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The Modern Tenure Program: How to Reward Today’s Employee

Among many other things, millennials have been referred to as the “Job-Hopping” Generation. This trend combined with the uptick in the gig economy and it’s easy to see why the modern-day program for rewarding tenured employees may be in need of a major facelift.

With fewer and fewer employees making it to key milestone dates – like their 5-year or 10-year anniversary, let alone making it to 15 or 20 – are the traditional forms, and timelines, of acknowledging and rewarding employees the way to go? Or, should there be a whole new way to recognize hard work?

A New Way Forward

Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was just 4.2 years. To today’s worker, the 10-year plaque feels more like a myth than a tangible reward they can work their way up to earning. Instead, employers should consider rewarding employees sooner and based on project success and performance instead of basing it solely on time with the company.

It’s also a good idea to make these acknowledgements highly public. Remember, millennials grew up with helicopter parents and enjoy being praised for a job well done. Plus, public recognition is good for overall employee morale and engagement.

Don’t Forego the Big Stuff

You may not be handing out as many big-ticket watches for 10 years of service or the platinum business card holder for 5 years, but you should still be rewarding big. Consider annual trips for high performers to destination spots, or treating a team for a project well done to a spa day or a trip to the golf course. The bigger the better – and this can also be used as a way to attract new talent to the business.

Closing Thoughts

Be bold and unique in the way you reward employees for the work they are doing. The more people, departments and company involvement, the better. Remember, today’s employee is far less about striking work-life balance and much more about the concept of “living my best life” – meaning, they want the work they’re doing to be fulfilling on a professional and personal level. Make rewarding them all-inclusive, fulfilling and memorable. And, definitely don’t wait too long to show them how much you appreciate them.

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