Many times it’s the small things that people notice and remember. A gesture like a pat on the back after a particularly long workday, or a small note of thanks that’s actually mailed – with a stamp! – to the person that made your day a little better.
Small things that get noticed also applies to branded merchandise. The logo ribbon used to wrap the holiday gifts; a luggage tag shaped like a lion instead of a circle for the zoo trip; and stickers, decals and labels designed to grab attention and, in some instances, motivate behavior.
The use of stickers for recognition of personal accomplishments originally stemmed from fighter pilots marking their planes with stickers after kills and/or successful missions. Over the years the practice of giving helmet stickers for achievement on the football field was adopted by college coaches at schools like The Ohio State University, Clemson and Arkansas. The more stickers, the more respect. So why not adopt something similar in the corporate world?
For the companies that have employees using hard hats, the concept is easy. But what about all the folks that don’t need protection from falling construction tools? Stickers for the coffee cup, water bottle or clip board would work. Blank picture frames could be given to each employee for the specific purpose of collecting, and displaying, stickers.
The idea is that something as simple as a sticker can be used to recognize the people in your organization for the smallest success or desired behavior. It’s only one tool that should part of a much larger motivation program toolbox, but in the right setting with the right employee base, it just may be the simplest way to show appreciation for a job well done.
Incentive programs are essential drivers of employee motivation, loyalty and morale. Regardless of the size of the company or the budget, successful incentive programs will recognize outstanding employees; make good employees great, and give the lowest performers the opportunity to become more focused on skills improvement and positive results. These programs can be structured for a company-wide audience intended to boost employee morale or improve the customer experience – or they can be designed to target just one department that may be working on a time-sensitive project that requires long hours and razor sharp focus.
In any case, getting started can be the most difficult part of creating a successful incentive program. Beginning with a simple outline will help the conversation get started.
- Set Your Goals: Figure out what you hope to achieve when the program ends. You may want to increase warehouse productivity, improve safety or simply reduce the amount of time your call-in customers are kept on “hold”. You can have more than one goal, and most likely you will have different goals for each group of participants.
- Determine How You Will Measure ROI: A variety of metrics can be employed, such as number of packages shipped, monthly sales, lost-time accidents, etc. Decide how you will measure the results, and assign someone to manage that data.
- Decide The Budget: You need a budget for the entire program, and a breakdown of how that budget will be spent over the course of the program. For example, $20,000 for the whole program budget; $4000 disbursed quarterly; and the balance allocated to the top achievers at the end of the year.
- Select Award Items: Premium merchandise, customized items and possibly travel are all options for outstanding programs. The best programs avoid cash or gift cards so that the rewards become individual goals that each person identifies, such as a gas grill, TV or weekend getaway (for the larger programs) – or brand-name apparel, sports gear or the newest small tech gadget (for the smaller budgets).
- Launch The Program Loudly! Create excitement with an employee kickoff meeting and a low-cost giveaway (pen, mug, phone decal, etc) printed with the company logo and program message. Keep the message alive with emails, posters, and follow-up small gift reminders.
- Build The Buzz! Engage everyone as often as possible. Announce monthly winners; post daily or weekly figures on how close you are to the goal; keep up the email communication with program reminders.
There are many industry polls and statistics that prove how well incentive programs work to motivate employees. Now that we are at the beginning a of a new year, with new goals and challenges, choose to lay the groundwork for a successful incentive program and enjoy the rewards that will follow. Six steps will get you started!