Why smaller long service rewards are more effective

Here’s a scary thought – chances are some of your best team members won’t be with you in 5 years’ time. And here’s another scary thought – only 52% of employees from our latest survey said they were likely to stay in their current business for over a year!

And hey, long service rewards can increase staff tenure; however, to be successful, organisations must ensure their reward strategy is aligned with the workforce demographic – it’s that simple.

Let’s look at an example, Generation Z – or Gen Z – currently comprise 30 percent of the world’s population and are expected to account for 27 percent of the workforce by 2025. They also are more inclined to move roles more often, and so businesses across the globe need a new perspective on the more traditional Long service carriage clocks and gold pens aren’t ticking Gen Z’s satisfaction box.

Our advice is to have a strategy that speaks to your workforce – we know from our survey that offering long-service rewards is a draw even to those who may not be around to receive them – you are showing you care, and your people respond to that with an increased ‘intention to stay’.

So the key is to take it a step further and shore up what loyalty you can in the varying generations of your workforce. To those long-serving Boomers who mark loyalty in years and decades, items like clocks, watches, incentive travel and so on all absolutely work! But for the younger workforce, where loyalty is marked in months and maybe a couple of years (if you’re lucky), you need to reward more often, with a focus on key achievements – and we call these ‘Milestone Moments’.

Why long service rewards that are given sooner work better

Small awards given more regularly breaks up the long gap between long service recognition events – far too often; companies only recognise employees at years of service milestones, which means that valuable achievements and hard work can go unrewarded in the interim employees simply aren’t staying for decades anymore. By rewarding employees more regularly, companies are ensuring that the performance and contributions of their staff can be recognised quickly and easily – your people will feel valued and motivated. They will generally be less inclined to leave that positive motivational environment.

Decades-based long service regards just aren’t relevant to the younger workforce.

Our survey* on attitudes to long service revealed that most companies (44%) still give long service awards after ten years – yet only 29% of employees think you should wait this long to receive recognition for service.

Employers today have a much shorter time window to appropriately recognise and thank employees. That’s why the trend for Milestone Moments is growing.

The benefits to managers of offering smaller rewards are manyfold – they are less costly than larger awards, they give more flexibility to reward staff for different achievements, and they create enormous goodwill.

What are Milestone Moments?

Milestone Moments are recognition awards employees receive for achieving certain milestones in their employment journey – such as successfully passing probation, completing an important project, carrying out a training program, or absorbing additional duties.
They can be tenure or achievement based – but they are given far sooner than a ‘typical’ long service milestone, with employees waiting just months instead of years.

Examples of typical long service awards:

• 1 year service

• 3 years’ service

• 5 years’ service

• 10 years’ service

• 20 years’ service

• 25 years’ service

• 30+ years’ service

Examples of milestone moments:

• Onboarding completion

• 1st Training session completion

• 1st supplementary training completion

• 1st project completed

• Sit down with heads of all departments completed

• 1st month

• Onboarding feedback completed

• 6 months

• Training support to new employee completed

• Company introduction completed

• 9 months

• New company initiative suggested

• X number of CSR days logged

• £X raised in charitable fundraising

• Completion of annual review

• 12 months

• 1st promotion

• 2nd promotion

• 5 years+ with the company

• 10 years+ with the company

As you can see, Milestone Moments still include tenure-based recognition and rewards but add extra opportunities to incentivise and show your people how valued they are – it’s a winning blend of both!

Rewarding Milestone Moments can be treated in the same way as you would anything else guided by project management principles, where a milestone is a time-based event which marks the completion of a critical phase or activity in a project.

A quote on the importance of marking milestones in project management from the book “Project Management for Dummies” says it best:

“The best way to keep a project on track is to mark milestones along the way. Milestones allow you to measure where you are against the plan, adjusting course and activities if necessary.”

Milestone moments not only allow you to keep your team on track and motivated, but they also give more back to your business.

In our study, employees were twice as likely to say they intend to stay longer than one year when the company gives rewards.

If you already give spot rewards, situational and seasonal rewards, as well as incentives, bringing your long service awards into the future by creating Milestone Moments may be the final piece of the puzzle in solving the issue of retention and workforce motivation.

By revamping your long service awards and including Milestone Moments, you incentivise employees to exceed expectations and work towards their goals. Furthermore, it nurtures loyalty and commitment and gives staff a sense of accomplishment.

Next steps

If you would like to move away from typical long service awards and instead move to a more comprehensive blend of long service and Milestone Moments, then talk to us about how can help you set up a programme that is right for your workforce and for your budget!

Click here to set up a quick chat with one of our experts, or email us here and take the first steps to refine your reward strategy.