Years of service award is a fantastic way to show appreciation for their commitment to your organization. Recognizing and honoring employees for their dedication and commitment to your organization is not only a great way to boost morale but also an essential part of fostering a positive workplace culture.

In this blog, we'll explore creative and meaningful ways to commemorate the milestones of your valued team members, whether they've been with you for one year or several decades.

From personalized gifts to memorable ceremonies, we've got a wealth of ideas to help you make each milestone truly special.

Let's dive in and discover 18 years of service award ideas as a source of pride and motivation for your employees!

But before that let’s understand the basics first.

What are years of service awards?

Years of service awards, often referred to as service anniversary awards, are recognition programs offered by employers to celebrate and honor employees for their dedication, loyalty, and tenure within the organization.

Years of service awards are typically given to employees who have completed specific milestones in terms of the number of years they have worked for the company.

The primary purpose of years of service awards is to acknowledge and reward employees for their long-term commitment and contributions to the organization.

Transform years of dedication into lifelong loyalty by implementing Xoxoday’s long service awards solution, celebrating employee milestones, and building a stronger, more engaged workforce. Want to know more? Book a demo with our rewards and incentives expert.

How to make years of service awards matter?

To maintain the relevance of your years of service awards, it's essential to adapt them continuously to changing employee needs and expectations. Instead of selecting a few ideas and leaving them unchanged, consider individualizing awards and recognizing specific achievements alongside tenure.

Here are some best practices to guide your awards program evolution:

1. Engage everyone with a reward and recognition platform

  • A significant 69% of employees find motivation in reward and recognition (R&R) programs to stay with their current employer.
  • Cultures fostering recognition are twice as likely to experience heightened employee engagement.
  • Enabling real-time recognition through R&R platforms involves all team members—coworkers, managers, and executives—and creates a self-sustaining cycle of appreciation throughout the organization.

13 Years of service award ideas for celebrating milestones

Years of service awards are a great way for companies to recognize and celebrate the dedication and commitment of their employees. Here are 13 years of service award ideas, along with examples from well-known brands:

1. Customized keepsake gifts

This concept revolves around offering personalized and memorable keepsake gifts to employees who have reached specific milestones in their years of service with the company. These gifts are not only tokens of appreciation but also serve as lasting reminders of the employee's dedication and contributions.

For example, Google is known for its creative and personalized approach to recognizing employee milestones. For a years of service award, they could offer customized, high-quality gifts that reflect the number of years an employee has been with the company.

For example, after 5 years, an employee could receive a personalized Google-branded smartphone case with their name and "5 Years of Innovation" engraved on it. After 10 years, they could receive a custom Google-themed watch or desk clock.

2. Paid time off (PTO) enhancement

Enhance the standard employee benefits by offering additional paid time off (PTO) as a years of service award. It recognizes the value of work-life balance and gives employees the opportunity to enjoy more leisure time.

For example, Microsoft could enhance their years of service awards by offering additional paid time off to employees who have been with the company for a certain number of years.

For instance, employees reaching 10 years of service could receive an extra week of paid vacation to use within the year. This provides a meaningful reward that allows employees to enjoy more leisure time with their families or pursue personal interests.

3. Stock options

Stock options are a form of compensation that allows employees to purchase company stock at a predetermined price, often lower than the current market value. They provide employees with a sense of ownership in the company and the potential for financial gain if the stock's value increases over time

For example, Microsoft has a history of offering stock options as a part of its compensation packages. To recognize years of service, Microsoft could grant additional stock options to employees who have been with the company for a significant period, such as 5 years or more.

These stock options not only acknowledge the employee's loyalty but also provide a valuable financial incentive and a sense of ownership in the company's success.

4. Recognition letter from leadership

A recognition letter from leadership is a personalized letter written by the company's top executives or senior management to acknowledge and appreciate an employee's years of service. These letters typically express gratitude, highlight the employee's contributions, and often include well wishes for their future with the organization.

For example, Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, was known for its personalized communication with employees. To recognize years of service, Apple could follow a similar approach by having the CEO or senior leadership team personally write a heartfelt recognition letter to employees who reach significant milestones.

This letter could express gratitude for their dedication and contributions, making the recognition more personal and meaningful.

5. Gift cards and cash

Gift cards and cash bonuses are tangible rewards that provide employees with the flexibility to choose how they want to celebrate or utilize their years of service recognition. Gift cards can be for various retailers, restaurants, or online platforms, while cash bonuses are a direct financial incentive.

For example, Starbucks, a company that values employee recognition, could offer gift cards and cash bonuses as years of service awards. For instance, employees who complete 10 years with the company could receive a gift card for Starbucks products along with a cash bonus.

