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The Power of Service Recognition

Length of service awards remain the most widespread employee recognition programs for formal expressions of appreciation and achievement for American corporations and organizations today.

Some question the value of these programs, but there are hard facts supporting the benefits service awards provide. The Cicero Group conducted both qualitative and quantitative research across expansive geographic, industry and age groups. They found a strong correlation between years of service award programs and increased tenure. Numerically their research found:

  • Companies that have implemented effective years of service award programs have almost 20% more employees that feel strongly that their company cares about them (vertical engagement with management) and that they personally fit in and belong to the organization (horizontal engagement with peers).

  • Employees who feel positively about these key engagement elements stay 4 years longer at their companies than employees who are not similarly engaged.

  • The impact of milestone programs reached across generations and impacted older and younger employees alike.

However, one area ripe for improvement with current years of service programs is that many organizations wait far too long to recognize employees. Many companies start recognizing years of service at the 5 year mark. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2020 median employee tenure was only 4.1 years!!!

Service award programs are strongly correlated with increased tenure, so these programs really need to start at day one. Some early milestones to celebrate include:

"Welcome to the Firm" - Recognizing a new employee right out of the gate makes any new employee feel special. Consider having the company President present new hire pins with the company logo on them during orientation. The logoed piece becomes a tangible symbol of the company's regard for the new employee. Seeing the company President take time to deliver this symbol will further tie the employee to the company.

Completion of Probationary Period - Sadly, few companies celebrate, or even acknowledge, the completion of a probationary period. The employee is the only one aware that they have successfully crossed this milestone. The new employee simply hopes he/she does not get let go on that auspicious occasion. However, celebrating the successful completion of this period gives companies yet another excuse to recognize the accomplishments of an employee they have now invested time and training in, and makes it public knowledge that the employee is no longer the "newbie."

1 Year, 2 Years, 3 Years and So On - As noted above, many employees today do not make the 5 year tenure mark, so recognizing them earlier is imperative if a company wants their service award program to actually help with retention. There is nothing keeping a company from recognizing employees at each year level - especially at the earlier years. In fact, this gives companies a reason to recognize even more employees each year - increasing employee engagement in the process.

Recognition early and often will not only endear a company's employees to them, but will help retain them, so that a company's average tenure rate will improve to much more than merely 4.1 years, and allow the company to benefit from the investment they have made in these valuable human resources.

Speak with your clients today about years of service programs. If they do not have a program, this is a great time to start one with them. If they do have a program but are not recognizing their employees at the early years, show them the many benefits of doing so. Service award programs allow recognition of all employees and are proven retention and engagement growers. Let Dion help you win and expand this business with your customers.