A pay check is not a “thank you”: Real rewards get real results

Right now, our primary focus for recognition is years of service.  We give employees a cheque with a specific denomination that corresponds with the year they are celebrating.  The program is easy to administer, but we can’t really measure the ROI.  What are your thoughts regarding providing employees monetary gifts for their service anniversary?

Wanting More,

Hugh G. Nthusiasm


Some companies use “cash bonuses” as a way to recognize years of service.  However, bi-weekly, weekly or monthly, most employees are reminded of their connection to the company in cash anyway, so why do you need one more “transactional” experience if you don’t have to.  The goal should be to build connection and engagement and that happens at a social and emotional level – not at a transactional one.  If the amounts are rather large, it will be difficult to discontinue.  If small, change the process from cash to gift cards and other cash-like equivalents that still allow them to choose a specific award versus depositing the money into the joint checking account.  Over time I’d look at removing the “dollar” signs all together to further disconnect their ongoing support of the organization from a pure, cold transactional experience.

Years of service awards are based on presence rather than performance, and when cash is the reward it does even less to influence motivation.  Cash bonuses do not impact long-term productivity because they aren’t attached to a specific action or behavior, and they’re often used to pay off bills rather than on a meaningful reward.  This isn’t to say that a years of service reward has no place in a recognition strategy, but cash isn’t a positive reward solution and it has been proven that performance-based recognition is more meaningful to employees and produces more results for companies.

Get giving!

The A Advisor

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