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.
- 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.
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!