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The Evolution of Retirement Awards
The Evolution of Retirement Awards

Considering the history and the fact our modern understanding of retirement has been a very recent phenomenon, you may be inclined to believe that there hasn’t been much of an evolution in retirement awards but you’d be wrong. Rewards have existed for as long as the idea of what retirement was has existed and they’ve changed along with it.

Retirement celebration award

It took a while for society to recognize the benefits of retirement awards, along with any other award in a good employee recognition program, but that doesn’t mean that these benefits could soon become obsolete. If anything, awards like these are even more important in today’s world considering few people stay with the same company for most of their working lives. Turnover rate has increased by a staggering 88% every year since 2010 and this low talent retention rate is proving to be costly, making it all the more important to honor retiring employees who’ve been with the company a long time.

So, what has the evolution of retirement awards looked like? Read on and find out!

Sheriff retirement award

The First Retirement Award

The first instance of an “award” for retirement dates all the way back to ancient Rome when Emperor Caesar Augustus offered certain legionaries in the empire’s army a retirement package. The package was about 13 times a soldier’s annual salary, and this monetary compensation can be considered the first retirement award in recorded history. It was available to soldiers who had completed 20 years of service in the Roman legion alongside five in the military reserves. This idea was first implemented in 13 BC and was initially funded by general revenue but eight years later in 5 BC Caesar Augustus established a special fund to award retired legionaries their compensation.

Unlike the retirement awards given out today, which are meant to honor an employee’s hard work, dedication, loyalty and show appreciation, this financial compensation was awarded for entirely different reasons. Caesar Augustus awarded his legionnaires money not out of appreciation for their service but to keep them from revolting against the Roman Empire. It was an incentive that aimed to keep retired soldiers loyal. In addition to this, some soldiers were awarded a parcel of land, but it remains unclear if all soldiers were given both land and money or a choice between the two.

Today, we understand that keeping employees happy with their work and loyal to their employers shouldn’t be done after the fact, but this just goes to show how much retirement awards have evolved over the years.

Monetary compensation in the form of pensions would again be used as an award for retired soldiers, this time almost 1600 years after the Roman Empire awarded their legionnaires money upon their retirement. In sessions between 1592 and 1593 the British Parliament made a pension for soldiers that had put themselves in grave danger, lost limbs, or became disabled from injuries sustained in combat. Lieutenants could get up to 20 English pounds while privates could get up to 10.

Crystal retirement award

Retirement Awards For the Modern Era

For the next few hundred years in human history, retirement plans would become available to more and more people across the world, but monetary compensation remained the norm for retirement awards. It wasn’t until 1935, with the enactment of the Social Security Act and later amendments to it, that retirement became a real possibility for millions of Americans. Following this act is when retirement awards as we think of them today – trophies, plaques, vases, and more – came into being. Since more people were eligible for financial compensation in retirement, something special was needed to celebrate and honor those who had been with the same company for a long time and retirement awards as we know them today were born.

Find Modern Retirement Awards at EDCO

When you’re looking for the perfect award that truly communicates how much you and the company appreciate the dedicated work and loyalty of a retiring employee there’s nowhere better than EDCO – the nations leading supplier of recognition. Shop our vast selection of or create a custom award today!

5 Examples of Successful Retirement Awards
5 Examples of Successful Retirement Awards
Employee recognition programs are vital to boosting company morale and creating an engaging, competitive, and productive workplace and no employee recognition program is complete without a retirement award. The award publicly honors those who’ve provided the company with quality, meaningful work over the years and gives them a physical token of your appreciation. Retirement awards also show that your workspace is one that cares about and invests in its talent.
The History of Retirement Awards
The History of Retirement Awards

While the concept of retirement has been around for thousands of years, retirement as we know it today has only been around for 90 years. To better understand it, why it’s worth celebrating, and recognition in the workplace in general it helps to look at early examples and track how the idea of retirement has changed over time. Such an understanding will only enrich your current employee recognition program and make celebrating the retirement of a co-worker or employee even more meaningful.


