Taking a Fresh Look at Your Service Anniversary Program

September 22, 2021

By Patti Traglio
Things change. We have only to look back on the past several months of disruption related to the pandemic to understand how true this is. And, while change is usually not quite so sudden or severe, companies are always being impacted by changes that can make legacy systems no longer as effective as they may initially have been.

The same is true of your service anniversary program. Recognition is a key driver of employee engagement, loyalty, and retention. But that’s true only if your recognition efforts are aligned with your organizational goals and employee needs.

Getting Results with Your Service Anniversary Program

Too often, organizations institute a recognition program and take a “set it and forget it” approach with it. While you certainly want a program that is easy to use, flexible and requires little in the way of administration and upkeep from you, that doesn’t mean the program will continue to meet your needs year after year after year.

Well managed and well utilized your recognition program can yield exceptional results. In fact, a Harvard Business Review survey found that 82% of employees don’t feel they get the recognition they deserve — 40% would be inspired to give more effort if they were recognized more frequently for their contributions. But not all efforts are equally effective.

It’s a good idea to take an annual look at your service anniversary program to ensure it continues to meet your needs. Now is an especially good time to do this as you consider how a hybrid work environment may be impacting your workforce.

Here we take a look at some key questions to ask as you evaluate your current recognition program or consider how to implement and introduce a new program.

Is Your Program Aligned with Current Needs?

From a strategy perspective, it’s important that your awards program is aligned with your mission, vision, and values and that it serves current needs. The program should offer recognition for employee behaviors that align with these strategic drivers.

A closely related question is whether your mission, vision, and values still reflect the current state of your organization. The pandemic may certainly have had some impact here. In addition, if your company has been involved in a merger or acquisition that could lead to changes in direction.

Do Your Organizational Leaders Support the Program?

Executive level support for your rewards and recognition program ensures that it is valued by employees and that they understand its importance. With a service anniversary program, having leaders communicate regularly about the importance of employee retention and satisfaction — and tying those messages into your actual retention and satisfaction metrics can provide relevance and support to your recognition efforts.

Does the Program Meet the Needs of Diverse Employee Segments?

Your service anniversary and awards program shouldn’t be designed as a “one size fits all” offering because one size doesn’t fit all. Our 2021 Trends and Forecasts Report identified tailoring rewards to a multigenerational workforce as an important trend for organizations to follow for effective employee engagement.

Your workforce is made up of employees representing multiple generations, different types of diversity, different personal and professional goals, etc. They don’t value the same type of awards or recognition efforts. It’s important that you evaluate your program to ensure that it will appeal to a multigenerational workforce. Surveying both managers and employees can help determine what works and what doesn’t, for your various workforce segments.

Are Managers and Other Key Staff Well Educated About the Program?

Having a program that isn’t part of the fabric and foundation of your overall organizational recognition and retention efforts is a waste of resources. Managers, supervisors, and others integral to employee recognition efforts should be educated about the program, how it works, its benefits, and best practices in sharing critical information with employees. In addition, managers should have access to data to help them understand program usage. The organization and its HR leaders should also be able to get access to see how different managers may be accessing and administering the program to help identify best practices and opportunities for improvement.

Does Your Technology Platform Meet Your Organization’s Needs for Functionality, Reporting, and Measurement?

An effective and efficient technology platform is critical for the functionality and performance of your program. It needs to meet organizational needs in terms of ease of access and the user experience, as well as provide opportunities for meaningful reporting and measurement to determine the effectiveness of the program. Data gathered can be used to optimize the program to increase adoption and awareness and improve participation.

Are You Communicating Often Enough and Through the Right Channels to Engage Employees?

Effective employee recognition is a process, not an event. Ongoing communication through multiple channels—e.g., email, chat, text, video, face-to-face and even within your employee experience platform — is necessary to ensure that all employee segments are addressed and engaged.

Are You Getting Optimal Value from Your Investment?

With any technology investment, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your investment — not just initially, but as you continue to use the technology. Are you only paying for what you need and not the “extra’s” that you may not be using? As you measure program effectiveness, how are key performance indicators (KPIs) performing relative to business goals? Are you able to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI)?

Service anniversary programs can provide a wide array of benefits to organizations of all kinds and sizes. It’s important, though, that you regularly evaluate the performance of your program to make sure it continues to meet your needs. We’ve covered just a few of the many considerations that can help you ensure that your service anniversary and award program is meeting organizational and employee needs. 

Showing your employees appreciation for their years of service or retirement is all about the experience. With Inspirus Connects, you can create a unique personal and social employee experience that includes milestone recognition, fostering a greater sense of belonging, job satisfaction, and productivity. Schedule a demo to learn more.