Celebrating a service anniversary is an exciting time for any employee. I admit I even get a little excited knowing that my ten-year anniversary is around the corner. How an organization chooses to celebrate the anniversary directly impacts the employee’s perception of the value the company places on them.
One challenge organizations can face is getting managers to deliver the message – the organization appreciates the employee’s dedication and career contributions – in a meaningful way. As a leader how many times have you received survey results about the service recognition moment with answers like, the box was left on my desk or my manager handed it to me in the hallway, shook my hand and went on their way? It’s happening more than you would like, right? Let’s be honest, those are not exactly meaningful moments.
So how can organizations help managers deliver a better experience? There isn’t a simple answer. However, a good start is to determine whether or not managers have the right tools and know what good recognition looks like; often they don’t. It’s also important to note that organizations have a diverse group of managers with different levels of experience, some that have not had the opportunity to present an award at all.
Providing managers with recognition tools and coaching can help reinforce the behaviors the organization is looking for. Don’t know where to start? Try using these service recognition tools with your team:
The Presentation Plan
One of the easiest ways to start the process is to brainstorm. As an employee, have the manager think about himself or herself. How would they want to celebrate their anniversary? Who would they like to attend? Where would they want it to take place? Those are just some of the questions managers need to think about when planning a presentation.
Keep in mind; each service anniversary is as unique as the employee celebrating it. The presentation doesn't need to be big – just meaningful, and that requires a little planning. Here’s a tip - schedule time. If it’s in you calendar it happens, right?
How To Make The Moment Memorable:
- Pick a date – remember the presentation should be on the anniversary date or as close to the date as possible. Avoid celebrating after the anniversary date because it looses meaning.
- Pick the time – don’t plan a presentation for the end of the day; it could be viewed as last-minute or forgotten. Try mid-morning before lunch or if possible, have an informal luncheon.
- Choose a location – make it appropriate to the years of service reached. From an office area or conference room to an outside courtyard or local eatery, pick a place that fits the moment.
- Teamwork – get others involved. Part of a memorable presentation means making it a team effort. Putting thought into who should attend and speak (past & present colleagues) not only personalizes the moment, but helps you with coordination.
- Communicate – Announce the celebration to team members, organization leaders and co-workers. If applicable, involve company intranet, send an invite email or schedule a meeting to share your plans.
- Personalize – What would make the moment memorable and meaningful? Ideas include sharing a funny story, personalizing the script and acknowledging the employee’s contributions, special efforts and accomplishments throughout the year or asking co-workers and former supervisors to provide comments.
We all know that employees are important. Their contributions and dedication to the organization contribute to the success of the company. Recognizing those achievements through a well thought out presentation reiterates that they are valued employees and thanks them for their loyalty.
As a manager, a service anniversary is the perfect opportunity to create a meaningful recognition experience, yet for many, it’s the biggest challenge to make happen. Finding time in a busy schedule to plan for a presentation can be tough, and it won’t happen overnight. But, with a little thought and help from others, they can to deliver a powerful presentation to your employee!