How to create a years of service awards program

Rachel Harmon
Samantha Mikos

Commitment is one of the most important values to honor. For your employees who have been with you through your organization’s highs and lows, they deserve to be recognized. Years of service award programs celebrate your most dedicated team members while inspiring loyalty in others.

After years of creating custom programs for countless clients, the Cristaux team has gained immense knowledge. Now, we’d like to share our expertise with you. Continue reading to learn the basics and wording ideas for years of service awards.

Crystal service award reverse sand etch on backside. Sand etch and color fill on frontside

What are years of service?

Years of service measure the time employees have spent working for your organization. The corresponding awards celebrate their major work anniversaries. It is typical to recognize employees after one, three, five, ten, fifteen, twenty years of service, and so on. Additionally, honors become more prestigious and personalized as you celebrate larger achievements.

What are the benefits of years of service awards?

Like many other recognition programs, years of service awards have many advantages for your business and growth. Consider the following:

  • Increased employee retention
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Greater feelings of belonging
  • Better relationships between employees and employer
  • Stronger feelings of being appreciated
  • Others inspired to work harder
  • Objective and well-respected awards
  • Attracting new talent
  • Strengthened company culture

EDM wire cut brushed aluminum years of service award

Congratulations for years of service: wording ideas & quotes

When developing your service award program, it’s important to make it personal and distinguish each milestone. As your employees show greater dedication, they deserve greater recognition. To help you brainstorm ideas for your program, we’ve compiled wording ideas for each honor.

1 year of service

It is crucial to recognize your newest employees because turnover is most common during their first few years with your organization. To keep your valued team members, show appreciation for what they’ve accomplished during their short time with you. Celebrate how they’ve become an important part of your company and how excited you are to see what they will achieve. Common gifts and awards include lapel pins and company swag.

3 years of service

To celebrate 3 years of service, you may want to start small. This way, you have plenty of room to grow and expand your recognition efforts. For example, you could honor employees with a personal hand-written letter and custom award. Additionally, it’s important to issue these pieces at an organized event. This way, those commemoration can inspire others to seek the same recognition for themselves.

Regarding how to word the award and letter, focus on the specific achievement, company values, and the recipient’s efforts. Expressing gratitude for their contributions will go a long way. As a result, they feel valued and appreciated, no matter how small or large your organization is.

5 years of service

Considering today’s high employee turnover rates, reaching this career stage should not go unnoticed. You want to elevate your recognition. Consider the following ideas:

Concerning your message for the recipient, stress how irreplaceable they are for your organization. After 5 years of service, your company would not be the same without them.

EDM Wire cut number 5 and pms match pantone paint

10 years of service

A 10-year work anniversary is an impressive milestone deserving of great celebration. To advance your recognition, consider the following ideas:

  • Office celebration in their honor
  • Custom award statue for their desk or office
  • Featured story in your company newsletter
  • Stock options
  • Paid time off or sabbatical

To address this recipient, celebrate their specific achievements over the past ten years of service. You and your team would not be where you are without them. They are your model employee and deserve to know that.

15 years of service

What do companies give employees for a 15-year anniversary?  Consider the following suggestions:

  • Luncheon for the employee being celebrated
  • Gift of choice, within a limited budget
  • Custom and engraved award or gift for their office
  • Personal thank you letter

For your years of service thank you message, emphasize the importance of their commitment to your company’s mission and vision. Make it personal and thoughtful. They have invested so much into your organization, and now is the perfect time to thank them for their continued hard work.

20 years of service

After 20 years of service, your employee has displayed supreme loyalty to your business and goals. Any celebration may seem to pale in comparison, but this great milestone must be met with great recognition. Consider the following ideas:

  • Naming a company building or branch after the honoree
  • Donation in their name
  • Company-paid vacation

To thank them for their service, focus on a genuine and personal message for them. You could relate their efforts and successes to company values. Also, you could have those closest to them or those they most admire deliver this message. Peer recognition makes a big impact on any honoree.

Custom crystal years of service award sand etch and colorfilled on front side

Service awards for employees: How do you honor years of service?

An employee’s work anniversary is quickly approaching, so how do you honor them? Service awards can take many different forms. It’s often dependent on the length of service and the ability to create something customized for each recipient.

Years of service pins

Pins are most suitable for recognizing the earlier years of service. This may include one, two, and three years of service. Lapel pins are small yet meaningful recognition tools. They communicate your company brand while supporting employee retention efforts during those crucial, beginning years.

Years of service certificate

Years of service certificates are easy to design and display in offices. Also, these pieces are traditional yet easy to modernize. To elevate a framed certificate, you can play around with different materials like acrylic and metal.

Years of service gifts

Years of service gifts have great range. Generally, the greater the commitment, the greater the gift. From company branded swag to building and product replicas. From a care package to a unique experience, tailor the gift to your individual recipient, their interests, and their accomplishments. Also, customized and engraved items for their office honor them while displaying positive company culture.

EDM wire cut aluminum years of service gift

Recognizing employees with a years of service awards program

Years of service award programs are consistent initiatives to bolster your recognition efforts. Whether celebrating new or veteran staff, these awards will shower your organization with positive energy and growth. Keep employees engaged, keep employees positive, and keep employees, period. Whether creating custom plaques or gifts, your vision will come true.

Contact the Cristaux team to start designing your program today.