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Making a Difference: The Impact of Long Service Recognition

February 3, 2023

Long Service Recognition

Whether you're an HR professional, a business owner, or simply interested in employee wellbeing you know the value of recognition. Celebrating employees' achievements and milestones is essential to promoting employee engagement and creating a positive workplace culture.

Long service recognition is a crucial component of any employee recognition program. It celebrates and acknowledges the commitment and loyalty of employees who have dedicated their professional lives to a company. Recognising long service isn't just great for an employee; it builds motivation, improves retention rates and enhances a company's reputation, branding it a great place to work.

In this blog, we will explore the significance of employee long service recognition, the benefits of implementing a successful long service award program, and tips on starting your own long service recognition solution. 


Why Does Long Service Recognition Matter?

Employee milestones or workiversaries are the acknowledgement of employees for passing a significant number of months or years of service. Once an employee reaches a milestone in their career, they are often recognised and rewarded for their contribution to a company. 

Employers can recognise long service in many different ways; it often depends on the organisation, the employee and the milestone itself. 

The most popular milestones celebrated are for 1, 5, 10, or 20 years of service. But really, there are no rules when it comes to recognising employees' commitment. Some organisations celebrate each year, while others celebrate every 5 years. Some organisations may recognise their employees earlier than a year, for example, after 3 months. When and how you recognise your employee's long service is entirely down to you. 


So, Why is it Important to Recognise Long Service?

Recognising staff's long-term commitment to an organisation is one of the most important forms of recognition within a business. Remaining at one company for several years is a huge deal and should be treated as such. 

Employees are the most important aspect of any business; without hard-working and loyal staff, most businesses wouldn't survive. Long service recognition helps to show appreciation and gratitude towards employees for their dedication. 

Employees receiving appreciation, in turn, feel more valued and satisfied within their position. They are aware of the part they play and how integral they are to their organisation. This not only improves employee job satisfaction but also encourages people to continue working for your business for longer. 


4 Benefits of Long Service Recognition 

The ultimate goal for any long service recognition is to appreciate and thank employees for their long tenure. But celebrating an employee's achievements can bring some significant benefits for both employees and employers. 

1. Motivation 

As we discussed earlier, recognising milestones makes employees feel valued. As a result of your recognition, valued employees are likely to find a boost in motivation. Increased motivation can mean different things for each employee. Employees might become more motivated to work harder and go above and beyond; others may find more motivation to become more engaged with an organisation. 

2. Loyalty 

It's no surprise that valued employees are more likely to stick around. Recognising your employee's achievements and milestones is a great way to reduce turnover if you are struggling with retaining staff. In fact, workers receiving frequent and meaningful recognition are 56% less likely to search for other job opportunities. The power of recognition helps employees to find satisfaction with their role, their employers and the organisation itself. 

3. Cost-effective recognition 

Long service recognition is a simple, meaningful gesture showing employees that their hard work and loyalty have not gone unnoticed. Unlike other forms of recognition, such as cash bonuses or expensive gifts, long service recognition can often be achieved with low-cost or no-cost options. Certificates, plaques, or public recognition are all low-cost ways to celebrate milestones. 

4. Enhanced Company Reputation 

When recognition is consistently done the right way, it can dramatically alter an organisation's culture and reputation. Word travels fast and celebrating employees' milestones doesn't go unnoticed by the rest of your staff. Effective recognition can let other employees know that your business values its people. Building a culture of recognition can make an organisation very attractive, not just to current employees but future employees too. 



How To Reward Long Service

Deciding how to celebrate milestone achievements is challenging for many businesses. Employers are often conflicted when deciding on what to do to celebrate employee milestones. 

Many employers frequently ask, are certificates a good way to recognise employees? Or how much should you spend on a long service award?

To help alleviate any confusion, here is our list of the best awards and rewards for worker milestones. 


Gifts are one of the most popular ways to congratulate employees for their long tenure. Traditional milestone gifts consisted of wristwatches, custom jewellery and champagne. Today employees receive anything from luxurious experiences to new technology and electricals. Terryberry's long service award scheme allows employees to choose their own gifts from an extensive product range. This way, employees are sure to be satisfied with their chosen gift. 

Certificates and Plaques 

Certificates and plaques are also traditional and tangible ways of celebrating employee service. Once rewarded, employees can take home and display their award or keep it in the office to remind them of their appreciation. 

Public Recognition 

Publicly recognising an employee's long service engages the whole team and promotes peer-to-peer recognition. Public recognition is given out in many ways, from a social media post, a shout-out in the company newsletter, a mention in a monthly or quarterly meeting, or through a social recognition platform. 

Wondering what is social recognition? Learn more here.

Private Recognition 

When showing your appreciation, you must understand what your employees like and dislike. Not every employee enjoys being in the spotlight. Private recognition may be the way for workers who do not like to be the centre of attention. Employers can privately recognise employees in the form of an email, a personal letter or a one-to-one meeting. 

Take an employee out for lunch. 

Spending time and treating long serving employees to a free lunch is a great way to celebrate a milestone. It gives employers a better chance to connect with their staff and improve their employer-employee relationships.

Extra Day Off 

Extra time off is a great reward for any employee. Giving employees an extra day allows them to celebrate their achievements in their own way.

Financial rewards 

Employers may wish to provide their long serving employees with financial rewards to celebrate their accomplishments. Financial rewards such as bonuses, pay rises and financial benefits are effective ways to recognise and motivate employees. 


RELATED: Award Vs Reward - What is the Difference?


Best practices for long service recognition 

Long service recognition is often ineffective and unsuccessful when employers are inconsistent or unauthentic. By following these best practices, organisations can create a compelling and meaningful long service recognition scheme that provides value to both employees and the organisation. 

Make it meaningful

Employers must tailor long service recognition to the individual and their achievements. Personalised certificates, plaques, or a special mention during a company meeting can help make the recognition more meaningful.

Be timely

 Organisations must give out recognition as soon as possible after reaching the milestone. This helps reinforce the connection between the employee's achievements and their recognition.

Involve employees 

Encourage employees to share their ideas and suggestions for how employers can implement long service recognition. This can help to create a sense of ownership and involvement among staff.

Be inclusive

 Long service recognition should be open to all employees, regardless of their role or level within the organisation.

Make it public 

Public recognition, such as at an all-staff meeting or in a company newsletter, can help to build a positive work environment and foster a sense of pride and community among employees.

Make it a part of the company culture

Make long service recognition a regular part of the company culture rather than a one-off event. This can help to reinforce the importance of employee dedication and commitment to the organisation.