Employment Enterprises Blog

Is There an ROI to Celebrating Service Anniversaries?

Posted by Sharlyn Lauby on Feb 14, 2017 6:01:00 AM

party for service anniversaries

Back in December, I wrote an article about service anniversaries and why they're important. What's noteworthy about service anniversaries isn't just their "feel good" importance. Yes, having someone recognize how long I've been with the organization is nice and it makes me feel special. But recognizing service anniversaries has a direct impact on the company.

Employee engagement impacts the bottom-line.
One of the reasons that companies are focused on employee engagement is because engagement is directly linked to bottom-line profits. According to Gallup, high levels of employee engagement can boost productivity and profitability 20% or more. On the flip side, disengagement is costing the U.S. economy over $350 billion a year.

Recognizing service anniversaries tells employees that their efforts are valued. And effort is a core element in employee engagement. I like to define employee engagement as being maximum effort/productivity for the business while at the same time maximum satisfaction for the employee.

In my experience, most employers measure employee engagement using the following factors:

Satisfaction: Are employees happy working here?
Referrals: Would employees recommend the company to a customer or candidate?
Pride: Are employees proud to be associated with the company?

These are questions that the organization can ask on a regular basis. Managers can ask during one-on-one conversations. Leadership can ask them during regularly scheduled town hall meetings. HR can also ask them during employee surveys. The results can be tracked over time and analyzed by workgroups.

Retaining top talent is CEO's #1 concern.
Another way to measure the impact of service anniversaries is through employee retention. To put it frankly, unhappy and disengaged employees are going to look for new opportunities. So, why would employees become unhappy and disengaged? Well, here are three reasons:

  1. They don't feel valued.
  2. They don't feel secure.
  3. They don't like the job anymore.

We also know there are other reasons like poor management, low pay and benefits, and lack of career opportunities. The point is...there are plenty of reasons. Constantly hiring employees because of high turnover is costly and time consuming. Companies have to use a variety of strategies to keep their best talent.

Service anniversaries create opportunities to talk with employees about their successes. In the busy workday, it can be easy to focus on the work and forget the celebration. But the celebration is just as important. Celebrations are ways to show people you want them to stay.

Do the math. Share the stories.
Service anniversaries contribute to employee engagement and talent retention. They can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. Stakeholders can share stories about what recognizing service anniversaries mean to them. These stories are important and should be shared throughout the organization. They are a part of corporate culture that can be shared with candidates who are considering applying with the company. In addition, an organization can create a metrics dashboard and track their progress.

Some sample metrics might include:

Overall employee satisfaction – taken annually from survey data. There might also be some specific survey metrics the company wants to benchmark.


Cost per turnover – the cost of a person leaving along with hiring their replacement. Time to fill metrics – the number of days it takes to hire a new employee.


Employee referrals – the number of positions filled by employee recommendations.

Companies with engaged employees will see less turnover, more referrals, and greater employee satisfaction. Recognizing employees' years of service helps to create those high levels of engagement that make employees satisfied with their jobs, content to stay, and produce at an exceptional level.

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Related Article: The Best Workplace Perk? Strong, Trusting Relationships


Sharlyn Lauby is the author of HR Bartender, a friendly place to discuss workplace issues. When not tending bar, she is president of ITM Group, Inc., which specializes in training solutions to help clients retain and engage talent. You can connect with her on Twitter at @HRBartender.

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Topics: Blogs, Performance, Human Resources

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