Service awards more than token gift

To make impression, employers should focus on choice, frequency and presentation
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/04/2009

Employee service awards have always been a little on the boring side. But, over the past few years, several trends have emerged to breathe new life into programs, supplementing traditional formulas with a multitude of options for saying “thanks” to workers.

Many employers are shortening the time required to receive a reward. Retail employers, for example, are more inclined to hand out one-year and two-year rewards to combat the high turnover of the industry, says Scott Shippam, general manager of Winnipeg-based Shippam and Associates.

Also becoming more popular are “welcome aboard” gifts for new employees or ones who have become permanent staff members after several months, says Graig King, Mississauga, Ont.-based manager for Terryberry in Canada.