How To Get Employees Involved In Career Milestone Recognition

Think career milestone recognition and you associate it directly with the company.

Companies honor and celebrate employees for their great work and contributions. It is a time for leaders to stop and thank employees for their service.

Service awards, as they are often called, are traditionally seen as a top down program, usually from an employee’s immediate manager or supervisor.

And for many companies this is still the way milestone programs are run.

But there is a new trend building for getting all employees involved.

Insights On Source of Acknowledgment

As our clients ask their employees about career milestone recognition they learn some interesting details. Employees genuinely want to be acknowledged for their service anniversary by a variety of people and not just by one person.

Not surprisingly, first on the list is the employee’s manager or supervisor. They are the first line representative for companies to thank employees for all they do and have done.

Next would be an executive, especially if it is a senior leader personally known to the employee or responsible for the employee’s business unit. The presence of a senior leader adds credibility that your company means what it says in valuing an employee’s contributions.

You can’t forget your employees if you have direct reports. Supervisors, managers and leaders like to have employees they work for to be a part of the celebration. And employees want to honor the manager they go to bat for everyday so long as there is a positive relationship with them.

And finally, employees want to feel acknowledged by their peers, the people they work with everyday. People who work together

Why Employees Want Peer Engagement

Social media has likely driven the demand for acknowledgement from peers as well as by managers. Reflect on the use of social media posts, the number of likes and adding comments to posts.

Likewise, managers and peers’ are located at geographically different places or they work remotely. This can challenge making meaningful milestone celebrations. Thank goodness for video- and teleconferencing tools to connect for either formal, virtual presentations or informal, personal greetings.

So with managers not always around or able to be the first to congratulate an employee on their anniversary it raise the need for peers to pick up the pieces.

Getting Employees Involved

You may already be getting employees to sign anniversary cards for the person being honored. It is good to have a name distribution checklist to make sure you get as many of the employee’s peers as possible to have an opportunity to sign the card.

Remind everyone to write clearly. Sometimes people sign a card and you have no clue who a signature is from. Encourage people to print underneath who they are if they have a “flourishing” signature. And suggest peers leave a few words of congratulations and encouragement for the person and not just sign the card.

However, a lot of the employees today work remotely and won’t get a chance to sign the cards sent around at head office.

These days vendor online social recognition programs have career milestone ecards you can preschedule to send to a person and virtually notify fellow employees to “sign” and add comments to.

Social recognition programs typically follow a Facebook-like layout where you can add comments to the newsfeed display of other people’s postings or sent ecards. They also have a visible reminder in the top right hand corner indicating who is celebrating an anniversary on that day throughout the company.

To make messages of congratulations more personal, online programs now allow a person to deliver anniversary messages along with an uploaded photo.

Online companies like Shutterfly, give the ability to create and print books with memories of uploaded pictures and text to share stories and best wishes. You could do a story of the employee’s life at your company as well as celebrating their current anniversary.

The next best thing to being at a career milestone event is to send a lasting and meaningful acknowledgment through a video-recorded congratulatory message.

Latest online recognition programs allow a page for these video messages or the ability to assemble a collage of photographs along with accompanying greetings.

Employees today have a lot of ways and mediums to acknowledge their peers’ milestone anniversary.

The key is making sure your employees know these tools are available. Your role is to invite and encourage them to convey an appropriate expression of career milestone recognition to fellow employees

Question: How do you best encourage employee involvement in career milestone recognition?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.


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