Why You Should Keep Length of Service Award Programs Going

One of the common decisions senior leaders make with length of service awards is their perception that they don’t produce any measurable return for the organization, is dropping them completely. 

This rationale of career milestone awards not impacting performance numbers and results has been around for many years. 

However, there is definitely an impact made when you give these awards. So, what benefits are there from continuing with milestone recognition? Should you keep going with length of service award programs?

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How To Turn Your Career Milestone Event Into Something Memorable

An employee’s career milestone, whether in person or virtually celebrated, is a special event and very important to them. You need to show staff that this is a big deal to everyone else as well—their immediate manager and senior leaders alike.

Celebrating an employee’s work anniversary should be something that is easy to acknowledge. After all, you are thanking them for their length of service with the organization and expressing appreciation for their contributions. 

I will lay out for you the 4 P’s you need to follow so you will honor every employee’s career milestone the right way.

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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.

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.