Every day, your employees give you one of the most valuable gifts in the world: their time.
Every day, your employees give you one of the most valuable gifts in the world: their time. Isn't it fitting, then, that one of the most common Years of Service awards has long been a gold or similarly valuable watch?
The tradition of gifting employees a gold watch upon retirement can actually be traced back to PepsiCo. In the 1940's, they adopted this reward to communicate the exact sentiment expressed above: "you gave us your time, now we are giving you ours." These opulent watches were typically made of 18-karat gold, and different models were awarded based on the retiree's position and how long they spent at the company.
Times are changing
Not only has the 'milestone watch' lost a fair bit of relevance now that we all carry a time-telling smartphone in our pockets, but the next generation of workers is far less likely to remain with a company long enough to earn one: a recent Deloitte study of nearly 10,500 millennials across 36 different countries revealed that 43% of employees in this demographic planned to switch jobs within two years, and just 28% had plans to stay at their current company for five or more years.
It's therefore never been more important to reward your team members' loyalty, and to do it right. It's not just about gifting them a shiny timepiece it's the thought behind it that counts. Moving forward, companies need to bear in mind that the feeling of receiving a 'milestone watch' is worth even more than the award itself, and celebrate their employees accordingly.
So, if it's not fancy engraving or luxurious gold plating, what gives Years of Service awards their meaning? Think of it this way: we typically spend eight hours a day in the workplace. On an annual basis, that's equivalent to just about 2,000 hours of office time under our belts. As time goes on, coworkers become friends, those friends start to feel like quasi-family, bosses and superiors become mentors and supporters so, just like any other group of loved ones, a show of appreciation from your work peers is bound to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
A timely gift to consider
Years of Service gifts are also among the most fair and balanced awards a company can give out. Take the example of an employee who's been with you for a long while, but hasn't been a top performer for most of their career: they've added value to the organisation, demonstrated exceptional loyalty, and sewn themselves into the company's social fabric. However, they haven't necessarily set themselves apart as a chart-topping salesperson or high-performing manager.
These are the exact types of employees hard-working, consistent, and committed who will appreciate Years of Service awards the most. With a long and winding tenure behind them, there's nothing more satisfying than receiving tangible proof that their efforts have not only been noticed, but are worthy of celebration.
From a young age, we are taught to understand the value of a simple "thank you." And in the workplace, where we spend an incredible amount of our time and energy, a little thanks goes a long way. Years of Service award programmes are an excellent way to make your most loyal employees feel seen, heard, and deeply appreciated, whether your token is a gold watch, a travel voucher, or something entirely different.
Does one of your employees have an important career milestone coming up? There's never been a better time to get started on building a rewards programme. Contact us today!