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Recognizing and Rewarding a Service Milestone (Guest Blog)

Workers can be recognized for meeting or exceeding certain metrics or achievements, they should also be rewarded for reaching a specific service milestone.

In August, I will celebrate another service milestone – my nine-year anniversary at Xceleration.  Nine years!  During my tenure here I’ve voted for President twice, seen the release of several generations of iPhones, and the assembly, disassembly and reassembly of The Avengers.

Nine years seems like a lifetime in today’s working world and indeed, it is.  According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers have served their current employees for an average of 4.2 years.   While this news may disprove the theory that most employees jump from one placement to another every year or so, the average length of tenure leaves much to be desired for employers looking for a loyal, dedicated and steady workforce.

A key component to keeping employees engaged and happy is instilling a culture of recognition.  While workers can be recognized for meeting or exceeding certain metrics or achievements, they should also be rewarded for reaching specific service milestones, typically beginning at five years of service and then every five years thereafter.  By creating a service milestone program, employers can properly acknowledge their employees’ loyalty and service.

While service milestone awards can revitalize and energize the workforce, there’s an additional bonus as well.  If service milestone awards meet IRS guidelines, they can be exempted from the recipient’s taxable income.  This differs from other types of employee recognition awards which can be included as part of the worker’s taxable compensation.

service milestone

Rewarding a service milestone can have a large impact on your company culture when that dedication and hard work is acknowledged in front of the employee’s peers by his/her manager.

You may ask “what exactly are service milestone awards and what do I receive?”  The answer depends on your company and the length of your employment.  Service milestone awards should be meaningful for both the employer and the employee.   Some companies present eloquently-worded letters from the Leadership Committee, while others hand out personalized plaques or trophies. Still others allow employees to choose their own award from an award catalog based on their tenure.  As the employee progresses through the company, the award given for each milestone should increase in value.  While the methodology for rewards may differ, all companies should make sure that the service milestone honoree is recognized by management and their peers.  This could be as simple as acknowledging the anniversary during a meeting or a rolling scroll on the company intranet, or as grand as commemorating the milestone on a marquee.

For my fifth anniversary, I chose an iPad mini as my service milestone gift.  Each time I read an e-book or listen to a podcast, I remember that I was able to earn this iPad in recognition for my continued employment and service at Xceleration.

I’m already thinking of what I’ll earn next year as I celebrate my 10thanniversary!

Brandi Neeld is a Client Partner at Xceleration.

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