The Importance of Employee Recognition and the 5 Elements of a Successful Service Award Program

I worked at an organization for about 5½ years right out of college. On the anniversary of my 5 years of service, I received an envelope on my desk with no explanation, my name misspelled, and a small coffee stain on the right corner. I honestly thought I was getting fired in the most inappropriate way I could imagine. 

As I cautiously opened the envelope I saw a letter from the CEO thanking me for 5 years of service and a small catalog of awards to choose from. The catalog consisted of 5 branded trinkets ranging from a stress ball to a hat. To top it off, it was going to take nearly 4 weeks for me to get the hat. I left the office that day feeling less appreciated than I did the day before. I felt defeated and unappreciated for the 5 years and countless hours of overtime I had given that company.

So, the point of the story is, just because your company has a Service Award Program, doesn’t mean that it is well-structured, nor that it is having the impact on your employees that you believe that it is. In fact, it could be doing more harm than good.

The Importance of Employee Recognition

There are few things in the corporate world that I would consider “fun.” Most days are chock full of meetings, conference calls, and emails. However, recognizing your employees for achieving a service award milestone, is one of those things that should be a highlight of your day. It should be a chance for you to take a moment to show sincere appreciation for all your employees do for you and your organization. What is unfortunate is that many organizations have not created a strategic employee service award program that creates a culture of recognition within the workplace. By not providing employee recognition training, and not having a formal process in place, many times what should be a fun experience for all, is looked at as more of a burden or waste of time & money.

When done correctly, employee recognition can help your business retain top talent, increase employee engagement, and encourage high performance, just to name a few. Recognition can help employees build a sense of trust and security within the workplace, as well as help employees see that your company values them and their contributions. 

5 MUST HAVE Elements of Recognition

5 elements of recognition

In order for a service award program to have the most impact, there are a few simple things that need to be included. These 5 Elements of Recognition provide a framework in creating a strategic and successful recognition program that increases employee satisfaction and aligns with the organizational goals.

  1. Human Interaction: Management physically presents the award to the employee either as part of a formal banquet or a special event.
  2. Peer Recognition: A presentation option that includes either a certificate or plaque that can be displayed.
  3. Useful & Desirable Awards: Provide diverse award choice that makes the employee say “WOW!”
  4. Family Involvement: The event, the award, and the recognition experience is able to be shared at home.
  5. Immediate Gratification: Award is delivered in a timely manner, as soon as possible after the recognition event takes place.

The Five Elements of Recognition play a huge role in building a culture of togetherness, support, and total recognition. Our latest blog, What Are the Five Elements of Recognition?, takes a deep dive into each element, defining how you can use each one for improving your engagement and service award programs. 

At C.A. Short Company, we have over 80+ years of experience helping businesses develop unique recognition strategies and build improved relationships with their employees. Request a complimentary consultation today to learn how we can help you improve your existing program and assist with helping you achieve your engagement and retention goals. 

5 Elements of Recognition

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on September 19th, 2019 and has been recently updated. 

Topics: Employee Recognition, Employee Recognition Strategies, Employee Appreciation, work anniversary, years of service, employee milestones

Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

About the Author
Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

CEO & CFO
Mr. Ross, a certified public accountant, joined the C.A. Short Company as its controller in June 1993 and was named Chief Financial Officer in November 1996. From there, Jeff was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer, and in 2017, was appointed CEO. Before joining C.A. Short Company, Ross was employed as an accountant by Hausser + Taylor, a large public accounting and consulting firm. Jeff presently serves on the Board of Directors of 2XSalt Ministries, Charlotte, NC and is a member of North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Ross graduated from The Ohio State University with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1989.

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