No doubt your company, like many other companies, offer recognition for personal milestones for your employees – the office traditional birthday cake, or baby shower for example. But when was the last time you celebrated employee anniversaries as they related to company tenure? As a part of an effective employee recognition program, doing so can be a more powerful tool that you might imagine.
The Importance of Work Anniversaries and Effective Employee Recognition
Employers in every niche understand that one of the biggest keys to long term success for any company is the retention of the best of the company's talent. However, as far too many employers know from experience rather than theory and reports is that the long serving employee is getting harder and harder to find.
The latest figures from the United State Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics reveal that median employee tenure (the point at which half of all workers had more tenure and half had less tenure) for men was 4.3 years, and for women, four years.
The figures fall even further as age decreases. For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.1 years) was more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 (2.8 years).
This 'lack of loyalty' however is not just down to the modern workforce being a more fickle one. People do still seek employment stability – especially, surprisingly perhaps, the fast growing Gen Z workforce – but a feeling that they are undervalued or under-appreciated is often a cause to move on when the chance arises.
Therefore, recognizing employee work anniversaries is important. By celebrating the anniversary of their hiring, you demonstrate to each employee the significance of their presence in the company and that another year of their time has been appreciated by management to the point that they wish to celebrate it. As is the case for many effective employee recognition 'tactics' this seemingly small gesture can go a long way.
But what are the best ways to commemorate a workplace anniversary that all of your employees will not only appreciate but remember as well? Here are just three ideas and they are all not only easy to implement but dirt cheap as well (things that are always a plus)
The Celebratory Desk
The idea of decorating an employee's workspace as a surprise to celebrate their work anniversary sounds like a very simple one. However, until you have tried it you won't understand how much the vast majority of employees will appreciate – and be delighted by – the fact that their peers and managers took the time to make the gesture just because they appreciated the fact that they had given another year of their time to the company.
Offer a 'Long Service' Plaque or Pin
If you were to go back and ask older, retired workers across all kinds of business niches many of them will remember being given a pin, plaque or even a trophy for X years of service. And many of them will still have them to show you. It's an old fashioned tactic for sure, but creating a system like this is still an excellent idea.
Some employers believe that offering monetary incentives – gift cards etc. – is a more powerful motivator these days, but that thinking is not quite correct. Employees value their efforts being recognized and if they have a small 'something' that serves as a physical and lasting reminder of that recognition – which a gift card is not – it is almost certainly likely to be more highly valued in their minds over time.
Shine a Spotlight on Employee Achievements
If your company has a blog or a monthly newsletter, make sure you use it to recognize your employees’ work anniversary or milestone. Interview them the week before and post it on the month of the newsletter and include a brief summary of their achievements and a photo of them as well. Almost everyone likes a few minutes in the spotlight and when that comes as a result of their hard work and loyalty it will mean even more to every employee you feature.