This approach allows employees to choose their own rewards while also providing a tangible financial benefit.

Unlock the full potential of your workforce and drive employee engagement to new heights with Xoxoday’s long-term service awards – recognize your loyal team and secure your company's future success. Contact Xoxoday today to request a demo of our long-term service awards program and begin honoring your employees' dedication, leading to increased retention rates and a happier, more productive workforce.

6. Professional development opportunities

Focuse on investing in the professional growth and development of long-term employees. It acknowledges that as employees stay with the company, their skills and knowledge become increasingly valuable.

For example, Amazon could focus on investing in the growth and development of their long-term employees. They could offer a professional development award that provides employees with a budget to attend conferences, workshops, or courses related to their career growth.

For example, after 3 years, an employee could receive a $2,000 professional development grant to further their skills and knowledge in their field.

7. Peer recognition program

Establish a peer recognition program where employees can nominate their colleagues for years of service awards. This approach not only adds an element of inclusivity but also fosters a positive and supportive work environment.

For example, IBM could implement this idea by creating an internal platform or app where employees can nominate their peers who have reached years of service milestones. Nominations could include a brief description of the nominee's contributions and why they deserve recognition.

IBM could then review these nominations and provide awards or bonuses based on peer recommendations. This approach encourages teamwork and strengthens employee bonds.

8. Charitable donations in employee's name

Instead of traditional gifts, offer to make a charitable donation in the name of the employee who has reached a significant years of service milestone. This approach aligns recognition with corporate social responsibility.

For example, Salesforce, known for its philanthropic efforts, could adopt this idea by donating a specific amount to a charity of the employee's choice in their name. For instance, when an employee reaches 10 years of service, Salesforce could contribute $1,000 to a charity chosen by that employee.

This approach not only recognizes the employee's loyalty but also reinforces the company's commitment to social causes.

9. Customized learning and development plans

Offer personalized learning and development opportunities to employees who have completed a certain number of years with the company. This approach focuses on continuous growth and investment in the employee's future.

For example, Apple could implement this idea by creating customized learning and development plans for employees who reach specific years of service milestones. For instance, after 7 years with the company, an employee could receive a tailored development plan that includes access to specialized training, mentorship opportunities, and career coaching.

This approach shows that Apple values long-term employees not only for their past contributions but also for their potential to contribute more in the future.

These additional ideas provide diverse ways to recognize and appreciate employees for their years of service, considering factors like peer involvement, social responsibility, and ongoing professional development. Tailor these ideas to your company's culture and values to create a meaningful years of service awards program.

10. Flexible work arrangements

Reward long-term employees with the option to choose from flexible work arrangements that better suit their needs, such as remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks.

For example, Microsoft could offer this option to employees who have reached significant years of service milestones, such as 10 years. These employees could have the choice to work remotely part-time or adopt a flexible schedule that allows them to balance work and personal life more effectively.

This approach demonstrates the company's commitment to employee well-being and work-life balance.

11. VIP experiences and company perks

Provide exclusive VIP experiences or enhanced company perks to recognize long-term employees, making them feel valued and appreciated.

For example, Delta Air Lines could offer long-term employees VIP travel experiences, such as complimentary first-class upgrades or access to exclusive airport lounges, as a reward for their dedication. This aligns with Delta's industry and allows employees to enjoy the fruits of their labor in a unique and memorable way.

12. Mentorship opportunities

Encourage long-term employees to become mentors within the organization, allowing them to share their knowledge and experience with newer colleagues.

For example, Intel could establish a mentorship program for employees who have reached 15 years of service or more. These experienced employees could be paired with newcomers, providing guidance, sharing insights, and helping them integrate into the company culture more effectively.

This initiative not only recognizes the value of experienced employees but also contributes to knowledge transfer within the organization.

13. Health and wellness benefits

Recognize years of service by offering enhanced health and wellness benefits, such as gym memberships, wellness coaching, or mental health support.

For example, Johnson & Johnson, a healthcare company, could provide long-term employees with additional health and wellness benefits. For instance, employees reaching 20 years of service could receive a wellness package that includes a free gym membership, access to mental health counseling services, and nutritional guidance. This demonstrates the company's commitment to employee well-being and longevity.

These ideas offer a range of ways to recognize and reward employees for their years of service, including flexible work arrangements, VIP experiences, mentorship opportunities, and enhanced health and wellness benefits.

Adapt these concepts to suit your company's culture and values, ensuring that your employees feel valued and appreciated for their dedication to the organization.

