Are your Long Service Awards ready for 2021?

Long Service, Service awards, Service Recognition, Years of service – whatever name you call it – it sounds outdated. The notion seems outmoded and old fashioned. Something from the days of carriage clocks, gold pens and flared trousers.

There is so much to engage and reward your employees and fellow colleagues these days. Vouchers to their inbox, in office hospitality, experience days and thank you gifts to their doors. In fact, corporate gifting has never been bigger. Businesses small and large have recognised that if they recognise, their staff work harder, productivity rockets and a strong culture is born.

So why the need for fusty old ways of working eh?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot though and put ourselves in the mind of our colleagues.

Start with the fresh young recruit, straight out of the grad scheme and supremely optimistic (but equally nervous) about their first steps in the world of work. How do they feel when they pass their first successful year at the business? They can’t believe how much they’ve learned and accomplished. A year for them is a lifetime. Year two rolls by and they are really hitting their straps. They are confident, fully trained, contributing to growth.

But this company doesn’t do service awards for anything under 10 years.

How do you think they feel when they see a colleague pass through 5 years without a word of celebration?

In fact 5 years to them is almost unimaginable at one place. In reality, they’re probably thinking it’s time to leave. There goes the training and investment, there goes your next bright manager.

Then put yourself in the shoes of your colleague there for 5 years without a nod of recognition – what does that say about that business that such a landmark goes by without fanfare. Would you feel valued without thanks?

Putting your mind into the head of your fellow colleagues is eye opening. Perhaps recognising Long Service isn’t outdated after all…

Our advice at Motivates is ditch the mindset of waiting to award at 5, 10 and 20 years. In our dynamic economy working at one company for your entire working life is over. Incremental rewarding keeps your employees keen day in, day out. The reality is for most of your staff it’s not even really about the reward – it’s about the recognition.

Little and often, building to significant rewards for the big milestones, is much more important than these outdated gold pens. The recognition is the all-important point.

On that note I’ll leave you with 5 tips and take-aways to get your long service scheme where it should be; as the bedrock of any successful company culture!

1) Don’t wait to 5 or 10 years – think every year!

2) Build up your scheme with small treats to something significant

3) Make your rewards easy and accessible to all – no matter taste, gender or age

4) Personalise your rewards with a heartfelt message and your branding

5) Add some theatre – why not invite all colleagues who pass a milestone to an end of year company dinner or get together just for them

6) And a bonus tip – adding in a paid sabbatical for 10+ years will really get your employees talking