Years of service, awards and morale

While most companies have programs to reward their employees on their work anniversaries (which typically begin in the fifth year and then in five-year increments), most are not well thought out. A 2012 report from Bersin & Associates found that more than $ 40 billion is spent annually on programs that reward employee tenure.

The average business has a budget of $ 25 a year to spend each year of service for awards. Therefore, for 10 years of service, you would expect to receive an award worth around $ 250 from an average company. Companies may award these awards to their employees tax-free as long as the award (and any tax-free performance bonuses) does not exceed a value of $ 1,600 in any given year.

Recent research found that nearly 75% of companies offer tenure rewards to their employees. When asked why, the most common reason was to encourage employee retention, and the second most common response was to show appreciation and moral drive. The way most of these programs are administered today, they are unlikely to achieve either of those two stated goals.

First, many companies hire outside help to administer their program, which depersonalizes the process and does not generate loyalty or a sense of appreciation. Think for a moment about what would make you feel more appreciated, the choice of a knife set, a blender or a watch or an item specially selected for you (of similar monetary value) that was useful for a passion of yours outside of work? I guess it wasn’t a difficult choice.

Second, most companies don’t take full advantage of these special opportunities. Even if the gift were a choice of non-personalized items, you could make it more meaningful by presenting it to the employee in a hands-free meeting. To make it even more impactful, have a few old bosses or coworkers share stories about the work they did with the employee that reinforce the company culture and promote cohesion in the future.

Too many companies give these awards privately and all subconscious benefits for other members of the organization are lost. Seeing a valued coworker appreciated gives others hope that they too are, or will soon be, appreciated. It also serves to allow older workers to take a walk down memory lane and recall the history and origin of the company, while younger employees learn details through stories about the company that made it its true. what is today. These stories represent the heart and soul of a company and can serve to create loyalty and motivation for each employee’s daily mission.

The average time a worker stays at your company today has dropped to an average of 4.6 years, making effective retention programs more important today than ever. An anniversary is an emotional experience for most people, and when handled properly it can generate immeasurable benefits for that person and the company.

Conversely, when work anniversaries are mishandled, it often breeds resentment and reduces worker happiness and productivity in substantial, often invisible ways that impact the company, kill morale, and affect future retention and hiring. quality employees.

I recently heard a story that shocked me and disgusted me, because it was handled so badly. The company had previously given anniversary gifts to employees and without prior notice changed its policy. An employee who turned 20 for the company, instead of receiving a gift, received a card through FedEx in which he thanked his 20 years of service. He was so disgusted (and probably hurt) that he taped it to the top of the blackboard in his office and wrote “this is what you get for 20 years of service here.” You can only imagine the effect it will have on everyone else in the company.

If companies viewed years of service awards as an investment rather than a cost, and used them as opportunities to celebrate and reinforce values, they would be returned multiple times. Unfortunately, most companies treat them as a checkbox and end up being very dollar wise and stupid.

Fortunately, some companies understand the importance and value these rewards can have for individuals and their business. One of the best uses for these awards that I know of is a company in Los Angeles that has a Ferris wheel that is prominently displayed in their office. The wheel has prizes ranging from a $ 100 Starbucks gift card to an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway to San Francisco and many other great rewards like car washes for a year, etc.

Every time an employee turns an anniversary year (beginning in the first year and every year thereafter), they can spin the wheel for all employees to see. This is not only a morale booster, but it also reinforces how much fun it is to work there. For most employees, an anniversary is viewed in the same way as a birthday, so why not take the time to celebrate it every year?

I even checked the website, where people can anonymously rate their current or former company and management, to see what people were saying about this company. Not surprisingly, it was rated as high (4.8 out of 5) as I’ve seen for a business on that site. The following two comments seem to summarize what it is like to work for the company: “Good office environment; good people collaborating and trying to achieve together” and “Executive management is trying to communicate as effectively as possible to keep the company on track. generally informed and ‘up to date’ – that’s what makes it a great place to work. “

When employees feel valued and are a part of something, they will generally walk through a brick wall for the company. When they feel taken for granted and unappreciated, they will shut down and do the bare minimum. Companies that are full of the latter rarely realize what it might have been. It’s like I tell my daughter, rude people usually get what they ask for, but educated people usually get more than they thought possible.

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