At Xoxoday, we're committed to helping you cultivate loyalty and dedication among your employees. Learn how our long-term service awards can elevate your employee engagement efforts. Discover the impact of Xoxoday’s long-term service awards on employee satisfaction, retention rates, and company growth. Request a demo today.

5 Virtual years of service awards ideas

Virtual years of service awards are a great way to recognize and celebrate the dedication and loyalty of your employees, even when working remotely. Here are five creative ideas for virtual years of service awards:

1. Digital milestone badges

Create a series of digital badges or pins that employees can proudly display on their profiles, email signatures, or in virtual meetings. These badges can be customized with the employee's name, years of service, and company logo. As employees reach different milestones (e.g., 5, 10, 15 years), they can collect and showcase these badges.

2. Virtual celebration event

Host a virtual celebration event for employees reaching significant milestones. Include fun elements like virtual games, trivia, or a talent show featuring employees' hidden talents. During the event, present personalized video messages from senior leadership and colleagues to honor the awardees.

3. Online recognition wall

Create a dedicated webpage or a section on your company's intranet where you can publicly recognize and celebrate employees reaching their years of service milestones. Include their photos, a brief bio, and a congratulatory message from colleagues.

4. E-books or book club membership

Gift employees e-books related to personal or professional development or offer them a membership to a virtual book club where they can engage in meaningful discussions and connect with colleagues who share similar interests.

5. Video tribute

Collaborate with colleagues and team members to create a heartfelt video tribute for the employee reaching a milestone. Each colleague can record a short video message expressing their appreciation and sharing memorable moments. Combine these videos into a compilation and present it during a virtual celebration.

Recognise and retain your loyal employees with Xoxoday’s long term service awards

Loyal employees are hands down your most valuable asset. Their business knowledge, work experience and problem solving skills are hard to replace. Timely recognition and tenure awarding, can go a long way to show they are valued and retain them. But we know it can be time consuming and an added effort.

Make rewarding effective by offering your employees the thrill of choosing their own rewards. Deliver instant gratification experience that delights.

With Xoxoday Plum, you can now automate and simplify your long time service award program with its easy-to-use and 100% customizable workflow. Enjoy a comprehensive catalog with over 100+ offers added every month to the existing 21,000+ rewards across 80+ countries.

Celebrate employee milestones now with Xoxoday. Want to know more? Book a demo with our rewards and incentives expert


Recognizing and celebrating employees' long-term commitment to your organization is a powerful way to foster loyalty, boost morale, and create a positive workplace culture. The 18 service award ideas we've explored provide a range of options to help you honor your employees' milestones in a meaningful way.

FAQs on years of service award ideas

1. What to give for 3 years of service award?

Ideas for 3 years of service award:

  • Customized certificate of appreciation
  • Personalized desk plaque
  • Engraved pen set
  • Commemorative company jacket or apparel
  • Gift card to a preferred retailer or restaurant

2. What to give for 5 years of service award?

Ideas for 5 years of service award:

  • Crystal or glass award
  • Customized wall plaque
  • Quality wristwatch or jewelry
  • Weekend getaway package
  • Contribution to retirement savings

3. What to give for 10 years of service awards?

Ideas for 10 years of service award:

  • Executive desk clock
  • Engraved crystal vase
  • Travel voucher for a memorable vacation
  • Luxury gift set (e.g., fine wine, gourmet food)
  • Personalized office chair or workspace upgrade

4. What to give for 25 years of service awards?

Ideas for 25 years of service award:

  • Prestigious gold watch or jewelry
  • Engraved crystal trophy
  • All-expenses-paid trip to a dream destination
  • Generous cash bonus or retirement contribution
  • Special recognition event with family and colleagues

5. What to give for 30+ years of service awards?

Ideas for 30+ years of service award:

  • Exclusive customized jewelry piece
  • Engraved gold or platinum plaque
  • Luxury cruise or travel adventure
  • Significant cash bonus or comprehensive retirement package
  • Gala celebration event with company VIPs and honoree's loved ones

6. How are years of service awards typically given?

Years of service awards are typically given in the form of certificates, plaques, trophies, or tangible gifts such as watches, jewelry, or personalized items. Some organizations also provide monetary bonuses or additional paid time off.

7. When do employees usually start receiving years of service awards?

The timing varies by organization, but employees often start receiving these awards after completing 3, 5, 10, 15, or 20 years of service. Some companies may also have additional milestones, such as 25 or 30 years.

8. Are there tax implications for years of service awards?

In many countries, years of service awards are considered taxable income for the recipient. Employers may need to report these awards as taxable income, and employees should consult with a tax professional to understand their specific tax obligations.

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