The first example of retirement dates all the way back to 13 BC when the Emperor of Rome Caesar Augustus offered his legionnaires a retirement package which was roughly 13 times their annual salary. Soldiers became eligible after 20 years of service in the legion and five in the military reserves. Caesar Augustus intended this to be an incentive for soldiers not to rise up against the empire they once served and overthrow the government. Eight years later in 5 BC Caesar Augustus doubled down on this idea, establishing a special fund to pay retired legionnaires rather than taking money from the empire’s general revenue.


The next major example of retirement also involved establishing a pension fund for soldiers, but almost 1600 years after Caesar Augustus was the first to do so and this time in England. In sessions between 1592-93, English Parliament established a pension for soldiers who lost limbs, became disabled, or otherwise put themselves sin great danger. Private soldiers could get up to 10 English pounds while lieutenants could get up to 20.
1684 saw the first nonmilitary members become eligible to receive a pension, as London Port Authorities became the first public servants to qualify for pension. Throughout the 18th century more and more members of the military became eligible for retirement and pension funds, as the US congress established pensions for naval forces, the Army, officers who stayed in service after the Revolutionary War, and more.


In 1857 New York became the first state to establish a retirement plan for police officers and by 1917 85% of US cities with populations over 100,000 provided some form of pension plan for their police forces.
The first retirement plan for private-sector workers in America was introduced by American Express in 1875. American Express employees who had worked for the company for over 20 years and had reached the age of 60 and been recommended for retirement by a manager could receive up to half their salary annually. By 1919 there were over 300 private-sector plans in existence.


Retirement as we know it today came to be with the Social Security Act in 1935, largely influenced by the effects of the Great Depression and the Industrial Revolution. The act created a federal safety net for Americans who were elderly, disabled, or otherwise disadvantaged. Over the next several decades the act would be amended to allow more people to qualify for retirement benefits and for the number of benefits to be expanded. BY 1983, 40 million Americans were covered by private-sector pensions. Today, 84% of retirees collect social security and 44% collect other benefits like 401(k)s.

Crystal Pyramid Retirement Award


Considering what retirement looked like prior to the turn of the 21st century, and how few would have even been eligible for retirement benefits back then, celebrating retirement is all the more meaningful. Celebrating it is not just about honoring past accomplishments but also celebrating the fact that we live in a time where so many can have fulfilling, enjoyable lives after their careers have run their course. And what better way to commemorate retirement that with a beautiful award? At EDCO, we’re the nation’s leader in recognition and have a wide selection of retirement awards that are all perfect for showing your employees how much you appreciate their continued hard work over the years. Shop our selection today!

How To Celebrate Your Employees In a Work-From-Home Environment
How To Celebrate Your Employees In a Work-From-Home Environment

The severity of the global COVID19 pandemic prompted quite a bit of change in practically every aspect of life, but particularly in the business sector. Abrupt closures of thousands of businesses meant offices and other workspaces were abandoned as a new era of remote work was ushered in for millions across the entire nation. The abrupt change, coupled with the uncertainty of the pandemic, meant that as employers scrambled to transition their operations online as best they could some elements were lost in the process. Unfortunately, this resulted in many employee recognition programs falling to the wayside or put being put on hold.

In the year since the onset of the pandemic, many companies have learned how to successfully digitize much of what they do, and many now offer more digital services, but regardless of the reliance on in-person or remote work a good employee recognition program is still important. In some ways, it’s even more vital to company success in a remote, work-from-home environment.

The specifics and frequency of awards will vary from company to company, but all should enjoy the same benefits. By celebrating and honoring the accomplishments and hard work of their employees, businesses can motivate their employees to be more productive, work more efficiently.

