Longevity Program

Need everyone's help today.

We have very spoiled employees here and many with tenure over 10 years. They are asking for a longevity program that rewards them for being committed employees (no pun intended) all this time. I'm not inclined to do it, but do any of you have a program like this? Why? What reasons would I not want to start one?

Thanks everyone for your help.


  • 20 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Seems to me the primary reason would be for retention. If no retention problem, then throwing money at them doesn't seem prudent. Replacing annual merit increases with longevity may be an answer, but doing it for no sound reason seems wasteful of your salary resources.

    I can tell you from experience, that once this begins, it's there for eternity, cuz it's viewed as salary. You might think about a discretionary longevity bonus---decided on an annual basis----with no guarantees.
  • Thank you for your response. I agree with your assessment.

    If we were to do discretionary longevity bonuses, without guarantees they would occur each year, how do we combat the wide-spread negativity when we don't give them? I'm not really looking for an answer, just thinking out loud.

    Thanks again.
  • Some companies have "recognitions" rather than bonuses. I have seen these range from specific items at 5, 10, 15, 20 year intervals (rings that had replacement stones up to diamond) or catalogs with items that employees with certain longevity were allowed to pick from on their anniversary. (A friend and I were pulling for oriental rugs one time--each time bigger for each anniversary--but we didn't succeed.) Some companies have recognition dinners for employees who have reached certain longevity each year. Some places (tend to be smaller) take employees out to lunch on employment anniversaries (all in same month go together with one of the officers). Each way has its own pitfalls.
  • Thank you for your response.

    We have an extremely generous recognition program that includes anniversary gifts, four company-wide events a year, small celebrations (e.g., DQ Blizzards on hot summer days), employee recognition for outstanding work, etc. The pitfall for us is that because people have been here so long they take it all for granted.

    Hope you get your rug when you hit a service anniversary!
  • Where I currently work, we give out a gold company initial pin at one year and then add stones(rubies and diamonds) at certain intervals.

    I am aware of one employer that gives lump sum payments of X dollars for each year of service. The dollar amount tied to the years of service goes up with each five year increment (e.g. $20 per year for 20-24 years of service; $25 per year for 25-29, etc.)

    I think the dollar program has become an entitlement program and has lost its true meaning.
  • Thank you Cheryl. I agree that the dollar programs tend to lose their effectiveness because of the entitlement attitude employees seem to acquire over time. Just like salary increases are only short-term motivators, right?
  • I'd rather see longevity lump sum bonuses which aren't added into the salary bottom line than to have the long-timers receive that increase in their salary. By doing it that way the company winds up with a secretary (or any other position) being paid WAY over the true salary range for that position.
  • An annual discretionary bonus based on years of service is our answer. Our employees know when business is slow (no overtime for them!!), it means no bonuses this year.
  • We have implemented a sabbatical policy which allows employees to take 4 weeks off paid for every 5 years of (continuous)service. If they had 10 or more years of service at the point of imlementation of the policy, they could have 2 4-week sabbaticals. The only cost is productivity. Employees here think it's really terrific and a nice way to reward longevity, even in a pay for performance environment.
  • We use achievment awards where we recognize 5, 10 and 15 year employees once a year. The longer the employee has been here,the "nicer" the gift. Usually we give 5 year people ruby pins, 10 years a very nice desk clock and we gave our 15 year employee a watch this past year. This is in conjunction with a totally paid for employee "after Christmas" party in January.

    We also have employee cookouts, ice cream socials, baseball game/cookouts/Zoo Days where we have hosted cookouts and awards at a local Zoo.

    We also give long termers more paid time off - they can sell some additional leave back at the end of the year, etc.

    But....I have found whatever you do...some like the ideas and some don't. I definitely don't think throwing more money is the answer. Even with a "discretionary" bonus, most people filter out the "discretionary" part and they do expect it every year. Inflating base salaries is not the answer either - you will just end up with a mess, forcing you to market adjust salaries where you have to to keep employees.
  • We had a pin program for years at 5, 10, 15, 20. I had become old hat so we did a survey and 90% of this years recipients voted for a gift certificate program at [url]www.giftcertificates.com[/url]. The handful that wanted pins receive a pin.
  • I am also doing some research on what companies do for recoginition programs. This information has been a GREAT help!! Could I get the industry type and size from those that have responded?

    Lastly, we currently have a ring program that you build onto every 5 years. It is very valued but extremly costly. We are looking at revamping the program to make it more cost effective and also soemthing that our female employees will enjoy also.
  • We are also doing research on recognition programs. This has been very helpful for me THANKS!! Could the people that responded share their industry and their company size?

    Lastly, we currently recogize years of service with a career ring that you add to in 5 year incraments. The program is valued by our male employees but is very costly. We are lookign to revamp the program to make it cost effective and so that our female employees also enjoy it.

