What Graduation Ceremonies Teach About Milestones

In Recognition and Engagement, Service Awards by Lori McKnight

What Graduation Ceremonies Teach About Milestones

Do you remember your high school or college graduation ceremony?

How did you feel hearing your name called out?

Do you still have your diploma certificate?

I recently attended my son’s grade 8 graduation ceremony. It got me thinking about how important ceremonies and certificates really are in the workplace.

Ceremonies Motivate

When my son learned that students averaging over 80% are recognized publicly during his graduation ceremony, I saw a kid that did the bare minimum to keep his mother off his back crack open the books. He became intrinsically motivated to study and do his best by the desire for public recognition in front of his peers and family! Don’t underestimate the power a Service Award ceremony has to the recipient and those attending.

Certificates Reflect Accomplishments

I’m looking at a framed University certificate on my wall as I write this post. The certificate elicits a feeling of pride and symbolizes a degree I’ll always have. I don’t hold onto many things (as my sentimental husband can attest) but this piece of paper reflects my hard work and personal development during four pivotal years. In an age of gift cards and emails, an official certificate has more value than ever.

People work for money but will go the extra mile for recognition

There’s an energy, confidence and sense of pride that comes from being publicly recognized. Ceremonies and certificates celebrate life experiences and accomplishments – and not only kids like and deserve that!

Money may attract talented people to your company but recognition is the spark that keeps them with you for the long term. Recognition events will incent people to give their all and do their best. Recognition ceremonies are the ideal time to showcase the importance you place on loyalty in a personal and public way.

Service awards are not participation ribbons

Recognizing your employees’ years of service is not the same thing as thanking people for showing up.

It’s an opportunity to stand in front of your workforce and publicly recognize contributions, accomplishments and personal traits admired by others. Presenting a certificate or symbolic award to commemorate the moment triggers a feeling of being appreciated, especially important reminders on days when things aren’t going your way.

Carving out a little time to bring staff together to celebrate those who have stuck with you for one, three or five year milestones sends a message you value your people.

Here’s a little food for thought…the investment of time preparing a short speech, custom certificate and thank you gift is nothing compared to the time you’ll spend working late, rehiring or firefighting because your people feel unappreciated.

Here are 10 tips to help you prepare a meaningful and inspiring service recognition speech.

CSI STARS creates recognition experiences your employees will never forget. To learn more about THE best-value personalized Service Anniversary program in the market, contact us for an appointment.

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is the VP of Recognition for CSI International Inc. She has a MBA with a minor in Human Resources, is a Certified Recognition Professional and member of the SHRM blog squad. Prior to joining CSI STARS, she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with CSI STARS on LinkedIn to learn how we cultivate a workforce that loves coming to work.