Increase employee retention and motivation by re-framing your service anniversary celebrations.

How do you help employees build careers? One recent insight we’ve gleaned as a result of a 2011 multi-city research project is: use employee service anniversaries to call out the achievements of their careers.

After all, each anniversary offers the chance to look at what someone has achieved over time. It’s the one appreciation moment everyone can count on, whether they are a superstar producer or a “steady eddy” team player day in and day out. And there really is no other occasion like it for bringing leaders, peers and family members together.

Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that people are staying longer with their current employer in 2010 than they were 27 years ago. Contrary to widely-held belief, median employee tenure with a current employer is going up, not down.

Why celebrate career achievement?

For an organization and its employees, there are countless good reasons to celebrate career achievements. Here are our Top 10. When we celebrate someone’s anniversary we:

  1. 1Appreciate the importance of the individual.
  2. 2Share stories of their contributions over time.
  3. 3Help employees discover their talents.
  4. 4Show how they fit in the team and in the organization.
  5. 5Build career commitment.
  6. 6Encourage conversation with family and friends.
  7. 7Link their contributions to build your culture.
  8. 8Inspire peers to grow.
  9. 9Connect leaders to employees and reveal talents.
  10. 10Forum for leadership to communicate what’s important.

Turning something “expected” into something extraordinary

Celebrate the occasion! Make it easy for managers and leaders to organize effective career achievement celebrations with iAppreciate, our suite of web- and mobile-enabled tools.

Mark the moment symbolically.

Independent research by The Cicero Group shows that symbolic service awards are more powerful than cash, gift cards or tangible awards when it comes to what employees value most. Think of how an athlete’s dedication comes down to a gold, silver or bronze medal. A symbol that means everything in the world.

Make sure your employees know how important your corporate emblem is. It is a symbol reserved for few. Wearing it, employees are reminded of their great work over the past five years. Their achievements. The risks they took. Team, friendship, loyalty, and dedication.

Your brand, expressed

Alone in the industry, O.C. Tanner has the in-house manufacturing capabilities to design and make awards specifically for your organization. What is meaningful in your culture? Whether it’s a symbol beautifully executed in crystal or your corporate icon rendered in polished metal, bring us your dreams.


Presentation is everything ‐ not only in terms of manager preparation, but also when it comes to delivering awards and keepsake certificates in a memorable, elegant way. Our Bravo! suite of presentation materials elevates the occasion beautifully, offering a sophisticated way to make the experience meaningful.

Insight: Turning 5 is different than turning 25

Just as no two birthdays are alike, every service anniversary is unique. Each milestone has its own feeling purpose, significance in a person’s life and career. Companies who treat every career anniversary the same are missing an opportunity to say:

Insight: An employee’s career starts on day one

Those who view onboarding as an opportunity to engage employees in the company mission from the start often find that when onboarding strategies are complete, deployed, and executed correctly they can:

  1. 1Socialize employees into the company culture, processes, and values
  2. 2Reduce new employee turnover and increase retention
  3. 3Shorten time-to-productivity
  4. 4Accelerate performance
  5. 5Engender trust in the manager and team

New employees are 69% more likely to stay after three years if they’ve experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

Pepsi. Day One.

O.C. Tanner helped Pepsi Beverages Company create an onboarding program that included manager training and focused on recognition early and often throughout the first year. Starting on Day 1. On that day, every new hire received a key chain, designed with its logo, symbolizing the key part the employee would play in the company’s success. The award was accompanied by a welcome message from the CEO and was presented to the new hire publicly in front of the team by the manager. This gave the manager an opportunity to reiterate the company’s goals, values, and mission.

Pepsi Beverages Company gave every new hire a key chain which symbolized the key part the employee would play in the company’s success.

Facts, stats, results and sprinkles


86% of new hires make their decision to leave or stay within the first 6 months.

Related insights

The Effect of Years of Service Award Programs

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Celebrate Careers™

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