100% Guarantee 30 Years of Service Secure Shopping Exclusive Products Proven to Increase Productivity & Retention
Black Friday Sale All Week Long
15% OFF over $99 promo code: blackft

How to Put Together an Employee Service Award Program

Your employees exchange their time for work that helps your organization succeed. This dedication deserves to be recognized on a regular, timely basis. One of the best waysto accomplish this is through implementing a service awards program at your company. Service awards programs show recognition and appreciation for your employees' commitment to your company as well as their performance. Commemorating work anniversaries is one of the most popular types of service awards programs, as are "Years of Service" awards, which are of a similar sentiment. Through heartfelt recognition shared on days of significant milestones, employees can feel valued and appreciated at their companies, which can then help them experience an increased sense of engagement and loyalty to your company.

Learn how to put together a high-quality service awards program at your organization.

Though it's important to recognize employees for the quality of their work, it is also essential to show appreciation for their years of service. As Kim Harrison noted for Cutting Edge PR, "Some may believe that recognizing employees for their time served only emphasizes quantity rather than quality - the chair warmers rather than the achievers.

However, the fact is that any significant length of service represents a major investment by an employee from their life. This choice of investment is something to be valued, especially when there is a comparatively high employee ‘churn' (and cost of turnover) these days compared with the past." Many companies operate service awards programs for this reason. A joint survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and Globoforce revealed several key findings about service awards programs, including:

  • The main goal of years of service programs is employee appreciation, but many such programs "still fall short of the mark for inspiration and quality."
  • Companies that invest in years of service programs see better results.

The survey also found that 74 percent of companies say they have some sort of service anniversary program. However, just 22 percent of these companies say their program is excellent, with 31 percent rating it as fair or poor. Though the programs may not be as fully developed as many companies would wish, the intentions are noble. The survey found that the No. 1 reason companies have years of service awards programs to appreciate employees, followed by increasing employee happiness or satisfaction.

The results of the survey show that while employers have lofty goals for their service awards programs, the content of them is failing to deliver.

Ways Companies Can Strengthen Their Service Awards Programs

Companies can strengthen their service awards programs to better suit the expectations of their employees. Before starting your service awards program, or revising your current one, find out what your employees think. Polls and simple email surveys are effective ways to get an idea of how workers feel about recognition programs. With this data, you can then create programs that will be more closely aligned with employee desires. You can ask questions like:

  • How would you rate the level of recognition at this company?
  • Do you feel like the work you do is valued?
  • What would an ideal service awards program look like to you?

Use this information to design recognition programs that will most strongly resonate with your professionals.

Determine Your Awards Budget

Figure out the most that your company can spend on recognition, and aim to have your budget make the most of it.

Service awards programs should receive a portion of the company budget, as the programs are essential to worker productivity and happiness. If you need a guide for how much money to allocate to these efforts, look to the SHRM/Globoforce survey - it found that the most effective recognition programs used more than 1 percent of payroll.

Determine Which Employee Anniversaries to Recognize

Traditionally, companies will celebrate the major milestones, but it's also important to celebrate smaller anniversaries, especially in today's employment market where individuals stay at companies for shorter periods of time and more frequently hop among jobs, as Inspirus noted. The source recommended that companies with high turnover celebrate "mini-milestones" such as every 90 days, as it helps give a boost to employee engagement levels from the get-go. But the SHRM/Globoforce survey found that:

  • 90 percent of companies celebrated five-year anniversaries.
  • 92 percent celebrated 10 years.
  • 89 percent celebrated 20 years.
  • 28 percent celebrate firstyear anniversaries.

Executing Your Service Award Program

When successfully implemented, service awards can boost employee happiness levels and create a positive, inclusive work environment. When poorly carried out, however, these programs can have the opposite effect, dragging down morale and engagement. This is especially true when it comes to timing. Letting an employee's work anniversary pass without any mention can make the employee feel like he is not valued and produces negative feelings. Instead, be sure to stay organized and on top of employee milestones, approaching years of service markers and other opportunities for recognition. Setting alerts in your HR, intranet or other internal system can help you manage these dates and stay on top of recognition in a timely and organized manner.

While service awards programs recognize years of service, to make them the most "inspiring" and effective, the recognition should be tied back to company values. When celebrating an anniversary or other milestone, in your presentation reflect on which company values the employee excels in showing, and all the strides she's made since their last years of service celebration. As the SHRM/ Globoforce survey noted, recognition can be even more powerful and resonant when you reward employees for showing a commitment to organizational values.

When creating service awards programs, it's best to take a multi-tiered approach: give the employee a meaningful gift, and then recognize the individuals with an event and social recognition.

Present the milestone award: Whether it is a plaque, a lapel pin, or a glass trophy, be sure to inscribe the employee's name and the milestone that is being celebrating. This is the formal recognition aspect of your service award program that will stand the test of time.

Write a note: A heartfelt note can mean the world to someone. According to the Harvard Business Review, OGO found in a survey that 76 percent of people save handwritten thank-you notes. Don't use a template or say the same thing you say on every note - instead, personalize the message to reflect the employee's unique achievements and strengths.

