When it comes to recognition, the most popular or well-known sort of recognition is related to tenure. 

You’ve likely heard the statistic that nearly 87% of all reward and recognition spend goes to long-service service awards, which is why it’s important to also consider using some of that budget for alternatives to long-service awards, too. 

While continuous and frequent reward and recognition is often the goal for our clients, tenure shouldn’t be ignored. The key is to make it a part of your holistic reward and recognition strategy, as we show on our Recognition Pyramid framework.


With the average tenure of employees at just over 1.6 years, and this number varying wildly among multigenerational workforces, longevity at a company is certainly something to celebrate! To extend the moment of long service awards, there are a few things employers can put in place. 

making-progress-milestonesFirst, with the award itself, make sure that it’s something meaningful that the employee would actually want to use. 

Our Reward Marketplace already gives employees the ultimate choice and flexibility on their reward experience, choosing from vouchers to popular retailers, charitable donations, swag and more.

On top of the award, make sure that your recognition tools include peer-to-peer eCards, free for employees to send to one another. 

If the company knows a certain employee’s anniversary is coming up – our clients’ managers get alerted a week in advance so they can be ready – they can opt to send a ‘Happy Anniversary’ eCard to their coworker with a personal message or a funny GIF to commemorate the moment. 

Having your employees share a short message about their tenure when they reach a milestone makes the moment more meaningful and exciting.For those who might not be as close to the coworker celebrating their tenure, they can add on to the moment of recognition with comments and reactions right on the social recognition wall or via a mobile app so that the celebrated employee feels special right away. 

Depending on how large your company is, we’ve also seen clients do really special shoutouts on their internal communications platform, like ‘5 Things We Love About George!’ to create a dedicated blog post for specific and special milestones. As a bonus, these tenure shoutouts can also be mentioned in blogs that get more viewership such as the weekly blog from the CEO, or news about new joiners, leavers, promotions and, of course, tenure in blogs led by your People Team. 

There are plenty of creative ideas to extend the moment of celebrating a long-service award if you have the right tools at your fingertips. Retaining your star performers starts with acknowledging how they’ve contributed to your business, and tenure can be an easy thing to highlight and shine a spotlight on.

Long-service awards can still be an important part of your overall reward and recognition strategy, as long as they’re delivered in a meaningful, unique way. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Reward Gateway platform supports long service and tenure awards, reach out to a member of our team.

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Alexandra Powell

Alexandra Powell, Director of Client Cultural Insights, not only knows American Sign Language, but uses it to secretly communicate with her husband and kids at parties. Alex is a highly experienced employee engagement consultant, trainer and speaker. For over 20 years she has helped HR and business leaders implement strategies that drive true culture change.

Director of Client Cultural Insights

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