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18th November, 2019

Staff rewards and recognition: What’s happened to Employee Service Awards?

Staff rewards and recognition programs tend to result in happier, more productive workers. But as people increasingly tend to hop from one business to another, where does this leave the traditional ‘Employee Service Award’ used to recognise a long, loyal tenure?

To grow your business, one of the critical things to focus on is productivity.

For top results, your employees must focus on important tasks and be as effective as possible, working both independently and as a team.

There are many strategies you can employ to increase productivity. One of the most essential is creating a positive corporate culture.

When people enjoy coming to work and being a part of a team, they’re much more likely to work better and harder.

They’ll also stay committed to the business for longer.

To make your workplace an engaged one, look for ways to motivate your workers and show them you appreciate them and their efforts.

This is where Employee Service Awards come in under the broad concept of staff rewards and recognition programs. Here’s what you need to know about this specific type of reward system.


So, what are Employee Service Awards?


Employee Service Awards, otherwise known as Years of Service Awards and similar phrases, are awards given out to acknowledge employees when they hit a long-term work anniversary.

The length of time people work for before being recognised varies from company to company and from department to department. Many businesses thank people for their service at various points during their career, too.

Typically, people receive awards when they reach 10, 15, 20, or 30 years of continuous employment.

Years ago, these types of acknowledgements were fairly automated and transactional.

They were often about tenure more than anything and looked upon as a company benefit, or even an expectation.

READ: 5 ways to improve retention of millennial employees in your business

In years gone by, Employee Service Awards were a part of a total package and presented in an impersonal, standardised way.

Today, though, things are changing.

Business leaders understand that for these awards to be worthwhile, they need to make workers feel good, and improve company morale in general.

Increasingly, entrepreneurs use service awards to show how valued employees are for their loyalty, commitment, work ethic, skills, knowledge, experience, and accomplishments.

Now, such awards are designed to be a real celebration.

Many employees come together to celebrate the long-serving member of the team, in a personalised way.

Employees receive mementos and experiences designed according to their individual personality and interests.

Plus, leaders use these award ceremonies as an opportunity to bring staff members together. It helps to connect the workforce.


Benefits of Employee Service Awards


There are multiple reasons why you should consider implementing employee service awards in your firm.

For example, these award programs make people feel more valued and seen.

They also create memorable moments for workers to cherish, and they create a better sense of belonging and purpose in the workplace.

All of this helps to increase the likelihood that long-term employees will stay working for the company even longer, which is doubly important in a work culture that tends to favour short tenures at any one company.

READ: Offering your employees the right kinds of benefits

It also boosts the morale of both the celebrated person and the whole team, which in turn improves productivity.

Plus, as a leader, when you have systems for rewards and recognition for your experienced staff members, you give everyone present the chance to share stories related to the business.

This reminds people of what the company stands for and why they chose to work there in the first place.

Service award celebrations also help further build employee trust with leaders.

In addition, when these award parties are shared publicly, such as on social media sites or in newsletters, customers get a better insight into the business.

As a result, they tend to feel more engaged with and connected to the brand.


Tips for setting up an Employee Service Award program


To get the most out of Employee Service Award programs, take them seriously.

Allow plenty of time to plan things out properly, rather than putting together a party at the last minute.

When rushing this kind of event, service awards seem like lip service rather than a vital part of workplace culture, and they can actually end up being a detriment rather than a benefit.

To help make award programs run smoothly, it’s wise to put together teams of workers to plan them.

Create a group from the employees who know the person being celebrated (not just those in their direct team but anyone they’ve interacted with over the years) and give them an adequate budget and other resources to make the day special.

There should be enough pomp and circumstance to make the long-term employee feel like they’re a star for the day.

The physical award they receive needs to be a quality one, too.

Avoid cheap, bulk-bought items and instead, opt for something the recipient will be proud to display at work or home.

Also, always get one or more top managers involved in celebrations, including chief executives, founders, operating officers, heads of human resources, and department leaders.

These senior members of the company can say a few words about the worker and present the award.

Having them there shows that the business values commitment at all levels. And it makes the acknowledged person feel even more special.

Presenting service awards to your valued staff members does take some time, effort, and financial investment.

But this situation also provides an excellent opportunity to ‘walk the walk’ with regards to valuing employees and improving company culture through a formalised rewards and recognition scheme.

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