Why Long-Service Awards Are Crucial To Employee Satisfaction

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Danni Rush, Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days and Virgin Experience Gifts, explains why long-service awards are key to keeping your employees happy.

Over the last two years, employees have gone above and beyond to deliver outstanding work for their employers. Despite dealing with the biggest societal and economic disruption in living memory, the hard work of employees across the economy has translated into record profits for numerous household names – such as Samsung, Ferrari, and LVMH

The efforts of employees during the pandemic

I’ve seen first-hand how much effort our teams have put into their work during the pandemic for Virgin Incentives and Virgin Experience Days. Our customer services team for example had to significantly pivot our offering to respond to the crisis and keep our customers happy, all whilst experiencing a new way of hybrid-working.

There are similar stories up and down the country of employees showing exceptional resilience, determination, and dynamism over the past two years. Employers must recognise this effort and reward their teams for their incredible work in the most difficult of circumstances.

As we all enter a new year and get back to much-needed normality, it’s time to rethink and innovate employee reward & recognition schemes, starting with your longest-serving employees.

How long-serving employees help to support a business

Long-serving employees are the backbone of a business, the majority will openly embrace changes, keep learning and developing in their individual roles and not shy away from driving innovative and new ideas.

Long-servers are great at adapting with the business as time goes on. Thanks to their extensive knowledge of the work and the company culture, the message their loyalty shows to potential clients and their peers, is commendable. By being employed for several years, long-servers reflect a stable work environment, which improves morale and can help fuel company growth by reducing turnover and saving money on recruiting and training new hires. 

How to reward long-serving employees 

Rewards don’t have to be expensive, nor do they have to involve cash, in fact, according to a recent report from Applauz, 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives, and I believe that when it comes to long-service awards an individual approach is best. Employers should consider offering a reward that recognises the employee’s specific achievements, and which reflects their personality and preferences. Applying a one-size-fits-all reward will fail to acknowledge the individual effectively and most likely won’t have the same inspiring effect on others. 

Alternatively, employers can offer experiential rewards which can range from spa days, fine dining experiences, days out and skills-based experiences such as a chocolate masterclass or a live cookery class. Research from Sodexo revealed that 84% of millennials are keener to receive experiences and vouchers, as a thank you reward. Not only will gifting new experiences show your employees that you value their loyalty, but it will also provide them with unforgettable memories that they can share with friends and family. 

Appreciating your employees’ loyalty is a must-have for all sized businesses. Key work anniversaries are a cause for celebration and indicate to both new recruits and clients that you support your employees during their careers and are genuinely invested in their individual development. 

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