Use recognition awards to motivate our remote employees

Continue the Tradition of Employee Recognition

Maintaining a good employee recognition program will also boost employee morale and contribute to more supportive culture that lowers retention rates. It’s simple – if employees feel as though their hard work and dedication is not just appreciated, but publicly recognized they’ll want to work harder and have less interest in searching for employment elsewhere. This acknowledgement is especially important when facing a work-from-home environment, as you won’t have the opportunities to show your appreciation through words and actions in person in the office.

Considering the importance of employee recognition awards in a work-from-home environments, you’ll want to give a lot of thought into the type of award you’re bestowing. Such awards should be meaningful, public, and personalized so they truly convey how appreciative you are of your employee’s hard work. To create a meaningful award, incorporate some work from home element in the name or physical trophy itself. If some of your employees work in office and others are remote, perhaps give out a remote employee of the month award in addition to an in-office employee of the month.

Remote employee recognition awards are powerful for team building in a remote environment.

Embrace the Changing Environment by Recognizing New Achievements

We all know that working remote comes with its fair share of technical difficulties, so perhaps give out an award to those who persevered despite having a bad internet connection or other technical issues. Even if you can’t physically present the award, make sure the recipient is brought up in a company meeting or in some other way where all can see. Lastly, you don’t want to get something generic without the company logo or recipient’s name engraved because it’ll make it seem like you didn’t put any thought into the award.

Regardless of how you decide to celebrate the accomplishments of your employees during a work-from-home environment, EDCO has such a massive selection of trophies, plaques, crystal awards, and more that you’re guaranteed to find an award that meets your needs. Shop our selection today!

Plaque or Trophy? We Can Help You Decide!
Plaque or Trophy? We Can Help You Decide!

It’s a good sign when you’re having a tough time narrowing down the list of employees who are up for an award – every company would love to have multiple employees who are highly motivated, hardworking problem solvers that can always be counted on – and they should be recognized, but it can be hard to figure out what kind of award is best. Do you get a plaque or a trophy? Not to worry, because as the nation’s premier supplier of recognition EDCO is here to help you figure out the best way to show staff, team, or customers that you recognize their excellence, commitment, and passion.

Employee recognition awards can largely be split into two groups: plaques and trophies. However, prior to deciding which of these options to go with, you’ll want to determine what exactly corporate awards mean to your business. You want awards to speak to the services you provide, as well as company values or a company mission, so it’s important to walk the right line when it comes to recognizing employee achievement. You don’t want these awards to lose their meaning or have their purpose lost.

Considering the many benefits of a good employee recognition program such as increased motivation and employee morale, it’s paramount to get things like this so it can be a win-win for the business and the people who make it successful. Whether you choose a plaque or trophy may seem like an insignificant decision, but it’s important and there are several things to consider.

Plaques make excellent award displays

Award Plaques vs. Trophies

So, should you get a plaque or a trophy? Each has their own pros and cons. Trophies obviously don’t take up any wall space and while they do take up desk space they can be passed around among employees. For example, an employee of the month award can be transferred from recipients on a monthly basis. This doesn’t just save space but it will save the company money as well because it’s one less thing that needs to be purchased every month. If you won’t have wall space to spare or are particular about the things that go up in the workplace, trophies are they way to go.

 There are also more unique designs and materials to pick from with trophies, giving you the ability to bestow an award that’s truly different and exclusive. With plaques the materials and designs are far more limiting while employee of the month trophies can be made out of glass, crystal, or acrylic and shaped into a wide variety of different designs. At EDCO, we have a wide selection of gorgeous crystal awards shaped into diamond, flame, stars, globes, and more alongside pristine glass awards in black, red, green, blue colors and artistic shapes.

On the other hand, award plaques take up no desk space. If your office space has limited space, or is already quite cluttered, employee recognition plaques would be the smart choice and won’t get in the way of things. However, there are some plaques that can be both freestanding and hung on a wall which give you far more versatility than a trophy. Additionally, this gives the recipient far more freedom to either use their desk or wall space as they see fit.

