Service Recognition Still Works

Does your company recognize and reward employees for their years of service? Many people think such service recognition programs are obsolete. But it may be a more important part of your company’s culture than you think.

According to performance expert Tom Miller (writing on, recognizing employees for their time in service is “a great tool to communicate and build culture.” Employees who remain with the same company for long periods of time enrich a company’s value and build continuity. Miller cites Frederick Reichheld, author of The Loyalty Effect, who says that, “long-term employees learn on the job how to reduce costs and improve quality, which further enriches the customer value proposition and generates superior productivity.”

As such, Miller says that the most successful companies “use every opportunity they can to remind employees why it’s great to work there.” Building loyalty is important in this age of job hopping because, unlike other assets, “human capital” appreciates over time. A recent recognition survey found that: 97% of employees surveyed responded, “It is important to receive recognition.” 90% stated, “Receiving recognition motivates me to improve my job performance.”

Only 46% of employees said, “My manager provides ample and effective recognition.”

Max Messmer, author of Managing Your Career For Dummies, says, “By acknowledging your employees’ achievements, you let them know their contributions are integral to the organization’s success.” Messmer offers the following tips for effective motivation:

Give praise in public. Acknowledge an employee’s achievements in a public forum such as a staff meeting. This is great for the individual’s morale and motivational to others.

Tailor your reward. Recognition can be formal, such as starting an “Employee of the Month” program, or as simple as a face-to-face compliment or thank-you note. Learn what works best for each individual and acknowledge his or her accomplishments accordingly.

Know your team. Interact frequently with your staff and get to know them on a personal level. Employees are most motivated when they feel valued.

Promote two-way communication. The best managers spend more time listening than talking. Maintain an open-door policy; employees who feel comfortable communicating with supervisors are more inspired to deliver their best work.