Starting Up a Service Awards Program – Employee Recognition

Q: We have recently started a Years of Service Program. Some employees are unhappy with the program because we are recognizing those who have been with the company for five and ten years. Those that reached five years service in previous years are not included. How do we start a program like this without upsetting long-time employees, some of which who have been with us since the beginning (fourteen years)?

A: The purpose of a service program is generally to demonstrate that long term service is valued. This means you need to initially recognize all long term service. regardless of the additional cost. If you don’t, you will cause ill will with the people you most need to honor.

To create a positive experience on startup you need to do four things:

1) Create a ‘from the start’ award that is very special. This will be an award that is never offered again. Give it to anyone who has been with the company since its inception.

2) For those that have been with the company more than 5 years, but not from the start, give them the appropriate 5 year increment award. For instance, for the person who has been there 8 years, the presentation would be of the 5 year award. In two years he or she would receive the 10 year award. During the presentation, management should acknowledge that the receipient has actually been there longer and that this is a retroactive award.

3) Put awards in place for lengthier service. I realize no one has reached the 15-, 20- or 25-year milestones yet, but they should be able to anticipate how they will be awarded.

4) Be sure that management gives the awards and prepares a meaningful presentation.

(for more on designing and implementing a program see this post)

All the best,



1 Response to “Starting Up a Service Awards Program – Employee Recognition”

  1. 1 Top Applications for Latin American Corporations Trackback on December 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm
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My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.

Visit my website today!

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