6 Steps to Branding your Employee Reward & Recognition Programs

Branding Reward and Recognition Programs

What’s in a Brand?

Just about everything we consume has a brand name on it, from our favorite breakfast cereal to the car we drive to the cellular service provider we choose and everything in between. A brand name tells us exactly what to expect when we buy that product or service or interact with that company. That’s why it’s SO important that we are true to our brand in every touch point with our customers, and also with our employees. Why would our reward & recognition programs be any different?

Employee recognition and performance improvement programs deliver a return on investment that far exceeds financial gains, provided that they are structured and administered intentionally and effectively. Brand your employee programs the same way that you would brand a product or service offering to ensure that they will have the maximum impact. If you are launching critical employee incentive programs with generic and forgettable names like “Employee Reward Program”, you’re missing an opportunity to connect your employees emotionally to your company objectives.


6 Steps to Branding Your Employee Reward & Recognition Program

  1. Put the time in up front to create a brand that captures and communicates your company’s core values.
  2. Use language that ties those values to the objectives of your initiative (improving safety, wellness, customer service, team building, training, etc.).
  3. Invite input from representative employees and managers throughout your organization so that you’re not designing the program in a vacuum. Don’t assume what will motivate your audience; get their input.
  4. Partner with an experienced solution provider to ensure that you have addressed all of the factors that contribute to a successful program and are avoiding common pitfalls.
  5. Dress up your theme with a logo, tag lines, color schemes and other elements that support your messaging, are consistent with your company’s brand attributes and will make the program more memorable.
  6. Communicate the program using every platform available: online, in print, via on site posters, through company newsletters or social media. Provide regular updates to generate excitement and keep your program on the minds of the participants that you are motivating.

Brands add value, create trust and inspire. Make sure that your brand extends to the programs you create to improve performance and reward & recognize your employees. Branding your internal programs will provide your workforce with direction, motivation, reinforce company values and ensure that you will see the highest return on your employee recognition investment.

In economic terms, the multiplier effect refers to the proportional increase or decrease in final income that results from an injection or withdrawal of capital. In terms of Safety Reward Programs, the multiplier effect might refer to the ROI² (Return on Incentive Investment). A properly structured program significantly impacts overall employee engagement and safety culture, where employees are attuned to safety-related issues, inspired to display “Above & Beyond” safe behaviors, willing to be safety ambassadors, and encouraged to promote learning and support continuous improvement. Such best-in-class programs are designed to promote group objectives and reward individual behavior, engaging, motivating, and rewarding the people behind your success.

Fortunately, there are thousands of companies in high-risk industries that have excellent safety programming, training, and coaching in place. Many include safety in their list of core values and have invested heavily in EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) technology, training, telematics, and personnel. However, too many miss the opportunity to incentivize and recognize individual safety contributions, behaviors, and performance.

Programs featuring tangible and experiential awards as the reward currency can have a multiplying effect that pays dividends. Benefits include a more highly engaged workforce, fewer accidents and incidents, reduced claims and losses, lower turnover and absenteeism, better communication, increased productivity, visibility to leading and lagging indicators, incremental coaching and training opportunities, and improved profitability.

So, what’s the rub? Are engagement programs focused on employee safety, health, and wellness expensive to implement? Do they only make sense for companies with thousands of safety-sensitive workers? The answer to both questions is no. Properly structured programs can be cost-effective and right-sized for companies with as few as 100 safety-sensitive workers up to those with 10,000 or more. The ROI² of these programs can be expressed as a ratio (in this case, 4:1), with quantitative results showing a savings of $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and qualitative results revealing higher employee morale, which serves as a catalyst for productivity. Safety Reward Programs help to mitigate risk, elevate employee engagement, and improve overall safety culture. They also present an excellent opportunity for companies to simply say thank you to their employees for being safe, committed, and engaged.

People have an inherent need to know that their efforts do not go unnoticed. Safety Reward Programs provide the stimulus and energy that encourage employees to perform at their best and achieve new heights.

Heidi Chatfield


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