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Are Service Anniversary Awards Still Relevant?

Feb 22, 2018

Written by: Tricia Mikolai
(View Author Bio)

I recently published a post on LinkedIn asking if Service Anniversaries are still relevant. While the post had many views, likes and shares, no one actually responded to the question. Maybe it’s a difficult one to answer because we aren’t seeing as many milestone celebrations these days.

I think we all feel the changes in tenure across our industries: it seems like people are either leaving after a couple of years or they’ve been around for more than a decade. You aren’t mistaken – there continues to be a big change in attitudes towards the role of work in people’s lives.

According to HILDA, Department of Employment, the national average tenure in a job across all age groups is 3.3 years. In fact, those aged 25-35 average just under three years. Perhaps what’s most surprising though, is that people aged 45 and older used to average 10 years, but the average has now fallen to six years.

If tenure is decreasing, and the average longevity is less than 10 years even amongst the most mature age groups, are service anniversaries still relevant?

The answer is yes. We just need to modernise them.

An employee’s anniversary milestones now start at Year 1 and Year 3 instead of Year 5. Don’t worry about what this does to your budget. You don’t have to give gifts; instead give recognition. Make a communication campaign that’s vivid, personal and memorable. Involve leaders and peers. Make it social and public – something worth showing off about to family and friends.

Stay ahead of the curve!
Know when your drop-off points are and plan recognition accordingly. If you see people leaving between Years 1 and 2, you might need include enticement and recognition to get people to stay to Year 2.

Tricia Mikolai

Managing Director BI WORLDWIDE - Oceania

Tricia Mikolai is the Managing Director of BI WORLDWIDE – Oceania region. With almost a decade of experience in behaviour change programs, Tricia is responsible for leading multiple successful initiatives to help Fortune 1000 companies drive performance improvement. She is committed to sharing her knowledge and experience with business leaders to help them drive and sustain business results.