Employee Retention is a major challenge faced by all organizations today. Organization should set up long service awards for such employees, to reward their loyalty and acknowledge their contribution towards organizational growth.
Significance of Long-serving Employees
In today’s work environment, employee loyalty is becoming quite rare. On the other hand, long-serving employees are considered highly trustworthy and still form a critical part of any organizational workforce.
In fact, companies have begun to value such long-serving employees even more in recent times as they help in creating a sense of stability in the otherwise constantly changing workforce. They retain the knowledge of important processes, understand the critical success factors and fault points of business or technical areas and are the flag bearers of the organization culture.
Rather than insinuating that such employees lack ambition and aspiration, organizations should see these employees as a means of motivating the other members of the workforce to stay with the organization for the long term.
In order to drive a sense of loyalty among the workforce, it is important for organizations to recognize and reward long service appropriately.
Unfortunately, organizations often overlook this as they feel that regular recognition of employee achievements over the years is simply enough. However, rewarding the loyalty of employees towards the organization is not the same as rewarding them for their one-off accomplishments, as part of their regular job responsibilities.
Here are a few of the best practices that organizations can adopt for setting up long service rewards for their long-serving employees:
1. Reward Achievements, not just Tenure
It is important for organizations to acknowledge the contribution of their long-term employees towards the organization over their long tenure. A long service reward should ideally focus on appreciating the achievements of these employees, and not just the time they have invested with the organization.
It is important to highlight these achievements and mention how they proved beneficial for the organization. Using the award as a means of celebrating their positive contribution, dedication, and loyalty for the organization will help enhance its relevance for the employees receiving the award and motivate them to keep going.
Ideally, some ground work should be done by the HR to understand and capture the contributions of these employees and their journeys in the organization over the years. Such stories should be mentioned during the presentation and announcement of the awards in different forums and platforms across the organization.
2. Organize an Award Ceremony
In order to add value to the rewards, it is important to present them in a larger forum such an annual meet or townhall, attended by their immediate colleagues and other members of the workforce. Just giving the award privately, or in a small informal team meeting is likely to dilute its importance.
Possibly, the best way to present the award would be in formal awards ceremony, offline or virtual, that is attended by a major segment of the workforce as well as members of the senior management. This ceremony could be a part of a bigger event such an employee annual day or foundation day of the organization. It might also be a good idea to invite the family members of the award recipients to make the occasion more memorable and further the emotional connect.
During the ceremony, the audience should be made aware of the highlights of the employee’s contribution towards the organization. The award could be announced or handed over by a member of the senior management team, preferably someone who has known the recipient for long.
3. Announce on Social Platforms
Using internal platforms such as the intranet, email broadcast, Teams/ Slack, etc., to announce the long service awards can help in creating social visibility and in motivating other employees to consider a long stint with the organization. Publicly acknowledgement of their long-serving employees helps organizations to send out a strong positive message to other employees about the opportunities for career growth and professional success available with the organization for those willing to stay for the long term.
Long service award announcements can also be shared on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Not only does it instill a sense of pride and public recognition for the recipients, it helps in enhancing the employer brand. Potential employees who see such posts on the social platforms are immediately assured of a high level of job satisfaction and the presence of a positive work culture in the organization. They perceive the organization as an employer of choice where employees are willing to invest a significant part of of their careers,
4. Make the Reward Meaningful
It is critical for the organizations to ensure that the reward holds significant meaning and value for the recipients. The reward should make the entire experience memorable and create an emotional connect with the employee. Care should be taken to make it unique and differentiated from other rewards.
Typically, certificates and mementos should be part of the award, which have emotional value. This could be combined with other rewards of monetary value such as cash, gift vouchers, paid vacations or even external training/ higher education programs.
Overall, establishing a program for long service awards in the right manner can go a long way in enhancing the sense of loyalty and commitment towards the organization among its employees.
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