IDear Workforce-I Should You Reward Length of Service

May 21, 2000

Dear Workforce:

Are length-of-service awards considered old hat and out of step with the new employment contract or a useful tool for employee retention?
-- Sheila O'Neill, Sr. HR Director

A Dear Sheila:

I think that a rewards program should reward longevity when it occurs, but not focus on longevity as a means.

In other words, decide what your goals are. If you want to hire people who have a passion for customer service, for example, hire them. Reward them for doing a good job. If you're happy with them, you'll want them to stay, you'll pay them more, and you'll be more flexible with their schedules (offering telecommuting and other work/life benefits), and the end result will be a longer tenure of employees.

Again, that isn't to say that longevity isn't important or shouldn't be rewarded. But in this day and age, making longevity the focal point of rewards programs probably isn't the best option for either the employee (who thinks, "this program is a waste, I know I won't be here 50 years") or the employer.

SOURCE: Todd Raphael, Online Editor for Workforce, April 17, 2000.

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