You’re excited about your recognition programs portal. You have everything you have asked for over several years of design and development.
Your recognition portal houses a recent peer-to-peer, social recognition program. You can easily access your career milestones program from here as well. The social news feed allows everyone to know about career and personal anniversaries and people can make comments, add replies, and like messages of praise, acknowledgment, and thanks for the great things happening at your company.
And, your supervisors and managers, have access to a performance-based reward and recognition program. Here they can give rewards accompanied by recognition to employees who go above and beyond in their work.
You launch your new all-access recognition portal. Then it’s crickets.
Your wish is to get more employees and managers involved in effectively using your recognition programs.
Is there anything you can do to invite greater participation with your recognition portal? What are some principles you can apply to make your site more engaging?
An Engagement Philosophy
You are going to have to subscribe to a whole new philosophy around marketing and communicating about your recognition programs. A goal for you is taking occasional visitors and making them recognition ambassadors.
Here are some possible steps you will want to take people through:
1. Turn your occasional recognition site visitors, or browsers, into regular site visitors.
One way to get greater participation on your recognition programs is to turn your employees into regular visitors of your site. Some people will stumble upon the site. A few may receive personal acknowledgments from others using the portal, so have come across it that way.
Always be personal and respond to every recognition expression or message they receive. Be an active user of your peer-to-peer and social recognition programs by leaving comments and likes wherever you can. Encourage other managers to participate and do the same as you have.
Now here is the critical piece. You reward them by giving an eBook, or some valuable resource, such as a compilation of recognition experiences and recommendations from employees. This is given to them in exchange for their entering in their email address. You already know their email, but this action is a sign of interest of greater participation on your site. Whether they receive an eBook or helpful resource, they’ve shown personal commitment by giving you their email address.
Your goal is to capture the email addresses of employees so they can receive the incentives or download they requested. To make life easier for you, these employee subscribers get put on an email sequence broadcast of valuable content. Thereafter, you send them regular helpful recognition updates and insights with their permission. Now you can target them and survey them for their specific interests and needs with recognition.
2. Turn your regular visitors into recognizers.
Teach and show those who signed up for updates on how they can be the best recognizers in the company. Give them insights on creating the right recognition mindset. Then let them in on the skills they need to be most effective at expressing appreciation to people.
Create resources that are set up just for these subscribers and invite them to enlist others so they can receive these same updates and bonus content. You can further segment these recognizers by asking two or three questions to see what they are most interested in. By grouping like interests, you can create customized content based on their preferences.
Provide these recognizers with exclusive access to webinars and online education to help them give more meaningful, memorable, and motivational recognition.
Build a positive relationship with these recognizers. Thank them for taking the time to recognize fellow employees. In the grand scheme of things, you will find that doing this, is really a small amount of time. However, enlist other work colleagues to assist you with this task if you are in a larger organization.
3. Turn your recognizers into recognition encouragers.
Have these recognition givers start an each one, teach one, mentoring approach with other employees. If they can gain just one more employee to understand the importance of recognition, and how to give it appropriately, this will gradually turn employee engagement around. Give them downloadable content and other tools to share with those they work with.
Have printed resources like posters, thank you cards, and pens available for them to request, and distribute to their peers. Give them a swipe file of email messages they could use to enlist colleagues in the recognition cause.
You have now created a crew of recognition encouragers. They can now invite peers to sign up for the bonus content they previously received. Their goal is to help spread recognition across the organization by encouraging other employees.
4. Turn recognition encouragers into recognition ambassadors.
When you have identified your recognition encouragers through their email sign-ups, ordering of materials, a record of courses that have been taken, etc., it’s time to bring them all together. Ask them if they are willing to become recognition ambassadors. This is a voluntary role, over and above their regular work. Hopefully, their managers will release time to them to do certain recognition activities over a month.
Think of your recognition ambassadors as a team of recognition encouragers. These individuals understand and give recognition the right way. You can reward their service by creating special workshops and mini-conferences to reinforce what they are doing by providing them with advanced knowledge and skills.
Send them promotional supplies, handouts and posters, and helpful resources to give to managers. They can be invited by departments to present to all the employees on how to give recognition well.
Give your ambassadors, train-the-trainer learning sessions, of workshop content they can present to managers or assigned departments.
The sky is the limit as to what you can do based on your time, staffing, and physical resources.
In summary, here’s the progression you have to take people on:
Visitors > Recognizers > Encouragers > Ambassadors
See what you can do to elevate recognition program participation. Find out those who are slightly interested in doing recognition better. Engage them through email marketing campaigns and other cost-effective ways, to progress them to become at least avid recognizers.
The key is using communication and marketing methods to automate this whole process.
Recognition Reflection: How are you currently using marketing and communication methods to promote greater program participation?
Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.