Your role in celebrating a career-milestone award on a person's work anniversary is to create an experience that the recipient will always remember. Follow these tips to learn the best practices for celebrating employees' career milestones.
Put managers in charge of recognizing their employees' milestones.
Assign managers to acknowledge their employees before or on the day of their anniversary. Hold them accountable by following up on what they did and share their employee's reaction.
Honor employees in a meaningful way.
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Plan ahead of time to collect information and insights about award recipients to help everyone remember them and their contributions. Allow these musings and memories of years of service be reflective and memorable.
Highlight your employees' attributes.
Interview previous bosses and colleagues to discover their unique characteristics and attributes.
Tailor the guest list.
As appropriate to the individual share these thoughts in the presentation. Plan who the attendees should be. Brief anniversaries are informal and can include their team members, or acknowledged one-on-one between the employee and manager. Longer years of service merit finding out if a senior leader or family members should be present. Always find out their wishes first.
Choose the right setting.
Check out your organization's facilities and see if there is a "perfect" setting to add to the whole award experience. With many teams working remotely, consider celebrating in a virtual format (e.g., Zoom). Discover if there are special memories associated with specific spots that could create a unique memory.
Record the event.
Assign a team member to photograph and/or record the event. Have a sign-in book or cards for people to write their congratulations and thoughts, or set up a video where people can record messages.
Pick the right presenter.
Whether it is their immediate manager or a senior leader, figure out who the best person is to present an award. It should be someone the recipient has a positive relationship with and who they personally respect and admire.
Recognize the honorees' achievements.
You have the opportunity to acknowledge all the employee has done up to their anniversary date. Let them know how their contributions have impacted others and made a difference to the organization.
Treat the honorees like stars.
Take a page from the Academy Awards and treat your milestone employees like the celebrities they are. Strive to turn every service award day into a celebration and not just a presentation.
Highlight the honorees' value to the company.
Make the career milestone recipient's feel fulfilled by showing them and others how they have lived by the organizational values. Let them know the organization could not be where they are today without their contributions.
Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is the author of Practicing Recognition. He is also a recognition strategist and the chief learning officer at Engage2Excel.