A Line Manager’s Guide to Recognizing Employee Service, Performance and Anniversaries

Recognizing Employee Service: The most common type of service award is the traditional length of service program. Celebrating employment milestones, such as at each year’s anniversary date of hire, will not only make employees feel appreciated but broadcast a cultural tone that is priceless.  These brief moments of recognition can help establish an almost forgotten feeling in today’s workplace . . . a sense of belonging. Don’t wait until an employee’s 25th anniversary to honor his or her dedication and high performance. Workers who stay with you through the ups and downs deserve to be recognized and thanked for their loyalty and excellent work more often than every ten years or so.

With so many ways to recognize employees inexpensively, there’s no reason for any employee to feel invisible or under-appreciated.  As an executive, you can foster a supportive, productive workplace environment by honestly and enthusiastically recognizing your employees whenever possible.

For a plethora of inexpensive employee recognition ideas, check out this list of 101 Ways to Celebrate People from UMatter, the University of Michigan’s Staff Recognition Program.

customized_candy_corporateRecognize and Motivate Performance Improvement: Implement a recognition program for improved performance. When employees make a suggestion that saves the company money or goes above and beyond the regular job, recognize these accomplishments with small personalized awards ceremony. Again, it doesn’t have to be a big deal.  One inexpensive employee recognition program for improved performance is to have a supply of “Thank You” candy bars, like our item CAN29 Sparkling Spots, at the ready and place one on the employee’s desk with a simple note of thanks.  Think of the power of that small gesture of appreciation!  You don’t have to spend big bucks to make your employees feel like a million bucks.

Recognition ideas don’t have to be expensive or break the bank. In fact, the bigger the cost the less likely it is that the program will be used frequently. Employees are the heart of any business and if they are not happy it  can steal the energy from their co-workers, team or job.  On the other hand, engaged employees pass on their enthusiasm to customers.  Passionate employees are a boost to any business’ bottom line. Yet most office environments inspire apathy, not excitement.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to boost employee engagement, feelings of appreciation and improved performance.  Affordable staff appreciation activities can boost engagement, partially through relationship building.

If there is a positive personal relationship with their supervisor an employee is more likely to be satisfied. Appreciation get-togethers, whether planned or spontaneous, provide opportunities for employees to connect with their peers and their supervisors. Many business customers at WrappedHersheys.com order our “Thanks a Million” recognition bar, adding their own personal touch to the customized wrapper. It will be obvious that you thought ahead and were thinking of them.

Recognizing Employee Anniversaries: Do something special on the anniversary day. What could be better than to recognize employees on their actual anniversary dates! Nothing beats a personalized presentation to the employee on the actual anniversary date. If the anniversary date does not fall on a work day, or if for logistical reasons it is difficult to arrange a special presentation on the actual date, try to recognize the employee as close to the date as possible.

HR departments like to handle events like workplace anniversaries in order to maintain a sense of equity and control.  They are, after all, charged with managing compliance and employment equity issues, but the involvement of the direct manager is also critical.  Without it these recognition programs can be sterile and mechanical.  Be sure that managers are personally delivering recognition gifts.

The purpose of employee anniversary recognition is to express appreciation to employees for years of service.  A great employee anniversary recognition program entails developing and maintaining a company culture of caring about and expressing appreciation for their years of service.

corportate_candy_giftsMost employees remember their hire date. Great managers and line supervisors do, too. It’s the career equivalent of a birthday. Acknowledge each employee’s anniversary every year. You can make it personal by presenting one of Carson’s Wrapped Hersheys “Happy Anniversary” chocolate bars as a genuine expression of appreciation.  It doesn’t have to be formal and big to be effective. A few sincere words from management will be noticed and appreciated by an employee.

Finally, create a system for remembering anniversaries. Don’t depend on HR to always remind you.  Keep your immediate team’s hire dates in mind and acknowledge them with a treat or personalized employee reward.  Differentiate special anniversaries, such as every 5 years, with one of our chocolate gift boxes.