  • I wish our employees knew how spoiled they are! We are an outpatient medical specialty clinic and have 100 + employees (this is fairly recent though and we had these rewards when we only had 70 employees).

    The company gives a formal holiday dinner at a very nice restaurant; we have a company picnic - catered - on some years we've gone to a baseball game instead; we get a "discretionary" bonus in December based on number of years worked (a very generous bonus - (we have not gotten it only a very few times, and I've been here a long time).

    Also - 1 year anniversary - either a boxed lunch,$10 movie gift cert or Starbucks' coupons.

    5 year - a pin, a $75 gift cert to a restaurant or nice store, plus 1 day off with pay.

    10 year - pin, $100 gift cert same as above, 2 days off w/pay.

    15 yr - pin, $125 cert same as above, 3 days off w/pay.

    20 yr - pin, $125 cert as above, 3 days off w/pay, and a personal gift.

    After an employee has been here 3 months they can get a 0 - 3% merit raise, and on employees' anniversary date they can get between 0 and 5%.

    Plus, every quarter there is an "Employee Appreciation" luncheon which is catered on site.

    I don't think our employees realize just how good they have it. Their benefits and salaries are comparable, if not better, than other business in the same field, as well. It's a good place to work! And I like my boss.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 07-23-02 AT 09:38AM (CST)[/font][p]I have to agree with Sandi, the more that you give employees the more they begin to assume that they are "due" these perks, rather than being appreciative of them as "extra".

    This can become especially problematic in down-cycle years when the employer is watching the bottom line (doesn't that sound familiar this year? x;-) )That being said, my company has been extremely generous over the years in rewarding longevity. We have approximately 400 U.S. employees and are in the high tech engineering/manufacturing area.

    We call them Perserverance Awards and they are:

    After 3 years of service - employees receive a Seiko watch with their employment start date engraved on the back

    After 5 years of service - the company pays up to $1350 for a three day get-away weekend for the employee. The employee is expected to take the trip over a weekend and will get one "free" paid work day during the trip (instead of having to take a vacation day). The employee also receives a gold company pin or bracelet

    After 10 year of service - the company provides up to $3700 for a week long vacation to the spot of the employees choice. The company pays 5 "free" regular working days while the employee is taking the trip.

    After 15 years of service - the company provides up to $10,000 for a 10 day trip to one of the "Wonders of the World". The company pays 10 "free" regular working days while the employee is on the trip.

    If an employee doesn't use the maximum amount for the trip, the company will pay the employee spending money to use on the trip the payroll before the trip, to a set maximum.

    5 year trip - maximum spending of $250
    10 year trip - maximum spending of $750
    15 year trip - maximum spending of $1500

    Since the company recently celebrated it's 20th anniversary, I can only imagine what they will set up as a 20 year perseverance award.

    Certificates for the awards are given at the annual employee meeting the February following the year of service. Employees have one year to schedule and take the trip.

    In addition to the perseverance awards, the company takes other initiatives to promote the kind of atmosphere they want. Some of the examples are:

    Movie night - every other month the company picks a movie and rents out a screen at the local theater. Each employee can attend with a guest and the company pays for the tickets, and all the concessions the employee gets.

    Holiday gifts - each December the company gives out an American Express Dining card to all employees. Depending on how well the finances are going, the value can be anywhere from $100 t0 $500.

    Birthday gifts - the company arranges for a gourmet coffee cake to be sent to the employees the month of their birthday.

    A lot of times, it's the little things that employees remember. Your company may not have a lot of money to spend, but it doesn't always take a lot to make the employees day. When designing perks or awards I always try to think of things that I would appreciate receiving.

  • KDowney,

    I'm impressed. Are you hiring? x;-)

    Jen D
  • Kdowney You must have a designated person in your area to handle an dkeep up with all this!
  • Yup, we do....ME! (in addition to the ten thousand and one other things on my daily plate.)

    The longevity awards at my company are wonderful, but there is always a flip side.
    Only $400 worth of the trip is excludable from taxes, so employees will still owe on the remaining balance. We try to make it as easy as possible for employees to pay the taxes, they can have the whole amount deducted from 1 check (we're bi-weekly), spread out over 4 paychecks, increase additional fed/state tax withholdings on their W-4, or write a check to the company to cover the taxes.

    As you can imagine, with a $10,000 trip, the taxes on $9600 run at approximately 40%, so the employee winds up owing around $3840 (ouch).
    When I send out a notice to the employees about the taxes owed, at least 40% of the employees complain! It just goes to show no matter what you offer some people, they will still find a problem.
  • We are a private non-profit university with 375 employees.
  • I think I'd be concerned about starting an entitlement mentality. What would these employees receive as members of this longevity team or club? Another thing you might want to think about is that this could contribute to an "us" (long-termers) vs. "them" (newer hires)situation. I don't know about your company.... Maybe loyalty is something you want to promote and this is viewed as one means of doing so. Anyway, just a couple of thoughts.

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