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Employee Recognition: Beyond the Gifts


The experience and celebration you create during recognition reinforces personal connections.

MarketWatch recently shared popular gifts given to employees in honor of various work anniversaries. And, while a new television or kitchen appliance is a great gift to get after the work is done, the experience and celebration you create during the recognition that reinforces the personal connection is even more imperative.

It is important to remember that employees have a strong emotional connection to their work anniversaries. On average, they will spend 106,575 hours, or roughly 15.5% of their lives at work, so a new television is nice, but may seem like a drop in the bucket from their perspective. More than anything employees want to be respected and recognized for their commitments, and their new television, while capable of providing thousands of hours of quality entertainment, will not tell them “Job well done.”

A workplace celebration, however, can turn a regular anniversary into an event, making the award experience memorable and meaningful to the employee. These celebrations can be large catered affairs for retirees, classic cake and ice cream parties for team members, or any number of planned events that give adequate time for the employee to bask in accomplishment. Even simple acts of kindness such as bringing in coffee and donuts along with a heartfelt “thank you” appreciate in value much faster than any gift item could. Also, sharing the praise in front of peers helps to build a strong bond with all employees.

So, while ensuring employees are happy with their gift choices as they achieve service anniversaries is important, making their recognition personal through dedicated employee celebrations is truly what matters most. The long-lasting memories built as a result of these events can help boost employee engagement, communicate a strong work culture, and inspire employees to do their best in helping the organization achieve its corporate goals.