Why Celebrating Employee Milestones Matters

Recognition

July 26, 2022

Taryn Hart

X min

5 min

A life milestone is something special and unique to each individual person. These are occasions when most people want to be recognized or remembered. Birthdays and work anniversaries represent an important time in someone’s life and can be an opportunity to reflect on their goals, accomplishments and how they’ve grown.

Why Celebrating Employee Milestones Matters
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Table of Contents

Go beyond traditional years of service awards.

Most people have an idea of what they want their life to look like at a certain age. Work anniversaries prompt employees to reflect on their career, and job-hunting tends to spike due to people assessing their career and making a change if they’re unhappy. Milestones offer a great way to celebrate and acknowledge every individual in your organization, however, implementing other milestones into your recognition program can help reduce employee turnover and strengthen retention.  

Work anniversaries shouldn’t be limited to 5 years, 10 years, etc. as is the case with many traditional programs. These days, the average person only stays at their organization for approximately 4 years. Recognize every year of an employee’s commitment and don’t limit it to years of service. Other important milestones to consider include completing onboarding training, achieving more education or certifications, learning a new software tool...all of these are important and often massive contributions to people reaching new career goals or life achievements.  

Creating a culture of recognition is the key.

While celebrating a work anniversary shows you value your employee’s dedication, celebrating a birthday or other milestones demonstrates taking a personal interest in your employee’s lives. A Great Place to Work survey had 37% of respondents say that more personal recognition would encourage them to produce better work.

We know employee recognition helps retain talent, increase engagement and encourage higher performance, but understanding the impact of recognition culture on the overall employee experience provokes many growth opportunities. Employees who feel consistently recognized at their place of work are two times more likely to embrace innovative thinking and are willing to go above and beyond in their work. Recognition consistently emerges in studies on improving workplace culture and has proven to be a primary driver in motivating employees to do their best.

What does a successful employee milestone program look like?

It’s important to define your employee lifecycle – what are the various stages your employees will experience in your organization? The average employee lifecycle has 11 stages, all of which recognition can play an important role. Defining the celebratory moments in each stage will help you structure your employee milestone program, and ensure it stays consistent and contributes to your culture of recognition.  

Your employee milestone program should have:  

  • A budget: determine if you would like to give your employees a gift or token for their milestones (rewards, lunch, a gift, team outings, etc.), and put those costs into your annual budget.  
  • A calendar: don’t leave anyone out! A best practice is to have a calendar or system where all your employee data lives, so no milestone is missed and can be updated as employees onboard into your organization.  
  • A designated organizer: assign someone in your organization to keep track of your program and manage the planning and communications associated with it.  

Kudos has the tools to make your employee milestone program a culture success. Having an automated system like Kudos to keep your employee milestone program organized and up to date makes giving everyday recognition easy and simple.  

Celebrating milestones is only one form of recognition, and it’s important to remember that employee recognition should be regular and meaningful. Recognition is essential in creating a lasting company culture that values its employees' contributions, dedication and celebrates successes, no matter how big or small.  

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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