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Years of Service Awards: Implementation Tips for Managers

Years of service awards could be a valuable part of your organization’s employee recognition efforts. There are many types of service awards, and they can make your loyal employees feel wanted and cared for. Here are some tips to help you implement effective years of service award programs.

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Where to start with recognizing years of service

For the most impact, here’s where to start with recognizing years or service:

  • Ask a variety of managers and employees for input.These people can let you know which awards employees would find most appealing, how often employees should get awards and how everyone should celebrate.
  • Decide who will get awards and when.Stick to those rules to make sure that awards are given consistently and fairly.
  • Make a budget.In this way, you can avoid unwanted expenses.
  • Appoint some people to run your company’s awards program. These individuals can keep track of employees’ years of service and make sure that all the rules around the program are followed.

Two examples of effective employment awards

A good award will make the recipient grateful and allow them to show it to others. Here are some examples of effective years of service awards:

Example:When Joan has been working at a grocery store for six months, management gives her a reusable shopping bag and a thermos with the company logo. These inexpensive gifts show her that the business appreciates her, and they increase her willingness to stay in a position that normally has high turnover.

Example:After Farouk has worked at his office for five years, he gets a plaque or a paperweight for his desk. He can also choose an additional gift that’s within a certain price range. After he looks at the catalog his company provides, he chooses a new television for his living room. This lets people at work and home know that he’s a loyal employee who works for a generous company that cares about its employees.

Actions to take for effective services awards

Here are some things you should do to make your business’s years of service awards more effective:

  • Offer awards often
  • Honor your employees publicly
  • Personalize the ceremony
  • Post it online
  • Encourage recipients to invite friends and relatives

Offer awards often

Giving people awards sooner can improve their performance and encourage them to keep working for your business. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median time that people stayed with employers as 4.2 years. For those 25-34 years old, it drops to 2.8 years. Instead of waiting for a five-year anniversary to give a years of service award, give people their first awards after one year. You’ll be able to award more people and show that you care about your employees more often.

Honor your employees publicly

A public celebration can make your workplace more fun and help employees build good relationships with each other. You could have a ceremony during lunch or celebrate with dessert after lunch. That way, everyone will have a chance to congratulate the person receiving the award. To give years of service ceremonies more gravity and importance, the CEO, the president, the owner or a division head should present the awards.

Related:Team-Building Tips and Activities to Boost Employee Morale and Engagement

Personalize the ceremony

For a memorable experience for your employees, you should personalize years of service awards. Make sure you mention people’s accomplishments as well as their time with the company. You can also list their biggest achievements on a years of service plaque. Show your staff that you care by serving their favorite food at the ceremony and choosing decorations that suit their interests and tastes. For example, you could select streamers or balloons in the award recipient’s favorite colors.

Post it online

Your company’s years of service awards will be more effective if you can let as many people as possible know about them. You can post photos, videos and comments from team members at the most recent awards ceremony on your company’s website or social mediapage. This lets applicants and new hires know that your business values its workers, fosters a fun, friendly company culture, and rewards accomplishments. It can inspire quality people to work for you.

Encourage recipients to invite friends and relatives

When friends and relatives are there to help people celebrate, special events can seem even happier. If no one can celebrate with a person during work hours, you can ask friends and relatives to send messages or videos congratulating them on social media.

Related:How to Motivate Your Employees

Years of service FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions that people have about years of service awards:

How do companies calculate years of service?

Many businesses use a spreadsheet to keep track of years of service. Place the employee’s start date in one column, and put the end date or the current date in another. Then, you can use the formula function to calculate years of service easily.

What is vesting?

Vesting is another way to reward people for their years of service. Many employers match contributions to employees’ 401ks or other retirement plans. However, employees can’t use the money that companies deposit until they’re vested in the company. Retirement plans should have vesting schedules to tell people when they’ll have full access to employer contributions. For example, a person could become 20% vested after a year and fully vested after five years. If someone is 20% vested, they can withdraw 20% of their employer’s contributions from their retirement account. They could also transfer the money to an IRA.

Are years of service awards taxable?

Cash or cash equivalents such as gift cards are taxable, and the income should be reported on employees’ W-2 forms at the end of the year. However, according to IRS rules, gifts such as plaques, jewelry or other tangible items worth up to $400 don’t need to be reported.

Years of service awards can increase morale and encourage your employees to work harder. They can also help everyone feel like part of a team.

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