The Role of Communication in Employee Recognition Programs

Employee Recognition Program Communication

If you build it, they will come, right? Not necessarily. Proper program design and branding will ensure that your incentive programs are effective and will deliver a higher return on your investment, but make sure that you don’t underestimate the role of communication in employee recognition programs.

The Launch

  • Have you developed an attention-getting theme for the program or campaign?
  • How are you announcing the program?
  • Is there visible support from top management?

Employees are more likely to be engaged in the program when they see that it’s supported by management. An email, social post or phone message from the CEO or President will show that company leaders are aware of the program and will be monitoring results. Have you developed digital or other materials for the program? How are you communicating the rules and tracking progress?

Consider a promotional product that is consistent with your brand and communicates the theme of the program to capture attention as the program is launched.

During the Program

Don’t just set-it-and-forget-it. Updates throughout the life of the program are also very important. Partner with an experienced firm that can help design the program and guide you through the process, including a format for on-going communication with participants throughout the program. Develop a dashboard that participants can access at will, but also a communication schedule to send outbound messages. Participants should be able to monitor their progress as well as understand what’s necessary to get to the next level.

Consider interactive email, dimensional snail mail or promotional products to keep the program top-of-mind with participants and encourage them to work to achieve the next level.

Celebrate Success!

Letting the system reward the employee when they reach goals is not enough. It’s important to publicly share results and celebrate the success of the program. Reward achievers as immediately as possible, and a program wrap-up celebration at the end of the campaign can be one way in which to share results with the group and reinforce how the program helped to achieve company goals. Again, top management should be involved in the reward presentation or program celebration. If you have remote employees, consider a virtual celebration that includes your entire participant audience.

An intentional employee recognition strategy and program design that plans for communication at the beginning, throughout the program and at the end will ensure that your participants will stay informed, engaged and achieve results!

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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