Home Blog Celebrating Staff Loyalty: 10 Creative Long Service Award Ideas

Celebrating Staff Loyalty: 10 Creative Long Service Award Ideas

Photo of Andy Cakebread Andy Cakebread 15 March 2023
The place to be Long service blog cover photo

In a job market where 40% of workers plan on leaving their current employer within the next 12 months, acknowledging the individuals who form the backbone of your organisation goes a long way.

Worrying statistics like this highlight the important role that recognising staff loyalty plays in retaining and motivating your employees—especially those who have been by your side through the ups and downs.

With traditional gifts like gold watches becoming old-fashioned, personalised rewards like Thankbox are taking over. So, if you’re wondering how to show your employees that their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

What is a long service award?

Long-service awards express appreciation to employees who have been with your company for a significant amount of time. Generally, employers celebrate milestones such as five, ten, twenty or more years of service. 

Long service awards are a common way for companies to say “thank you” for their team's hard work and commitment, while motivating them to stay with the company for many more years to come.

However, as we touched on earlier, it's becoming more important to acknowledge and celebrate loyalty and commitment from the get-go. Thus, some organisations celebrate first employee anniversaries with service awards.

Ten unique long service award ideas

As long-service awards change with time, traditional methods of showing gratitude are falling by the wayside. Don’t worry, though—we’ve created this list with a mix of modern gifts and timeless classics to help get you thinking.

Let’s dive into our top ten long-service award ideas

1) Say “thanks a million” with Thankbox

What better way to toast long service than by celebrating with the friends you’ve made along the way? With our chic e-card designs, you and your team can easily craft heartfelt messages to celebrate your long-term employees.

Thankbox Thank You card homepage

Thankbox allows team members to add personalised messages to say thank you, along with GIFs, images, and videos to make the online congratulations card even more special. With a few clicks, you can create a long-service award that they will cherish for years to come.


2) Surprise your employees with a personalised digital gift card 

In addition to creating custom e-cards, Thankbox offers the option to set up a group gift collection for your outstanding long-service employees. Recipients can choose to claim the cash value as a gift card or receive a prepaid debit card, giving them the freedom to use it however they please. 

Thankbox Gift Card - how it works illustration

Your team can easily and securely contribute and collect money online. And with access to over 700 popular retailers globally and the ability to redeem in over 150 currencies, every gift you give is hassle-free and flexible.

3) Monthly rewards via paid subscriptions

As you’ll know your long service employee inside and out, offering paid subscriptions based on their interests is a creative way to show appreciation and demonstrate that you care. Provide a range of subscription options such as beauty boxes, music streaming, and wellness app subscriptions for them to pick from.

4) Who doesn’t love experience days?

If your recipient loves trying new things, experience days are an ideal option. Abseiling or bungee-jumping days are perfect for those Indiana Jones-types itching for adventure. And for those cuisine aficionados, restaurants with a view or gin experiences are just the ticket!

An image of a person on a mountain summit

There's something for everyone when it comes to experience days, making them a unique and thoughtful way to show appreciation for an employee's long-term commitment.

5) Did you say bonus?

Even though it may be considered a traditional way to show appreciation, it’s a classic for a reason. To make the act more memorable and impactful, consider pairing it with other gestures of gratitude, like a heartfelt “Thank You” card or framed certificate. 

Remember to provide a significant bonus amount to express gratefulness (particularly if they have over ten years of service).

6) Turn the music up! 

What better way to celebrate than by throwing a surprise party? Either fill the office with festivities and anniversary-themed decorations, or hire an outside venue. The recipient will see just how how much they’re appreciated as they dance the night away.

People partying al fresco at sundown

Since it’s a special occasion, invite senior leaders to present their thank you’s in person, ensuring a memorable evening no one will ever forget.

7) Name a meeting room in their honour

For those with over 25 years of service, naming a meeting room in their honour cements a lasting legacy for all to see. The recipient will feel recognized and appreciated whenever they or their colleagues utilise the meeting room.

To implement this idea, choose a meeting room in your office that’s frequently in use and designate it with their name. Their sign should highlight the number of years of service as well.

8) Make a charitable donation in their name

Offer your long-term employee the opportunity to pick a charity that’s close to their heart. This will make their reward even more personal and meaningful. Either issue a one-time donation or arrange a regular contribution in the employee's name.

Not only does this gesture show appreciation for their service, but it celebrates the gift of giving.

9) Enjoy the glitz and glamour of an awards show

There's no better way to celebrate than by hosting an awards show where they’re the guest of honour. Invite colleagues to make speeches and showcase photos from their first day to add a personal touch. 

A set of balloons at a gala

As a memorable conclusion to the evening, award the employee with a trophy and the stage to make a speech (but don’t press the dreaded walking-off music if they overrun!).

10) Create a timeless gift with a milestone scrapbook

Fair warning, get the tissues ready because there might be tears. In your milestone scrapbook, gather memorable photos, quotes, and notes that reflect the employee's time at your company

Additionally, have coworkers sign and write thoughtful messages in the scrapbook. This timeless gift lets employees take a trip down memory lane whenever they want. 

Reward staff loyalty with Thankbox

It's important to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate employees who have dedicated a significant portion of their careers to your company, and the ideas presented here offer a great starting point for doing so.

To really personalise your long service awards, Thankbox can guide you in the right direction. With our gorgeous work anniversary cards, recipients know their loyalty and dedication haven’t gone unnoticed.

Image sources:

Neon sign - Person on mountain - Party - Balloons