Give a heartfelt gift: Employees celebrating service milestones shouldn't receive a generic, one-size-fits-all gift. Instead, the item should be customized to the individual. High-end gifts such as crystal clocks, wine cradles and vases make great gifts for individuals celebrating 10, 15 and 20-year anniversaries - these items are treasures that will last a lifetime. For annual work anniversary celebrations, personalized glassware, tech accessories, apparel or plaques work well. Other gifts could be a framed photo or poster that is signed by the employee's co-workers.

Throw a party: Reserve a meeting room to hold a party for the recognized employee, with food catered. You can put together a presentation about the employee and their accomplishments. For major milestones, you can host the party at a restaurant or function hall.

Give the social spotlight: Another great way to celebrate service milestones is through social recognition in the workplace. For example, you could give the employee a shoutout or blurb in the company newsletter or staff magazine, Kim Harrison noted, or write a special post for him on the employee intranet or homepage.

Research shows that service awards programs are meaningful and powerful ways to recognize employees for the service. Not only do these programs boost employee morale, but have long-term positive effects for the organization as a whole. With these tips, you can create effective service awards programs at your company. Successories has everything you need to supplement your awards programs, from high-end gifts to stationery for hand-written thankyou notes.

How to do Employee Rewards Whitepaper 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better recognized.

Customer Favorite Years of Service Awards

Updated Thursday 11-23-2017
Emerald Brilliant Accomplishment Crystal Award
Rating: | Reviewer: HR Leader of Eastland, Texas

Emerald Brilliant Accomplishment Crystal Award

Wonderful Retirement Gift
A very nice gift for retirees.

Standard of Excellence Award
Rating: | Reviewer: Tim of Owatonna, MN

Standard of Excellence Award

Excellent product each time we purchased
This product fit the occasion perfectly each time we purchased. The sturdy materials will last a lifetime.

Sapphire Brilliant Accomplishment Crystal Award
Rating: | Reviewer: Kristie Licata, Merck Consumer Care of Summit, New Jersey

Sapphire Brilliant Accomplishment Crystal Award

Stellar Customer Service-Fabulous Award!
I continue to be impressed with the level of customer service, quality and attention to detail that Successories consistently provides. I requested this complicated award with numerous ingravings on a very tight timeline and they delivered a fabulous product, on time, with a very consumer-centric focus to ensure I was happy with the results. Thanks again!

Learn More About Employee Engagement & Productivity

How: Monthly Awards

An Employee-of-the-Month program can boost morale and motivate workers to try harder. Learn how now.


Download Now
Employee of the Month Whitepaper

Daily Recognition

Learn how to reap the rewards of daily recognition. Easy tips & tools to help your organization succeed.


Download Now
Daily Recognition Whitepaper

Managing Millenials

Learn how to increase their productivity & tap into their potential.


Download Now
Promo Products Whitepaper

Make Motivational Posters Work for You

Learn the science behind the art of motivation.


Download Now
Motivational Posters Whitepaper

How to Guide

Learn how to install a successful employee awards program and everyone wins.


Download Now
Employee Rewards eBook

Infographic:
Employee Engagement

Get the stats about employee engagement.


View Now
Employee Engagement Infographic

How to Buy Awards

Learn the facts about buying awards, so you don't make a costly mistake.


Download Now
Awards Buying Guide

Tax Deductible Awards

Learn which employee awards are tax deductible.


Download Now
Tax Deductible Employee Awards Whitepaper

Year End Awards

Learn how and why to do a year end anual award ceremony.


Download Now
Promo Products Whitepaper

Infographic:
Workplace Stress

How to manage the stats of employee stress.


View Now
Employee Stress Infographic

How: Appreciation Luncheon

Throw a company lunch that shows your appreciation.


Download Now
Employee Appreciation Lunch Whitepaper

How: Company Picnics

Throw a company picnic to increase retention & productivity.


Download Now
Corporate Picnic Whitepaper

Create a Customer Service Culture

to increase customer retention & your bottom line.


Download Now
Customer Service Advice

CPO:
Chief People Officer

What is a CPO? Do you need a CPO for your organization?


Download Now
Daily Recognition Whitepaper

Teamwork Tips

Learn the power of recognition and to motivate individuals to work as team.


Download Now
Teamwork Recognition Whitepaper

How to do Boss's Day

Learn how to appropriately celebrate you're boss's favorite day.


Download Now
Boss's Day Gift Guide

Infographic:
Employee Rewards

What an award means to your employee.


View Now
Employee Rewards Infographic

How to Guide

Learn the facts about Promo Products. Why you need them? Where to get them?


Download Now
Promo Products Whitepaper

Productivity:
Tech Free Meetings

Increase productivity by losing the distractions.


Download Now
Meeting Productivity Tips

Awards:
Year End - Big Impact

It's all too easy to overlook year-end rewards - but you can't afford to.


Download Now
Year End Employee Award Tips

Successories Blog

Stay up to date with the latest news & articles.


Read Blog Now

Party:
Office Holiday Party

Learn tips & tricks to throw a corporate holiday party.


Download Now
Office Holiday Party Tips

Have Questions?

Our team of experts is ready to help you


Contact Us