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  • Writer's picturePatricia Louise

What are Employee Service Awards?

Rewards are a powerful tool for fueling engagement in the workplace. Strategically, they work best when incorporated into a larger recognition program.

In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into the concept of service awards for employees. We’ll explore different approaches to recognition in the workplace and show you ways to enhance your own company reward program.

Ready? Let's do it! 

An illustration of a man with a big golden cup

What is a Service Award? The Concept of Employee Recognition

According to Gallup’s research, employee recognition is one of the most easy to execute strategies when done in an honest, authentic, and individualized manner. Service Awards in particular are a way to acknowledge tenure – but they also highlight the specific accomplishments and contributions that an individual employee has made during their time at the company.

In earlier decades, service awards started at the five-year mark. However, in today’s fluctuating job market (where people tend to stay at a company for shorter periods of time), the five-year mark has been replaced with the one-year milestone. Most companies now start to celebrate yearly (or even monthly) achievements as a tactic to retain valuable talent.

The Stats Don’t Lie

There’s no sign of turnover trends slowing down in the near future. According to Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workforce Report, nearly six in ten employees are quietly quitting. Over 50% are actively or passively seeking a new job elsewhere. For most companies, talent retention has become harder than ever, resulting in high turnover costs.

When used strategically, service awards can be used to foster a positive work culture. Not only do they reward individual employees – they also help keep engagement sky high. 

And as it is, engagement is one key ingredient that’ll keep your employees from moving on to another workplace.

An illustration of a team jumping and celebrating and a big award with a colleague on top of the award

Not the Same as a Recognition Program (but Pretty Close)

Service awards are not the same as a recognition program – although, they do often intertwine. 

A great way to combine them is to incorporate service awards as a key component of a wider and more holistic recognition strategy.

Service awards alone are generally not enough to produce a long-lasting impact. If you have a service award program in place, consider expanding it with a more comprehensive approach. Adapting it into a fully-fledged recognition program that awards tenure but also celebrates performance and innovation, encouraging more employee engagement, can be an excellent strategy.

Learn how to decode appreciation. Read more about the psychology of employee recognition in workplace rewards here.

The ABC of a Service Award

Traditionally, years of service awards have been tied to the number of years an employee has worked. These celebrate dedicated tenure and are typically given after 5, 10 or 20 years of employment. 

Employee service awards usually come with some sort of monetary perk or a tangible prize – or even a special company benefit! Anything from a badge to a certificate, a trophy, a special pen or a gift card may qualify, depending on the size and purpose of the award. Delve deeper into even more ways to reward your employees in this article.

A man receiving an award at work from his colleagues

Celebrating Important Milestones

Celebrating milestones is a big part of a service award program. It can be a golden opportunity to highlight a team member’s performance and valued accomplishments over time. 

Used strategically, employee service awards can be a powerful catalyst for innovation, creativity, and heightened engagement!

Making Service Awards Work in Your Favor

When service awards are part of a larger holistic recognition strategy, they can help build valuable trust between you and your team. They will contribute greatly to your efforts toward creating a strong company culture that promotes success - providing opportunities to share stories of resilience and loyalty that inspire. 

Good luck in your endeavors toward building a strong and forward-thinking workplace!

A happy team high fiving together in the office


About GoGift

An illustration of a woman showing a gift card from GoGift with her hand

GoGift, a leading global provider of gift card solutions, specializes in offering innovative and versatile gift card services to over 15.000 corporate clients worldwide. With a commitment to simplifying the gift-giving process, GoGift provides a broad range of gift card options from numerous popular brands, catering to a diverse array of tastes and preferences. Their services are designed to enhance the gifting experience, making it more convenient, personal, and enjoyable for both the giver and the recipient.

For more detailed information about GoGift, please visit their official website:


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