Historically it was common for staff to stay at a single organisation, and therefore it was a commonplace award that frequently took the form of a watch or a carriage clock! These days it is expected that employees move around more and work for shorter periods at numerous businesses. This fact alone is actually a powerful argument for long service awards, as they help to reduce staff turnover and encourage people to remain loyal. However, they’ve got to be worth staying for!
Help to increase staff retention
It is generally accepted that rewarding staff is an important part of running a successful and desirable business. Some would argue that within this process, rewarding long service is unnecessary and that other achievements are more deserving of recognition. Whilst it is true that there are many and varied attainments that deserve acknowledgement, long service should definitely be ranked among them. Staff retention is always high on the management agenda as it’s an excellent indicator of staff morale and satisfaction. No company wants a high level of staff turnover – it’s bad for the numbers and it has a negative effect on peers and the workplace itself. Recognition programmes are known to successfully reduce staff turnover and long service awards are a great way of firmly emphasising this point. A company that rewards long service – and rewards it well – is a company that values its staff and is worth staying at.
Gone are the days of rewarding with a classic carriage clock
The classic gift of a carriage clock, as mentioned earlier, belongs in another era. It is hard to imagine now that it was ever considered a desirable and motivational gift. Long service awards today need to have an impact and must have a high perceived value to be sought after and demonstrate real appreciation. Luxury items that people often desire, but don’t feel able to buy for themselves are an ideal reward in these circumstances. Whilst monetary rewards are great, they are gone in an instant and forgotten shortly afterwards, and often are just absorbed into daily outgoings, so that any feeling of reward is sadly lost. Something tangible that can be used or looked at and remind someone that they are valued will carry a longevity of positive feeling. It can also be a good idea to grade long service awards according to years of service, so their value increases with the period of time rewarded, encouraging people to stay and stay and stay!
Be clear from the start
Rewards in general, and long service awards, need to be an integral part of company culture to fulfil their true potential. They should be discussed at interview stage, so that it’s clear how important they are within the business, and they should be publicised within the organisation every time an award is given. Sharing recognition increases the sense of value to the employee being recognised and spreads the message to other staff that this is something they could be receiving if they stick around. This is also where it’s important to fit long service awards within a wider rewards programme. If recognition was only offered in acknowledgment of long service, then awards would be few and far between, so the message to staff would be infrequent and poorly communicated. However, if they are offered alongside short term goals and attainment rewards then staff are regularly reminded of what is available, which breeds engagement and reinforces the message that this is a company worth staying at.
Use the achievement as a source to increase overall staff motivation and morale
If big budget rewards are somewhat beyond your price range then there are other ways to make long service awards count. Personalisation goes a long way to making someone feel appreciate and valued, and if an employee has worked alongside you for a number of years then it shouldn’t be too tricky to introduce a personal element. This can take several forms. The reward itself can demonstrate knowledge of the individual and what they like to do, whether it’s linked to a hobby or voucher for a favourite restaurant or hotel. In addition the presentation of the reward can be made personal, perhaps being carried out by someone who has worked closely with the recipient for a long period, sharing memorable stories and highlighting unique points about the person in question. These elements can make a reward all the more valuable and engage that employee even further, so that their personal connection with the company becomes even stronger. This also demonstrated to the workforce that long-serving team members are not just a face in a crowd, but are individually recognised and valued members of the wider team.
Long service awards should not be dismissed as unnecessary. Incorporating them into company culture, along with other forms of staff recognition, will have a strong impact on motivation, benefit your company culture and keep staff retention high.
Long service awards is just one element that can be incorporated into the Recognition module of our new MyRewards incentive platform.
We’d love to help you engage, motivate and inspire your team with our innovative Employee Recognition services. To speak to a member of our award-winning team, call us on 0370 405 2020, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or make a quick enquiry to find out how to drive your business performance today.