Honoring Employees for Years of Service

Corporate celebration with employees gathered to recognize and individual.

Acknowledgement of employee milestones offers an opportunity to recognize achievements and can contribute to employee retention.

Employers face significantly more challenges with hiring and retaining employees than they did with Post-War and the early Baby Boomer generations. Though the opportunities for both generations in jobs and education were significant – Cold War tensions often kept employees grounded and seeking a sense of security in their employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2021 the civilian unemployment rate in the United States was a low 3.9%. It’s this low pool of candidates that often leads to employees exercising more leverage in the labor market. Often seeking more from their existing employer – including higher wages and benefits or testing the job market to determine if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.


Why the sudden shift in employee loyalty?

Though the pandemic has accelerated change, employee loyalty has been waning for decades as education and work opportunities for candidates improve and employers are often less than loyal to their staff.

Job Hopping among Millennials and Gen Z has been more prominent over the past decade as career path, higher salary, career advancement, location and work environment become important factors in where they land.

Employees working together in a happy work environment.

Can employers reverse the trend?

This is the key question that many employers struggle with every day and often requires a thorough evaluation of employer/employee relationships.

Multiple factors should be considered when determining the circumstances that may lead to team members seeking employment elsewhere.

These factors can include onboarding, mentorship, compensation, benefits, communication, evaluations, development, culture, sense of accomplishment, flexibility, and opportunities to advance just to name a few. Each comes with its own set of challenges for any employer as not every employee is motivated by the same things.



Let’s focus on recognition and its benefits to an employee's sense of accomplishment in the workplace.

Begin by asking the question – do your employees feel appreciated?

It’s easy to become so busy with day-to-day tasks that this ever important responsibility of an employer gets overlooked. It may be even more difficult to evaluate without personally asking a few key employees.

Developing a culture of recognition where employees feel appreciated is not something that happens overnight. However, implementing a few simple tools and empowering your team to use them can improve employee morale and potentially contribute to better retention.




Now let’s take a look at one of the most important milestone awards any organization can implement to strengthen employee loyalty – Years of Service Awards.



What are Years of Service Awards you ask?

Often presented in 5-year intervals, such as 5, 10, 15, 20, 25+ years – this type of service award should be viewed, designed and presented as significantly more than an acknowledgement of participating in the day-to-day operations of the organization.

A Years of Service Award is a celebration of commitment that often recognizes how valuable the employee is to an organization as well as a highlight of their accomplishments during their tenure.

Though most companies that exhibit a culture of recognition present Years of Service Awards, they are often integrated into a holistic employee recognition program. That said, it's important to stay focused on the importance of celebrating the individual and their accomplishments within the organization.


A Years of Service award should be viewed as special.

We like to think of recognition as a way for employees to stand out from the crowd for a brief moment in their career. Creating an environment in which all employees experience the honor and importance of a Years of Service Award should be supported from the top of the corporate ladder all the way down to the new hires onboarding with the company.

It goes without saying that a presentation in front of the entire company by the CEO with all management present would have a significantly more impactful outcome than slipping a box on the employees’ desk with a plaque and Starbucks gift card.

We can’t tell you exactly how and when to present your Years of Service Awards, but take note that the time spent in planning an event that honors each recipient individually will make it a milestone in the employee's career.


The details are in the design.

Here’s where working with a professional can make or break your presentation. A Years of Service Award is meant to be a special honor and as such, special attention should be paid to the design and functionality of the award. Often more of a deal toy, than a traditional award – let your creative juices flow by stepping out of the traditional trophy mindset.

Making it obvious that the employee is being presented the award for a specific number of years should be incorporated into the design. Whether created using a custom shape, colorful graphics or even using stackable components that incorporate the ability to add layers for each 5-year interval – take time to come up with something that is timeless, unique and will be treasured as a career focal point.


Presentation makes a difference.

We mentioned above how effective including management in the presentation can be, but did you know the way to really make an impact is to focus on how the award is presented? 

When presenting, take time to personalize the experience. Honor each employee for their contribution over time as well as in their everyday efforts. Presenting like a professional is something that does not come naturally to most people, so spend extra time preparing if this is new to you. Remember the goal here is to turn 5-year service awards into 10 and 15-year opportunities.

Corporate executing presenting to a room full of employees.

Here are a few good tips when presenting a Years of Service Award.

  • Introduce yourself and your positions with the company

  • Explain the importance of the award being presented

  • Highlight the recipient’s career and daily contributions to the organization

  • Include some stories that everyone in the organization can relate to

  • Invite the recipient to the front to receive and say a few words

  • Close by thanking the entire organization for their commitment to the team


How can US Acrylic Awards help?

As a manufacturer of fine awards, US Acrylic Awards has over 35 years of acrylic manufacturing experience. Our design team is the best in the industry, and you can be assured that the unique trophies we design can be replicated for uniformity contributing to the longevity of the acrylic award our team and your team create together.

Our design team is always looking for a challenge and we consider it an honor to work with our clients to help them develop memorable recognition programs.


Written by noptim unleash the power

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