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6 Great Ways to Maximize Your Service Award Investment

Oct 20, 2015

Written by: Steve Huffman
(View Author Bio)

Manager recognizing employee 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.

Change is inevitable. With today’s fluctuating economy, rapidly evolving technology and multiple generations in the workplace, a long-timer can mean someone who’s been with a company for three years. This means the employer/employee relationship has to change – the paradigms have shifted. So how do you attract and retain talented employees? It starts with a strong culture and part of that culture includes celebrating milestones.

To make an impact, your company’s service anniversary experience has to align with today’s workplace. As we head into a new year, here are the latest trends to ensure your employees get recognized at the right time - and with the right message - in an impactful way.


TREND #1: Recognize early.

Most typical service awards programs don’t recognize tenure until an employee hits the five-year mark. But with the increase of Millennials in the workforce, who tend to job hop more than other generations (91% expect to stay in a job for less than three years), it’s quickly becoming less common to make it to a five-year anniversary. All this means going five years without any type of formal recognition for service is a really long time to wait — too long — and can be a contributing factor to employee churn.

Take action: Incorporate formal recognition earlier by including 1-year and 3-year milestones in your service anniversary program. Consider including informal recognition at the 3-month, 6-month and 9-month marks such as a manager giving an employee a handwritten card along with their favorite coffee drink.

TREND #2: Engage managers.

Managers play a huge role in any service anniversary program. Their support and adoption of the program will ultimately determine its success (or failure). Managers are the ones who give milestone recognition to employees and they’re the ones who will make your program memorable, passable… or forgettable.

Take action: Make it a top priority to train managers upon the program launch or when any program updates are made so they understand the importance of milestone recognition and how best to give it. Give them access to resources they can reference when they need them and make sure there are ongoing communications to keep the program top of mind.

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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.