5 Benefits of Implementing Years of Service Awards For Work Anniversaries


Traditions in the Corporate World

It’s possible to become so wrapped up in tradition, we can forget why we’re doing something. When that happens, we run the risk of simply “going through the motions.” Sadly, this occurs far too often when it comes to honoring employees for their loyalty and commitment.

Offering Years of Service awards and celebrating employee milestones has been a mainstay of American culture for the past 80 years. And while a majority of businesses, especially those in competitive markets, still participate in such programs, few understand WHY they’re doing it.

Why You Should Celebrate Your Employee’s Work Anniversaries

Many benefits can come from honoring your employee’s anniversary with your company, especially when celebrated with Years of Service Awards. Below are five potential outcomes that can occur when you show your employees how much you appreciate them.


Improving employee turnover and retention rates goes beyond great benefits and a stable work environment. One of the ways to improve these rates is to recognize the commitment your employee has given to your company.  When employees feel valued by their organization and see that the job they’re doing matters, they are far more likely to continue working for your organization.

However, if your employees feel undervalued, they will almost certainly jump ship.

Lack of recognition is the number one reason most employees leave their jobs. A 2017 study found that 66% of workers would quit their jobs if they didn’t feel appreciated. When the participants were segmented by generation, Forbes discovered that 75% of millennials would leave an employer that failed to adequately recognize their contributions.

Offering awards for the time individuals have spent with your company, you are boosting the entire company’s morale by showing that you value employee’s contributions.


Work Anniversary awards don’t just help you retain your current employees, they also help you attract future ones by showing how much you care about your team.

With so much of the workforce feeling underappreciated, it’s no wonder the majority of workers – including 60% of millennials – are actively looking for jobs. This provides a tremendous opportunity to separate yourself from the competition and show the world how much your organization values its employees.

One of the ways you can do this is by publicly recognizing your loyal employees via an effective Work Anniversary awards program.When you share your employees’ success across social media, and follow other Years of Service award best practices, you send a powerful message to prospective hires: we value and reward our employees. Future talent prospects will be more likely to join your company if you regularly celebrate employee anniversaries.


For your recognition efforts to deliver maximum results, it’s imperative your company creates a Culture of Total Recognition. This requires showing appreciation across three core levels: formal recognition, informal recognition, and day-to-day recognition, each important for maintaining a sense of appreciation across all employees. 

Years of Service awards are a cornerstone of formal recognition. Traditionally, these awards are given once a year during a banquet. With only a few employees honored for hitting significant work anniversaries, the ceremony and award presentations can (and must) be customized for each recipient.


The benefits of a Culture of Total Recognition – the kind that’s only made possible by a quality Years of Service awards program – are staggering.

That’s not hyperbole either. Back in 2017, Gallup went on a mission to discover exactly how much a difference engaged and recognized employees make. The results were pretty clear!

When compared to companies with low levels of engagement, businesses with the most engaged employees experienced, on average:

  • 24% to 60% reduced turnover
  • 41% less absenteeism
  • 70% fewer safety incidents
  • 40% fewer quality defects
  • 17% higher productivity levels
  • 20% more sales

There are many more benefits to engaged employees that can be found on our blog.


Finally, one of the best benefits that come with a Work Anniversary awards program is the peace of mind that comes from doing the right thing.

Your employees are more than just the name on their desk or a number in your payroll. They’re someone’s friend, parent, child — and they have a choice when it comes to employers. So make sure they know they’re making the right one, by illustrating how much you value and appreciate their service.

For tips on how to recognize the employees at your organization, you can download our complimentary checklist, Creating a Total Recognition Program.

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This blog was originally published on September 26, 2019 and was updated on February 16, 2021 for accuracy. 

Topics: years of service awards, work anniversary, years of service, employee milestones

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.

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