The modern age of business has transformed the employer and employee relationship especially when it comes to years of service and corporate award opportunities. Now, most employees consider changing companies rather than climbing up the corporate ladder. Most people change jobs for better opportunities, including increased salary, more benefits, and better titles. However, it is vital now more than ever that employers promote company loyalty.

Spending years at one company should be highly celebrated by every employer, especially as younger employees enter the workforce. In fact, 60-percent of millennials report they are open to a new job opportunity. 50-percent intend to remain at their current employer one year from now. The report also shows that 36 percent will look for a job in the next 12 months if the economy improves, and one in five will switch jobs at least once in the next year.

Get on top of the statistics and improve your chances by implementing a modern employee service award program. Years of service awards are excellent tools that businesses can use to promote employee satisfaction and engagement.

However, forget the worn-out employee recognition programs that merely thanked employees for their work. Instead, create tears of service awards that recognize the hard work, time, missed vacations, gained opportunities, career advancements, friendships, relationships, and family your employees helped create within your company.

Let’s take an in-depth look at the history of years of service awards, how it can benefit your business, and how you can create an employee service program that means something in 2020.

What are Years of Service Awards?

Businesses traditionally used years of service awards as a way of recognizing employees who stay with the company longer than most. Unfortunately, this traditional view keeps critics from drawing comparisons to “participation trophies.”

Corporate award experts at McGee’s Stamp and Trophy in Utah understand the unique impact an employee recognition and milestone awards can make on employees writing:

“CEOs, founders, and partners are usually people’s first thoughts when they think of the word business. However, the reality is that the employees of a company are the ones who run the day-to-day. While the heads of the company receive most the recognition, it’s important to recognize your employees continually. Authentic employee recognition promotes an atmosphere of appreciation and gratitude that ultimately drives business growth.”

Don’t let work anniversaries become a thing of the past. Instead, treat your employees better by valuing their time spent serving at your company. You should celebrate their accomplishments and the successes they had since their first year until their final one.

What is the History of Years of Service Awards?

For years, companies celebrated the accomplishments of their employees. Whether these awards were milestone awards, service awards, length of service awards, work anniversaries, or anything similar, each of these titles’ links back to the same accomplishment—working for a specific time at an individual employer. However, the number of employees hitting these milestones has dramatically increased over the years.

Today, employees who earn these years of service awards are typically rewarded by their employer with a reward or recognition package. Maybe it is an increase in Paid Time Off (PTO) or an increased salary. It is an overall lackluster process that most employees only enjoy for a short time. In fact, most businesses simply celebrate by congratulating the employee using a letter, email, or quick round of applause from the rest of the team.

Not only does the typical years of service award leave employees wanting, but it gives no one any reason to stay and earn their next one. Luckily, some companies are modernizing the traditional work anniversary and making it a key part of the employment experience.

You can implement a modern years of service award culture in your office by personalizing every award. Whether you are starting an employee service award program for the first time or your company already has one, there a variety of benefits to doing so.

What are the Benefits of Implementing an Employee Service Program?

Studies show that employees need to feel recognized and appreciated at work. By incorporating a years of service award program into your business’s culture, you can boost employee recognition and happiness in the workplace. Authentic employee recognition drives business growth in these specific ways:

  • Promotes a workplace atmosphere of appreciation and gratitude
  • Increases your bottom line by driving productivity
  • Boasts employee’s emotional commitment to your business
  • Improves individual work by giving employee’s one-on-one attention
  • Connects your team and makes them feel like a family

All in all, recognizing your employees through an employment service program helps creates a culture of appreciation at your business. Not only are these years of service awards a great way to help you recognize your employees, but it enables you to connect with them, as well. However, you must create an employee service program that is fresh and engaging.

Here are a few guidelines with new ideas to help you modernize your years of service program.

5 Tips for Creating a Modern Years of Service Award Program

1. Celebrate Early Milestones

Your service award program should recognize the efforts of your employees sooner rather than later. When crafting your awards program, carefully consider which milestones you’ll mark. Don’t wait until an employee is ten years into their time at your company, before awarding them. Recognize their efforts early on to combat turnover and increase employee satisfaction. Industry research shows you should offer awards at the minimum one-year, two-year, and three-year marks, especially as millennials continue the trend of walking away from jobs after a short period.

2. Celebrate Publicly

Stop expressing gratitude for your employee’s years of service in an email or during a one-on-one meeting. Go public! By praising your employees in front of their coworkers and peers, you will help reinforce employee loyalty and inspire others to take similar actions. It will also help the recognized employee feel that noticed, which makes all the difference as they consider where they want to work a year from now.

3. Involve Loved Ones

Another way to improve the years of service award program is by involving employees’ friends and families in the recognition process. Whether you invite them to the banquet or collect a personal message to include in their award, by involving them in the celebration, you will make the entire experience unforgettable.

4. Personalize the Awards Ceremony

No matter how often or when you choose to recognize your employees, make sure the award is personal. You should strive to make the award memorable and sought after by other employees. You can do this by making the award ceremony or actual award personal. Give a speech that includes specific instances from the employee’s career or customize a corporate award or plaque that fits the employee’s personality. If you fail to make the years of service award personal, you will quickly realize how big of an opportunity you have missed.

5. Make the Reward Worthwhile

Along with personalization, you should consider the actual reward. Some companies use a raise system based on the time spent at the company, while others offer increased benefits. Carefully consider what each employee at your business values and find ways of implementing that into your employee service program. You can also work with an award specialist to customize an award that perfectly fits each employee.

Service and corporate awards give you a unique opportunity to show your employees the admiration they deserve. As you modernize your corporate award and years of service programs, try and implement these tips. You will notice that by focusing on these techniques, your company will increase employee satisfaction, retaining your workforce, recruitment, and overall business culture.

Richard Overmyer a copywriter and outreach specialist for McGees Awards and Engravings in Salt Lake City. He strives to help customers find the best ways to celebrate important events and achievements. When not writing, you can find Richard in the mountains, looking for his next piece of inspiration.

Employee recognition stock photo by Black Salmon/Shutterstock