a senior leader figure out who the best person is to present their award. It must be someone the recipient has a positive relationship with and who they personally respect and admire.
  8. Recognize their achievements. You have the opportunity to acknowledge all the employee has done up to their anniversary date. Let them know how their contributions and work have impacted others and made a difference to the organization.
  9. Treat them like a star. Consider the Oscar awards and treat your career milestone employees as a celebrity, because on their anniversary day, they really are. Strive to turn every service award day into a celebration and not just a presentation.
  10. Connect the employee’s achievements. Make the career milestone recipient’s feel fulfilled by showing them and others how they have lived by the organizational values. Let them know the organization could not be where they are today without their contributions.

How Different Types of Analytics Tell a Different Recognition Program Story

Analytics is the science of logical analysis. 

Analytics with employee recognition programs use recognition program output metrics, or usage data, and apply mathematical equations, statistical analysis, and computer software to paint a picture of what is going on.

However, different levels of analysis produce a different image and insights. The deeper you go with analytics, the more understanding you gain and the better action you can take. 

Consider the following observations. 

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How To Get More People Using Your Recognition Programs More Often

Like any tool, recognition programs are only as good as the people that use them. 

And therein lies the problem. It isn’t the programs per se, it’s the people. That’s why it is essential that you create a people strategy to use your programs better, besides having a recognition program strategy. 

Look at the following areas of direction you may need to take.

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How To Use the Pedestal and Prestige Effect To Recognize High Performers

I am going to be upfront with you about your traditional online recognition programs. They won’t work for everyone.

For example, social recognition programs, sending ecards, and using typical performance reward programs, will not hit the mark with your high performers, senior leaders, your top salespeople, or other high-ranking professionals.

But there is something very interesting that I discovered about these elite people. They still like to be recognized. Just not the same way as everyone else.

I will share with you what I learned from talking with some of these professionals and high performers.

It became very clear to me that giving a professional point rewards, sending them an award nomination, or giving a $25.00 or $100.00 gift card, was not meaningful to them. They didn’t relate to this kind of recognition

That’s when I learned something very important. Your traditional recognition and reward programs are appreciated by the 80% majority of your employees. But they will not appeal to a private banker, the top pharmaceutical salesperson, or the executive vice president of finance.

However, there are still some tremendous ways to recognize them. And I am going to share two simple methods with you on how to recognize these high performing professionals.

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Why You Should View Your Employee Recognition Programs as Being Important

Perception is all in the eye of the beholder. 

And if you have a negative perception of something, it can lead to the concept known as the self-fulfilling prophecy. Which is one reason you must view your recognition programs as being very important. 

The online Britannica encyclopedia website defines a self-fulfilling prophecy as the process through which an originally false expectation leads to its own confirmation. 

In a self-fulfilling prophecy, an individual’s expectations about another person or entity eventually result in the other person or entity acting in ways that confirm the expectations.

So, if you believe that your recognition programs are important, others will act in ways that confirm the beliefs of the importance of your recognition programs. 

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Keep In Mind Where People Work To Give The Best Recognition

It is totally amazing the different job roles that exist in our world.

As I interview leaders and employees to learn more about their work, I reflect on positions I never knew existed before. Learning about these skills, trades, and professions makes me realize how sheltered our worldview can be. 

Recognition practices and programs should look very different according to where people work. 

Let’s look at the following job situations. 

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How To Conduct Estimation Analyses of Recognition Practices and Programs

Organizational leaders often want to know the impact recognition has on people centered metrics. To find out how their recognition practices or their recognition programs have on measures like employee engagement or employee retention can cost a great deal if running a full scientific and analytical evaluation. 

One way to ease the cost burden and still collect a powerful indicator is to conduct estimation analysis. Estimation analysis is a simple method to analyze data, employee perceptions, and interpret results. 

It is important to remember that in conducting estimation analyses, that you are using an imprecise science to calculate the level of impact, or perhaps the amount of improvement gained. 

Consider how you could use estimation analysis in your review of employee recognition practices and programs in your organization. 

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Let Your Recognition Programs Tell You Everything You Need to Know

Online recognition programs are websites acting as a central platform for a variety of recognition and reward programs. They allow everyone in an organization to express their appreciation, say thanks to folks, and give recognition for the great things people do at work every day. 

Those with permission can also give people rewards, whether tangible, monetary, or experiential. You give rewards to people for going above and beyond normal work expectations and when excellent performance occurs. 

What can your recognition programs tell you that you’re not tapping into? 

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What Is The Recommended Ratio of Recognition to Rewards?

Setting up business rules in the design and program strategy stage for a new recognition program can very interesting. I often get asked what ratio to set up for the usage of their recognition to rewards in their programs. 

My answer is always the same. It all depends. 

The thing is the answer really depends on the industry you are in and the need for using rewards or not, and many other factors. For example, a major Silicon Valley technology company will have a significantly higher ratio of rewards to recognition expectation than would a healthcare organization in Texas. 

Here are a few guidelines to follow that might help you.

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Remember To Tell People When and When Not To Give Rewards

Recognition programs coupled with the use of rewards can challenge managers and employees, especially when you just launch a new program. 

It seems managers and employees alike are like kids in a candy store. With a myriad of good intentions, they lavish out rewards on everyone. And the reasons are often spotty at best.

Which is why you must always handle your rewards with care. 

This matter has come up for a couple of clients in the last few months, so it seemed fitting to bring it up here as well.

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