Are Long-Term Employees a Vanishing Breed?

In a word, yes! Many of us remember our dads or grandfathers retiring from their companies after 35, 40 or 45 years…in many cases a lifetime of service. Employment trends have changed dramatically over the last generation, with workers today changing jobs on an average of 4.6 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

How does this trend (which isn’t going to reverse itself anytime soon) affect your years of service awards program?

Right off the bat, look at that figure of 4.6 years. That means many of your new hires won’t be around for their first award, let alone for the platinum level. It also means that many of your five-year awardees aren’t necessarily first-time employees anymore, but seasoned workers with many years of experience.

In either case, you may want to take a look at what you’re offering at this level. We’re not saying that a better gift selection is going to make or break an employee’s decision to stay or move on. However, it should be considered as one of many corporate incentives to encourage employee retention. As for those older awardees, a wider selection of higher-quality items with a high perceived value will be much more gratifying.

And does this trend mean you should cut off your program sooner, figuring nobody’s going to make 40 years? Not at all! First of all, while there are fewer workers who reach that level, some still do and they deserve to be very well rewarded. That’s another reason to make sure you’re offering gifts of a value commensurate with that level of service. Second, it demonstrates that your organization encourages longevity in the workplace and acts as a subtle incentive to stick around…the best is yet to come.

Here are some brief tips in response to this trend:

  • Administer years of service awards earlier or more often.
  • Offer a wider range of gifts with higher perceived value.
  • Keep your gift selection current.
  • Make sure employees are aware of your program.
  • Incorporate other rewards to create a positive corporate culture.
  • Last but certainly not least, contact Award Concepts for help with any of the above!



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