The rise of portfolio careers – where workers regularly change job and sometimes spend time self-employed – makes long service an uncommon thing, but one worth rewarding.
The traditional gift for long service – defined by HMRC as more than 20 years continuous employment at a company – is a watch, or clock for the mantelpiece, given at retirement. Whilst the recognition continues, the tradition is now akin to covering over a typewriter at the end of the day.
If you have staff who stay with you for many years, there are several ways you can reward their loyalty. While it’s fun to surprise people with a present, there is a much greater opportunity today for choice. Some of the options you can offer are:
- Extended leave or a sabbatical – adding time off to a long-term employee’s entitlement can be an effective way to reward years of service. A sabbatical might let them pursue a particular hobby or take an extended long-haul trip. You could even chip in with a holiday voucher.
- Gifts and vouchers – the most flexible option, a gift voucher leaves the decision in the employee’s hands, but might allow them to purchase something they wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Electrical goods can be popular – TVs, sound systems and computers, or a case of wine. Individual experiences could also appeal, whether a hot-air balloon ride, golfing day or chocolate making.
- A bonus – you could award a set amount for each year of service, or a lump sum, but bear in mind there will be tax to pay if you offer more than £50 for each year of service.
It’s a good idea to regularly review your benefits package to make sure it’s meeting your employees’ needs and creating the right incentives for staff retention, before any staff even reach the stage of long service. With loyalty of this kind becoming increasingly uncommon, it is a cause for real celebration – and it may even motivate your younger recruits to stick around for a little longer too.