Make long-service recognition ceremonies more meaningful

Those organising long-service recognition ceremonies should consider making such events a more personal experience for those receiving the award.

At such ceremonies, often what happens is that the head of the organisation gives a speech, after which recipients are ushered into queues. The awardees' names are then called out and they dutifully troop onto the elevated stage to collect their scrolls and pose for an obligatory photo.

Compare this with a recent recognition ceremony at a medical school for the graduating class of 1980.

The doctors, many of whom are nearing retirement age, were being honoured for their contribution to the medical field as successful alumni of the school.

As each doctor went up to the stage to be adorned with a shawl by the dean, two photos filled the entire backdrop.

One was a photo of the doctor as a student at admission, and the other was a current photograph.

The recipients were surprised and honoured that the school had retained their student admission photos from almost 40 years ago, at an age where digital records did not exist, and had thoughtfully retrieved them for display at that ceremony.

It was a touching gesture that recognised the individual through his journey in time.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if long-service award ceremonies recognised their employees similarly too?

Jairaj Ramanathan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Make long-service recognition ceremonies more meaningful'. Print Edition | Subscribe