Length-of-service awards (the small gold pin or certificate at the bottom of your junk drawer) can be truly rewarding when managed in the proper way. However, when carelessness is evident in such gestures, employees do not feel valued. So, how can we make these gestures count?
Employees respond best when given the option to choose what kind of benefits to receive from their company. And, yes, awards such as vacations to Hawaii or a new Rolex can increase an employee’s sense of pride in working for a company. Regardless of the price of the award, however, it is important to specifically address the employee on his/her anniversary through direct communication or a letter and also to share with the company the accomplishments of the individual. Employees respect the time and effort their company invests in recognizing individuals.
Managers should actively participate in recognizing employees and personally present their awards. When recognizing employees, specific achievements and accomplishments should be highlighted to distinguish employees and emphasize how they have contributed to the company’s mission. Awards programs do not have to be expensive. Bells and whistles aside, employees respect their employers for acknowledging their service to the company even if they simply receive a ‘thank you’—although a trip to Hawaii is always nice!