I’ve written before about the documented correlation between recognition of staff and employees’ performance but it’s worth mentioning again. Especially when it doesn’t have to cost much.

Recognising loyalty can be easy but inexpensive – just ask SSP and Rail Gourmet. They’ve achieved real success with our personalised pens for rewarding attendance and long service.

Leighmans have provided both companies with engraved pens for several years. They are handed out annually to long-serving members of staff and employees with perfect attendance records.

Both are big businesses, employing thousands, and the schemes have been so successful that the pens are now highly collectable items and seen as a real mark of recognition. Despite the relatively low cost of the pens they create genuine value among employees.

SSP runs an employee benefits system rewarding service after five years, and running up to 40 years in five-year increments. At five years, employees receive a chromed and engraved Cross pen; this is then repeated every five years. At 20 years they are given an engraved pen and pencil set. Remaining with the business for 40 years entitles you to the ultimate reward – a ten-carat gold engraved pen and pencil set. In the last year, SSP has handed out more than 40 pens to people with 20 years of service or more.

The Rail Gourmet HR team awards employees who have a 100 per cent attendance record with an engraved Cross pen. The pens have Rail Gourmet engraved on one side, and the employee’s name on the other. This year alone they handed out more than 330, based on 2011 attendance figures.

These two examples show that businesses don’t need to spend thousands of pounds recognising service and loyalty – and thereby building important relationships with their employees. What staff value is the personal touch.

Any company can create loyalty and build up that all-important relationship with the team: People will stay with the business for longer and everyone will benefit. It’s clearly the write way to go about your business.