Many people have clicked on a previous version of this blog post wanting to learn how they should set up a point-based reward program.
Unfortunately, some individuals and recognition and reward providers suggest certain ideas as being best practices so the client’s employees will consume more points. So, buyer beware and let’s learn some principles versus supposed best practices to guide you.
My goal is to provide you with objective information along with solid principles for you to make wise decisions by. I will also give you some pros and cons for some options.
Designing and developing recognition programs take a lot of thought, planning, and creativity.
The best way I can recommend beginning is to consider the distinct programs falling under a pyramid. And like building most structures, the foundation is critical because it holds everything built on top of it.
That’s why you build your recognition programs from the bottom up.
Ben Feldman was a successful insurance salesperson back in the 1940s. When asked how he achieved his repeated multimillion-dollar sales year after year, he said, “If you’ve got a problem, make it a procedure and it won’t be a problem anymore.”
It is the same with improving your recognition programs. You first have to put some procedures in place, then you won’t have any more problems with your recognition and reward programs.
The key to consistently improving your recognition programs is to follow a quality improvement process, like the following.
Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday with my family from a distance.
Families sang happy birthday to me via FaceTime or sent unique greetings like the JibJab Happy Quarantine Birthday with my face and my children’s faces imposed on dancing animations.
All the families surprised me in the evening with a Zoom video conference get together and playing 3 rounds of the smartphone app game called Psych. Highly recommend this if you haven’t played it with a group of people yet.
My one granddaughter had made cookies and her Mom put a single birthday candle on the cookie and I virtually blew it out as she blew it out. However, she ate the cookie!
Now that’s what happened for me to celebrate a birthday.
What can you do to celebrate your employees’ career milestones virtually? How do you celebrate employees who make a difference or for significant achievements from a distance because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
sure how you did with learning a foreign language at high school, if you needed
to do that. When I was trying to learn French growing up in England, it was a
matter of rote grammar drills, writing out the different verb tenses, and very
little conversational practice.
I cannot speak French today so can never claim to be fluent.
I also spent two years in my early twenties living in Belgium and
gained some Flemish language skills. However, upon returning to Canada and many
years absent with speaking Flemish, I have found out that if you don’t use a language, you lose it.
That’s why being fluent with the data gleaned from your recognition programs is such a necessary skill for you as a recognition manager or program administrator. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it.
One of the
questions I am often asked when it comes to rewards is what to reward people
with as well as when are you supposed to give those rewards.
to remember that rewards can be tangible, monetary, or experiential in nature.
This opens the door to all kinds of creative options and ideas for what to give
to people or give them access to choose.
And broadly you
give rewards to individuals or teams whenever they reach pre-set goals, a
significant achievement, or a special service was performed.
Now let’s dig a
little deeper so you can better understand these elements.
Choosing the right awards
for your various incentive and recognition programs is never an easy task. You want
to show employees that their contributions are valued and appreciated. Awards should
match your program’s goals and celebrate employee achievements. Today’s
employees want more than the traditional award items. So here are the Top 10
Ways to Select the Right Incentive or Recognition Award to help you.
1. Clearly spell out your program purpose. Is this award for a sales campaign? Are you wanting
to get people enlisted in your health and wellness platform? Or is this a
prestigious award for the president’s excellence program? Awards must always
fit the program purpose and performance level.
2. Have employees involved and ask them. Use an employee survey to get the big picture view
of employee input. Ask them to prioritize on criteria such as the meaningfulness
and perception of various award options. Draw upon focus groups too so you can
dig deeper. Solicit the why behind each employee idea.
3. Focus on the meaningfulness factor. Employees are very clear on whether an award item is
meaningful or not. Always add onto the
award presentation. For example, who’s presenting the award? How have you
orchestrated the total award celebration experience? What elements can you make
4. Inspire and excite award recipients. Does the incentive or recognition award inspire the
recipient to do, and be, better? As you explore award items – whether tangible
gifts or symbolic awards – find out how excited employees are to receive them.
Evaluate the emotional appeal of the awards you’re thinking about.
5. Provide choice wherever you can. Giving people exciting options to decide from is a
great way to create motivation. Whether the awards are lifestyle, health and
fitness, electronics, outdoor, or experiential items, charitable donations, or gift
cards. Think choice! This factor can be especially critical with incentives.
6. Always use quality, name brand products. It can be a real let down when an award gift breaks
or stops functioning shortly after receiving it. Stick with brand name items
that are top quality. Ensure your award vendor is reputable and has a great
exchange and replacement policy. Your award speaks for you.
7. Put symbolic awards on a pedestal. Trophies and medals must be totally representative
of your organization. Look at Olympic medals and the Oscars® for what they mean
to recipients. Whatever symbolic awards you design must be an extension of the
company and your brand. They will become a treasured prize.
8. Think outside of the box for novel ideas. No need to stay with the tried and true award
selections. Dabble in creativity such as a customized portrait painting from a
family photo of a recipient. Provide an opportunity to learn something new from
an expert that the employee has mentioned such as painting or in music.
9. Move from tangible to experiential. Corporate volunteer trips to destinations around the
world appeal to younger generation employees. They can build schools or set up
wells with water access. This is a fully immersive cultural and teambuilding
experience that leaves a legacy associated with your company.
10. Choose your own adventure. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman made famous the idea of doing things before you “kick the bucket”. Have employees choose experiences that bring joy. It could be skydiving, an amazing destination experience like whale watching in Patagonia, or cooking with a chef in Paris.
As previously published by the author in Incentive Magazine.