Friday, June 10, 2011

Do Milestones Matter?

Don't be this guy...

"Welcome everyone.  Thank you for coming to the 1,000th annual awards banquet for surviving another year here at You-Are-Expendable, Inc.  I just want to say how proud I am of each and every one of you for the....uh...stuff that you do in your jobs.  You are really something.  Now I'm going to call each of you up by name to receive your certificate of longevity here at Expendable.  Forgive me if I can't pronounce any of your names correctly.  Let's begin..." 

Milestones Represent More Than A Date
One of the phrases that drives me crazy is when an employee is characterized negatively because "they've been here forever."  Are you kidding me?  The employees that have been with your company "forever" are the ones that have been through thick and thin.  They've experienced so many changes you couldn't begin to count them.  They've managed through changing leadership, staff that come and go, and technology that was only a  dream when they first came on board. They are the company.  

Be Sincere, Or Be Gone
The next time you are standing in front of a group of employees, whether it's 5 or 500, make sure they know how truly important it is to you that they have remained loyal for so long.  By the way, it's not just the employees that have been loyal.  Their spouses, kids, partners, and friends have all put up with last minute schedule changes, overtime, emergencies, and new projects that needed extra time.  Make sure they know that you know about them too.

How About You
Do milestones matter?  You bet your life they do. What are you going to do the next time someone criticizes someone for being a "lifer?"  I'm hoping you get in their face and let them know that the "lifers" are the loyal ones that helped make your organization what it is today.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of CT


  1. just as long as we agree that "being here forever" doesn't make the world's best employee. i hate employees that rely on their tenure...and only their their defining grace. Institutional knowledge is important, but it doesn't justify your existence.

  2. Totally agree Charlie. My point here is that when we jump to conclusions about an employee's worth based on tenure (the longer the tenure, the less valuable the employee) we're making a big mistake. All employees need to stay current, and continue to push themselves, regardless of lenght of service.

  3. Jay,
    Thanks for the reminder that the sincerity and personal aspect of service awards makes them memorable. Too often managers and employers take employees' tenure for granted when it's a big accomplishment to remain with an organization for 10, 15, even 5 years - especially these days!

  4. Cori - I'm with you 100%. In an era of job-hopping, it's almost a surprise to learn someone has stayed with an organization for an extended number of years.