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Best Practices in Modern Employee Recognition

As a 150-year-old business, Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts has seen trends come and go.  Frosted hair and shoulder pads, check.  Doorknocker earrings, check.  Jeweled butterfly hair clips, check.  The same is true even in an ageless category as rewarding and recognizing employees with a gift.  Evaluating a service plan on a semi-regular basis demonstrates that the employee recognition effort is sincere and an integral part of the workplace culture.

Types of Service Award Programs

Businesses recognize their employees in a host of ways.  Some companies give all employees a holiday gift while some see the CEO call each employee on their birthday.  At Borsheims, the recognition programs come in all shapes and sizes.  The most consistent type of recognition, regardless of company size is a recognition program celebrating significant years of tenure.  Often these programs recognize at the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40-year tenure marks.  Amazingly so, Borsheims has even done special recognition gifts for employees at 45, 50, and 55-year tenure celebrations!

A question often asked is, “how much?”  Meaning, how much should a business spend on employees at significant anniversaries?  This too, can vary widely across companies.  Some businesses recognize employee tenure levels starting at $50 for five years and increase by an additional $50 per level.  Other companies choose to start at $150 for five years and add an additional $150 for every level achieved.  In other words, by the time the employee reaches 20 years, they will receive a gift valued at $600.  In short, there is no right or wrong, value-driven or excessive, high or low amount for conventional recognition.  The only guide is that it should feel right to the particular companies’ culture.

Benefits of Implementing or Updating a Service Award Program

For many years, engraved wine glasses were a standard go-to gift from businesses to their employees.  How or why this trend became popular is lost to time.  Likely companies thought that this conveyed an elegance that extended to their appreciation of their employees.  Perhaps it was the top tier offering of logo-ed merchandise.  Whatever the reasoning, Borsheims now sees (and recommends) companies take a more varied approach to their service awards program.

However, a business chooses to recognize their employees, a best practice is to implement an annual recognition event.  Annualizing the event ensures a small but mighty aspect—that the recognition occurs! 

Annualizing a plan also ensures that the structure is still appropriate for the business.  An excellent service program provider will also offer to do an annual review with your company to highlight popular merchandise in each category, unpopular merchandise to eliminate, advisement on the monetary levels, and logistical improvements for ordering and delivery. 

Ways to Modernize A Service Plan Offerings

Most businesses are surprised to learn that the most popular offerings in a service award program are everyday items like coolers, binoculars, grills, and kitchen appliances.  Why are these common items so popular?  At Borsheims, the theory is that these high-quality staples are nice to have but even more appreciated when someone else is paying for it.  There is a seasonality to gifts selection as well with coolers and outdoor entertaining merchandise being popular in the summer months while slow cookers and panini makers dominating the fall and winter months. 

Following popular holiday gifting trends can also provide valuable insight on what to include within a service award program.  At Borsheims, having noticed the giftability of Apple Watches over the past few holidays, it was deemed an important inclusion in our clients’ service award programs.  Having a trusted partner monitor these trends and advise on recommended additions is an essential aspect of a quality service award administrator. Rewarding and recognizing employees is a critical component of ensuring satisfaction and tenure within an organization.  Not only is it a best practice to have a consistent cadence of expressing gratitude for employee tenure, but it also is a best practice to continually update and evaluate a program.  Doing so ensures that the intent and appreciation from the business is always expressed to the employee.