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As a business owner, you know that a big part of your company’s success comes down to the efforts, skills, knowledge, and productivity of your team. While paying workers well and treating them fairly is a must, it’s also important to note that these days, employees are also focused on how they feel doing their jobs. Your team members want to feel heard, valued, and appreciated, and like they’re truly part of a team.
This gets increasingly vital the longer staff members work in a company. Business owners should, therefore, consider using employee service awards to thank their long-standing employees and to increase productivity, loyalty, and engagement in turn. Here is the lowdown on employee service awards that you need to know today.
What are Employee Service Awards?
Employee service awards, also called years of service awards, milestone awards, service anniversaries, length of service awards, employee anniversaries, service awards, and service milestones, are awards recognizing workers when they hit a particular work anniversary. For example, people are often honored when they reach 10, 15, 20, or more years of continuous employment at the same firm.
In the past, these acknowledgments were more about tenure than celebration, and were typically positioned as a company benefit, where the long-term team member received some type of award/reward as part of their total recognition package. They were a rather automated, transactional, impersonal feature presented in a lackluster, standardized way.
Today, however, increasing numbers of business owners and managers are realizing that employee years of service awards need to be about more than just the number of years worked. Rather than feeling like they’ve received something of a “participation” award, staff members want to feel appreciated for everything they bring to a company, including their knowledge, skills, accomplishments, and personal contributions to morale.
The meaningful employee anniversary awards given out now include more personalized keepsakes and experiences. They’re designed to suitably recognize people’s efforts and careers and create a more holistic, well-rounded recognition strategy based on an individual’s personality and interests. Modern service awards provide teams with the opportunity to stop and celebrate a long-serving member of their group, and to help better connect everyone in an organization.
There are multiple positives to be enjoyed from incorporating milestone awards into business schedules. When it comes to the people being honored, quality service award programs help make people feel valued, foster a sense of belonging, and create peak moments to cherish. In turn, employees are more likely to continue working for the firm, and often do so with a bit more “pep in their step.”
These award programs are also helpful because they honor friendships within work environments, improve company culture and morale, and show other workers that their employer takes the efforts of staff members seriously, and appreciates the team.
Celebrating a long-standing employee with an award for their commitment and loyalty builds trust with leaders, and gives teams the chance to share stories and be reminded of what the company stands for and cares about. When service award celebrations are shared publicly, general consumers also get a better insight into the organization and can feel more connected to and interested in it.
Using Employee Service Awards Effectively
To ensure your firm’s employee service awards are effective, spend the time needed to plan them and consider ideal strategies. Don’t create awards at the last minute with little thought, as this lack of interest comes across and may actually have detrimental effects. It often pays to get a cross-functional team of workers to put together the awards program. As people who already work in the business and likely all know each other, they can often come up with the most meaningful ideas.
Always make sure there’s some kind of pomp and circumstance to go with the award. Employee morale is boosted when everyone witnesses and is involved in the act of appreciation for a cherished team member. Plus, have the most senior person available (e.g., the CEO, founder, or department head) be on hand to say a few words and present awards and gifts to the recipient.
Allocate a decent budget to the program, too. You don’t want people to feel they’re not valued because they receive something that looks cheap, bulk-bought, or designed for someone else. Always choose quality employee anniversary awards, plaques, certificates, etc., and invest as much as you can into the gift or gifts that go along with them.
Remember, presenting service awards to valued employees provides organizations with an incredible opportunity to create memorable experiences for their people. Maximize this situation to make your team members feel more connected to the company, each other, and the business values than ever before.