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SPOILER ALERT: You've been giving service anniversary awards no one wants

Aug 19, 2015

Written by: Steve Huffman
(View Author Bio)

Old service anniversary awards pocket watch BI WORLDWIDE Latin America.


At BI WORLDWIDE, we use the principles of behavioral economics to create the best engagement strategies on the planet. We work with expert academics who advise us on the latest research on human behavior, engagement and decision-making. We use non-cash rewards and recognition to engage and motivate employees and sales teams. Check out our case study library to see how our customized and results-driven solutions have helped clients all over the world.

Whether yours resides at work or at home (or both), the ubiquitous junk drawer is often the final resting place for items too valuable to discard but unlikely to be used. Commonly, the drawer or closet becomes the place where many types of service anniversary gifts end up. Open yours up and take inventory – it’s amazing what you can collect over the years. A recent search by a colleague that has worked at a Fortune 500 company for many years yielded some interesting results.


Brand new 10K gold lapel pins

Chances are you have a whole selection of valuable emblems that you’ve never worn. A recent search on eBay yielded 44,000 results (most likely a result of cleaning out the drawer!) where these symbols of achievement end up being sold to the highest bidder. Lapel pins are a fine way to symbolize appreciation but Millennials won’t wear them.

(Frankly, neither will Baby Boomers!) Anything with precious metal content could have a significant impact on your budget because of sharp fluctuations in price.

Dust Collectors

Be it a full lead crystal bowl or a 9” world globe, these very traditional awards have lost a lot of fans over the last several years. As the demographics of your workforce continuously change, many of your participants desire awards that suit their lifestyle at work and home.


Although once a staple in every level of the program, the camera has been overtaken by the smartphone, relegating it to the junk drawer.

Desk Sets

A mainstay for years and complete with all of the necessary desk tools, they have become another dust collector for many and have moved from the desk top to the desk drawer.

Picture Frames

Typically adorned with the corporate logo and possibly the home of the printed certificate of recognition you received, these gifts are usually pushed to a far corner of the desk until they’re put into the drawer.

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Steve Huffman

Steve Huffman

Vice President
Recognition Services

As VP of Recognition Services, Steve works with an experienced team of Design and Delivery Specialists that are devoted to the development and distribution of symbolic and lifestyle merchandise awards programs. His focus is on the customer’s needs and expectations as they relate to recognition systems and individual award initiatives. Steve has been a member of the Recognition Team for over 25 years and with BI WORLDWIDE for more than 30.