Is Loyalty a valuable enough commodity within an organization to be bonused on?

I believe most recruiting departments are very aware of the real cost to their organizations caused by attrition and the need for a strong retention program. In the past, organizations rewarded loyal employees with pension plans, but this practice has fallen by the wayside. I am aware that annual individual and division performance bonuses and stock options are still widely used as "golden handcuffs" that go away if you leave a larger, usually publicly traded, organization, but what about the mid-sized business wrestling with retention?

Does it make sense to give employees a bonus on significant anniversaries tied to a percentage of the estimated amount it would cost to replace them as a "thank you" for being loyal? Has anyone come across a program like this? Do you think this would increase the overall morale of a corporation if employees knew this program was in place in conjunction with other retention strategies and an emphasis on senior management development? As a recruiter, do you think this would be a good selling point to candidates, or is lunch and a key chain sufficient for these milestones?

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This is an interesting question, depending on how you view it, it could be construed as trying to 'buy' loyalty or simply rewarding it. I like the idea of a bonus for significant milestones, anything that shows appreciation. I think the best way to ensure loyalty though is to treat employees well all the time, to reward them regularly when they go above and beyond. When I contracted at Bank of America, they had regular quarterly appreciation calls, and people in each group were voted on by their peers for their contributions which encouraged a stronger collaborative team environment. There were several different recognition categories and those awarded received 'spirit points' that they could either take cash for or save for special shopping promotions. It was/is a very popular program!

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