Is Your Service Awards Program Stale?
Service Awards are a long-standing tradition that many people like to receive. In theory, when an employee receives a service award, they take a moment to consider how their company cares for and appreciates them as a member of the team.
However, if service awards are the only form of recognition a company gives its employees, the award can almost seem empty, or as an insincere afterthought. If your company only hands out service awards as a form of recognition, your employees may appreciate the gift, but the award doesn’t send the right message. It doesn’t tell your employees that you care about them, only that you value length of service.
That is why creating an entire environment of recognition is important. So what components are important in a recognition program to make Service Awards actually mean something?
Build the Foundation
Start with the foundation of recognition which comes from the company itself. If the company does not care about its employees, then no recognition program will ever work. Do executives care about the engagement levels of their employees? Do the higher-ups understand the connection between employee experience and customer satisfaction? Is the message of an engaged company culture spread throughout the organization?
If the company is on board with a unified message behind recognition, it will be easy to build a program that works. If not, then it might be difficult to get the impact of recognition to stick with your employees.
The next component in the process to implementing effective and meaningful Service Awards is mastering the ability to reward employees for significant achievements. This means accepting the fact that when employees go above and beyond their normal scope of work, they deserve to be rewarded.
This component tells your employees that their extra work is worth a great deal to the company. It may be easy to expect a high level of great work from your employees, but when someone truly makes a difference, giving a reward shows that you appreciate the extra work. If your company ignores or brushes off large achievements, employees might feel like their contribution is not valued. When it comes time for a service award to be given, an employee might be confused why their time is worth rewarding when their actions are not.
Every now and then managers notice employees doing good work. Whether it is always following a procedure exactly as expected, or simply doing their job with a smile every day, recognizing daily acts of good work goes a long way with employee engagement. These are the times when employees truly don’t expect it, so it makes the biggest impression. It says, “We really do pay attention to the good things you do, and we want to make sure you know we appreciate you!” This goes along with large achievements, where if employees don’t feel like the company cares about their work, they simply will not appreciate a Service Award every five years.
After spot recognition comes the easiest part of the recognition ladder, and that is Social Recognition. By far the best way to improve your ROI, this aspect of recognition requires nothing but the right platform and the social atmosphere to connect with each other. When this aspect is in place, it takes the recognition experience away from just a company-employee interaction and builds a community. This not only encourages engagement from the company, but allows employees to connect with one another, demonstrate company values, and emphasizing the engaged atmosphere.
In some cases, such as with companies that frequently come in direct contact with their consumer, looping the customer in the recognition cycle is just natural. There simply is nothing quite like getting a message from a customer saying you made a positive difference in their experience. And with platforms such as WorkStride Recognition, managers or admins can tack on a monetary amount to customer recognition messages for a specific employee, increasing the impact when the employee reads it.
After all other aspects are in place, service awards can send a great message and employees appreciate them more. On their own, service awards are like a cone without ice cream. Sure, a cone is a great component when you add ice cream and toppings to it, but just like service awards without a full culture of recognition, without ice cream, your cone (read: service award) seems a little hollow and perhaps a little unfulfilling.