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How to Design and Implement a Recognition Program Communication Plan

February 2, 2021

Everybody likes a pat on the back.

Whether you praise a member of your team in front of the entire team or hand out gift cards to thank an employee for going the extra mile, recognizing the members of your team plays an integral role in boosting your company’s employee retention rate. The higher the employee retention rate, the less financial resources your company has to spend to recruit new team members.

There is no question that designing and implementing an employee recognition plan is good for business. The question then becomes: "How do communicate its importance across the entire organization?"

Here some things to keep in mind as you design and implement your recognition program communication plan.

First Things First: Know the Details

You can possess the smoothest communication skills on the planet, but your communication skills will fall short if you don't understand every detail of your company’s recognition program. Spend time reviewing every component of the program before you begin sharing information with your team. If you have a question or two, do not hesitate to lean on your internal champion or your recognition program expert for guidance.

Discuss the Objectives of the Recognition Program

Now for some nuts and bolts. First, explain to your team why the company has started an employee recognition program. Reasons can include better engagement, creating a higher energy work environment, improving morale, or whatever drives your company to start an employee recognition program. Then, explain how you plan to implement the employee recognition program.

Describe the Plan Details Through Smaller Group Meetings 

Sharing recognition processes begins with holding a meeting with every manager and supervisor at your company to explain the new recognition program in detail. Then, assign employees to each manager and supervisor so they can communicate the recognition processes to smaller groups. Preferably, you want department managers to explain the program to the team members working in their department.

Promote Recognition Events and Celebrations

You want to keep meetings to a minimum. After the explanatory meeting held in small groups, promote recognition events and celebrations by using other communication platforms. Create a short video promoting an upcoming recognition event, as well as make use of the company's social media properties to highlight an employee celebration that includes the participation of your loyal customers. The key is to generate a buzz surrounding a recognition event or celebration by using highly interactive platforms to get the word out.

Do Not Forget New Employees

It should not take a pandemic to highlight the importance of a strong onboarding program. New employees can move through an onboarding session at their own pace, including the section that describes the company’s employee recognition program. Give all your team members the option to learn more about the company employee recognition program by watching the same video presented to new employees.

Blended Use of Communication Tools

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using a blended approach when choosing communication tools. Although digital tools like email and social media are popular and familiar, you still need to integrate print and personal interactions when designing and implementing a communication plan for an employee recognition program. How you blend communication tools depends on factors such as target audience and company culture.

Establish a Procedure for Questions and Concerns

Unveiling a new employee recognition program should generate plenty of questions, as well as a few concerns. How will the human resources department measure employee performance? Will there be employee appreciation days? The blended approach for communication tools also applies to employee questions and concerns. You can have employees email questions or concerns, as well as encourage them to ask questions and issue concerns on a one-on-one basis.

You'll want the members of your team to be engaged in the new employee recognition program. You can improve employee engagement by giving your team different options for reaching out with concerns and questions.

How is the Communications Plan Working?

Measuring the effectiveness of a communication plan for an employee recognition program comes in many forms. Here are some of the questions you should ask before setting up a measurement platform:

  • Do employees understand the key components of the recognition program?
  • Are employees responding to the program by taking action to improve performance?
  • Have you received feedback from enough members of your team?

Data-driven results should give you insight into how well the communication plan has educated your team members about the employee recognition plan. In turn, knowing how much your employees know about the recognition plan can give you a good indication of the return on your human resources investment.

Have a Good Time

Designing and implementing a communication plan for an employee recognition program does not have to be drudgery. In fact, you should have fun with the way you reach out and connect with the members of your team. One way is use the element of surprise hand out promotional gifts at unexpected times.

Above all else, you know your company and your culture best. Be thoughtful in how you share the program's objectives, celebrate its wins, keep everyone from the newest employee to the most tenured member up-to-speed, use the right tools, and keep things fun!


Topics: employee engagement, employee recognition, communications