years of service awards need a recognition component

How much should you spend on years of service awards?

Your business needs to recognise employees for staying with your company through years of service awards. We’ve been saying it for years now: the milestones really do matter.

Even if you don’t think employees should get recognition for sticking with your company, your employees do. A lot of employees think they should start being recognised for their loyalty after just one year.

They notice employers who miss their work anniversaries. That will affect how staff see their managers, how they see the company, and how they see themselves at work.

Cash-value rewards you dish out on top of that are trophies, persistent reminders of your appreciation for employee loyalty. Trophies amplify recognition, but they don’t replace it.

With that in mind, we have a rough guide to scale years of service awards to cash-value rewards based on our experience with clients.

The loyalty to cash value scale:

Three years:

Up to £25

Five years:

Up to £140

Ten years:

Up to £280

Fifteen years:

Up to £400

Twenty years:

Up to £500

Fifty years:

Up to £1,300

So, there you go. A scale to operate to. It feels kind of cold, right? Just numbers quantifying someone’s time into the value of a years of service award.

It’s not even like it’s a lot of money, it’s pretty reasonably priced. That’s because the recognition matters as much as the reward. You have to put the effort in to make it spicy and exciting. Two things make a big difference: the manner of the award presentation, and what you use as a cash-value reward.

Humanising awards with recognition

Recognition for loyalty needs to be personalised and public.

Leaders need to make the effort to personally show their appreciation for employees staying with the company. Personalising recognition for loyalty shows managers are genuinely interested in their staff, making it more likely rewarding and recognising loyalty will have positive effects on staff.

Recognition for loyal service should be public. Open recognition has a greater impact on the employee, because it affirms the value of their place in the company.

Recognition being public also affects employees beyond the person being recognised. They see leaders valuing and appreciating other staff, and know in turn that both employees and loyalty are valued in the company.

Cash value, not cash

We’ve used the term cash-value, not cash, a few times in this blog. That’s no accident. Cash makes a pretty poor employee reward. You can read all about that here, so we’ll spare you another lecture on it.

Non-cash rewards your employees would appreciate instead of money:

  • Choice: Let them pick a reward for themselves with gift cards, e-gift cards or a catalogue.
  • Training: Help employees reach their professional goals.
  • Time: Offer extra holiday days, or a sabbatical.
  • Trophies: Certificates, plaques and other trophies of service.
  • Control: If they’ve been pushing for a special project, let them spearhead it.
  • Experience: Organise an exclusive VIP experience for something they love.
  • Travel: Flights or accommodation to a dream destination.

If you don’t know your employees well enough to know what gets them excited, stick to offering choice. Give employees access to a broad catalogue of rewards and let them pick something they can cherish at a cash-value level.

Don’t subject yourself to trying to maintain a catalogue of rewards for your own company. It’s a huge pain the in the neck and a needless time-sink when you can use products like gift cards and e-gift cards to put rewards in the hands of staff.

You’ve got a guide to how to value years of service awards, now it’s time to put the effort in to maximise its positive effects for your business.