service awards should start at one year

Service awards should start at one year. Here’s why:

Service awards are something we always advocate for. But most companies leave it a few years to get them started.

We see our clients waiting until an employee has five, ten or even 20 years of service before they start recognising their staff. In our opinion, that’s far too late.

Service awards should start at one year for 5 reasons

It’s a small but important investment in the future

A lot of the power of recognition is in demonstrating that you’re interested and invested in your staff.

The first year of an employee’s time at your company is an important period. It’s time of adjustment, learning, and bedding in to a new place. A place you hope will be their home for a long time.

Tracking their first anniversary, and recognising, improves employee perception of their role. That perception endures as the years wear on, so it’s important to take early opportunities to build it.

Service awards are effective

Recognition has proven positive effects on engagement, productivity, motivation, loyalty and more. You can read more about the nitty gritty of that here, but the jist is simple. When there’s so much evidence of the positive effects of recognition, you’d have to be mad to not jump on your first chance to use it.

It’s often expected

“Employees expect that someone at least remembers they’ve been there a year.”

Employees aren’t going to expect to get a cash-value reward after one year. But they will expect that someone at least remembers they’ve been there a year.

Even if it feels like it’s a small milestone for you, a year is a significant part of someone’s life to spend in one place. Starting your service award schemes at one year makes that time feel well-spent. It also validates expectations from employees that their first first year get noticed.

You don’t have to pay for service awards

Recognition is as powerful, if not more powerful, than a cash-value item. You don’t have to put your hand in your pocket for an employee with one year under their belt. Starting your service awards and recognition at one year only costs you a bit of time.

It’s good for your culture

Whenever you recognise someone in public, or hold up an achievement to the rest of your staff, you’re showing your employees something that you value. In this instance, you’re showing that even the most modest loyalty is worthy of a celebration.

In turn, that’s a declaration to the rest of your staff to value loyalty and celebrate each other. Your leadership figures are the ones who need to take charge of that.

Service awards are important. They drive quality relationships between staff, your leadership, and your company culture. Starting at one year, you capitalise on the benefits of early recognition and set the tone for the future.