Getting It Wrong – Employee Service Awards

Prior to getting into this awards business both Steve and I were in corporate America and we attended lots of employee awards banquets. We ourselves, in Vermont Trophy & Engraving, did the knee jerk thing and made plaques (and gifts) for 5 and then 10 year employees.

But then I read the Carrot Principle (by Gostick & Elton) and one of those awful "Duh" moments happened. While everyone does awards at 5 years, the majority of employee turnover happens in the first 18 months. Thinking back on my career that was about the length of time I spent on the jobs that didn't quite measure up.

So who are the folks leaving? The ones you're happy to lose or those proactive enough to get up and go? If the latter, then maybe some of the 5 year awardees are there because they lacked the initiative to look for something else. (I once had an employee who told me his previous manager made him so mad that he ALMOST looked for another job - that was red flag for sure).

How do we keep the best and help those who stay for inertia’s sake move on?

What do you think? How are service recognition awards done best? Should time on the job be a main item? And what are the best awards and how should they be given?

More to come…