Service and Anniversary Awards

Build a workplace culture that values employees

Service and anniversary awards go a long way towards building a workplace culture that employees perceive as valuing them. Recognition that honors and rewards employees for long-term commitment and contributions to an organization motivates and encourages employees to stay with the organization.

Service and anniversary awards are not a substitute for caring management, career growth, pay or work-life balance. They are just one part of creating an organization that has a positive and productive culture.

Surprisingly, not every company is taking advantage of this simple and effective form of employee engagement.

Surprising findings

Gallup, the global analytics and advice firm, published some startling findings in its recent report on Transforming Workplaces Through Recognition.

  • Only one in four employees feel strongly connected to their culture.
belong to organization
  • Only about one in three strongly agree they belong at their organization.
  • 40% of employees report receiving recognition only a few times a year or less
  • Almost half of employees where recognition doesn’t hit the mark are likely to be looking for job opportunities. 
  • Nearly two in three leaders say their organization doesn’t have a budget allocated to recognition.
Picture of a piggy bank noting the retention savings with keeping employees happy
  • A culture of recognition can save a 10,000-employee company up to $16.1 million in turnover costs annually.

The benefits of effective recognition

The benefits of effective recognition programs are clear. Employees report they are five times more connected to the company culture when recognized and rewarded.

Recognizing years of service or their anniversary date can make employees feel valued and appreciated, which typically leads to increased job satisfaction and organizational loyalty.

Team of employees holding round circles with a graphic of a person in each
Co-workers clapping for awards


It’s vitally important for companies to consider incorporating service and anniversary awards as part of their employee engagement and recognition programs.

Service and anniversary awards are a perfect method for organizations to show appreciation and recognize employee commitment and loyalty. Awards can be in the form of physical items, such as plaques, trophies, pins, or certificates, as well as non-material rewards, such as cash bonuses, extra time off, or other incentives.

Award ceremonies should be conducted publicly. Plaques, certificates, and trophies are usually delivered to commemorate the award. All employees should get an opportunity to see and share in the event. It’s a great time for a pizza party or other group event, either in-person, or in a virtual event.

Awards are typically given to employees who have completed a specific number of years of service with an organization, such as 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, etc., or on the anniversary of their employment start date.


A reward-gift component is a great way to make the award more memorable and to personalize it for the recipient. The gift portion of the award can be accomplished separately from the awarding of the certificate, plaque, or other token.

Increasingly awards are structured to allow the employee to choose from a curated selection of items delivered digitally. These gifts take the form of payments, gift cards – including national, international, and local options – and merchandise.

Recipient Choice

Allowing employees to choose a gift from a set of appropriate choices can increase the perceived value and memorability of the award. The act of choosing can create a sense of ownership and emotional connection to the gift. Flexibility is key, as everyone has different tastes and preferences. A gift that you’ve been wanting for a long time is perceived as valuable because it enhances your daily life in a meaningful way.

The perceived value of a reward is subjective. The ability for recipients to choose a gift is just one potential consideration that can positively impact that perception.

Team of employees holding round circles with a graphic of a check in each
organizational benefits

Organizational Benefits


Service and anniversary awards help organizations retain employees by showing employees tangible demonstrations of their value to the organization. Recognizing employee tenure and loyalty is one universal opportunity to acknowledge employees. Service recognition helps create a sense of pride and attachment to the organization, increasing long term retention.


Recognizing employees influences organizational culture where employees feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts. This leads to improved morale, and team spirit, which can boost overall productivity and performance.

Industry Appeal

Organizations that value employees develop a positive reputation as an employer. Reward programs are one component of earning a positive image as an organization that values employees and helps in recruitment.

Employee Benefits


Service and anniversary awards recognize employee’s long-term commitment and contribution to the organization, which can boost employee motivation and engagement.


Engaged employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, more committed to their employers, and more likely to contribute to company goals and objectives.


Engaged employees are more likely to be productive. Service and anniversary awards can boost employee morale, leading to increased productivity, performance, job satisfaction and productive interactions with their associates and management.

benefitting employees


Of course, service and anniversary awards are just part of what makes up an organization’s culture. The effectiveness of service and anniversary awards depends on the programs being fair, transparent, and consistently applied.

It’s also necessary to ensure that recognition is not limited to just years of service, but also includes other relevant criteria, such as performance, achievements, and contributions to the organization.

Periodic evaluation and feedback from employees can help determine if the programs are having the desired effect and help identify areas for improvement.

Service and anniversary awards can be effective in recognizing and motivating employees. When done well, these awards can have very positive impacts on employees and organizations.

Gallup® and the Gallup Panel™ are trademarks of Gallup, Inc..

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