While the design options are a little more limiting, EDCO carries glass and acrylic plaques in addition to the typical wooden and metallic variants. There are also typically more customization options with plaques, as most have space for more than just an employee name and year to be added while not all trophies have much space for engraving.

Crystal desk trophy

Making the Decision

So, do you go with a plaque or trophy? Weighing the pros and cons of each is up to you, but regardless of your decision EDCO has a wide enough selection of each that you’ll be sure to find one that meets your preferences and budget. Shop with us today and be sure to come back to EDCO for all your employee recognition needs!

Our Top Eye-Catching Crystal Awards of 2021
Our Top Eye-Catching Crystal Awards of 2021

What are our top eye-catching crystal awards of 2021? Read on to find out and learn why crystal is far superior to glass!

When it comes to employee recognition plaques and trophies, crystal awards are among the most popular and for good reason – they’re not just stronger and more transparent than glass but they can be molded into a variety of shapes. While both start out as melted sand before becoming the firm, clear material we’re familiar with crystal contains 20-30% more lead and it’s this higher concentration of minerals that makes it clearer and far more durable than glass. The density of minerals also means a crystal award will weigh more than glass, making it seem far more significant than a glass award. Both literally and metaphorically, crystal awards will communicate how appreciative you are of your employees’ efforts. The larger number of minerals could lead one to believe that crystal awards are less visually appealing and transparent than glass, but this isn’t the case. Crystal actually is much glossier and transparent because of these minerals and they give the material qualities than mimic those of a prism, refracting light and transforming it into a wonderful rainbow. There should be no debate – crystal awards are just more sparkly and visually appealing than glass awards.

So crystal awards are clearly the best, but what awards are the best of the best? Here, we’ll briefly go over some of our top eye-catching crystal awards of 2021 so if you’re thinking of starting an employee recognition program or upgrading an existing one you know which to check out first.

Excellence Award Crystal Obelisk

This stunning excellence award is perfect for honoring the top performers in your company. The refined obelisk design is truly a masterpiece to behold and is constructed all from the highest quality optical crystal we could find. Your company logo, or whatever image you desire, can be deep etched into the award’s top imprint location and your custom message can be etched on the bottom. If you’re looking for an award with wow factor, this is the one.

Crystal Super Five Star

Crafted with a variety of detailed cuts and bevels, this gorgeous award is incredible at refracting light, making it one of the most eye-catching crystal awards we offer. The most forward facing, center diamond can be etched and there is a larger etching spot on the base. In addition to being one of the most stunning awards we offer it’s also one of the heaviest at 15 pounds.

Leadership Pyramid Award

The pyramid shape of this award makes a great for honoring big accomplishments, perfect for the person who has risen to the top. It offers etching areas at all four levels. Standing at 10 inches tall and weighing nearly 11 pounds, it’s a sight to behold!

Diamond Edge Flame Red Crystal Award

This award has a deep red crystal base and has been specially crafted to reflect light and carry a red hue all throughout the body. If you’re looking for an award with a pop of color that’ll stand out from all the other clear crystal awards out there, this is the one for you.

Azure Star Crystal Award

A perfect choice for honoring the shining star, or stars, in your office, this award features a deep blue base and crystal masterfully cut into the shape of a star for a truly one-of-a-kind design. The crystal itself is close to three inches deep in some places and at nine and a half inches tall it’ll certainly make an impression.

Crystal globe trophy

Empire Globe Award

As the name would suggest, this award has a crystal model of the Earth which has been held up by three separate pieces of crystal that stretch upward and curve out. The model of our planet itself is four inches in diameter and includes the tri-pillar design refracts light beautifully.

No matter what award you decide needs to be incorporated into your company’s employee recognition program, EDCO will ensure it’s a high-quality product that the recipient will love. Shop our selection of high-quality crystal awards and more today!

Our 5 Most Popular Employee Recognition Awards
Our 5 Most Popular Employee Recognition Awards
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