Today, hardly any organization wouldn’t be aware of the importance of having an effective employee recognition program in place. Usually, developing and launching such a program is a time-consuming process as it plays a critical role in ensuring its success. However, many times, organizations might need to speed up the launch process due to various reasons. However, even then they cannot overlook the importance of doing it in the right way. Is it really possible to launch an employee recognition program in a week? Let’s take a look.
It is not unnatural in organizations that a critical initiative needs to be launched in very short span of time. This usually leaves very little time for proper planning and execution. However, it will still be expected that the program delivers the desired results and return on investment.
The good news is that it is indeed possible to launch an employee recognition program in a week with proper planning, resources and execution. However, the team should consider certain key aspects and take certain critical steps.
Deciding on the employee recognition platform is one of the most critical steps that needs to completed before the program launch. The organization has to ensure that the employee recognition platform they choose should have the features required to implement the recognition program that is being envisioned.
The platform should be easily configurable to enable quick implementation and flexible enough to allow changes in the policy at a later point in time. The organization should do a quick research of the different recognition platforms and organize demos of the shortlisted ones, before finalizing the best platform.
The organization should complete the process of shortlisting, selecting and onboarding the employee recognition platform provider before the program can be launched.
The first critical task for a quick launch is to set up a strong team for the project. The project team should have strong leadership skills and domain knowledge required for designing such a program. It is a good idea to have members from HR and other functions, such as marketing, operations and IT. The management should empower the team to take quick decisions and command the necessary resources without too many approvals.
The project team needs to quickly understand the key objectives of the employee recognition program from the project sponsor. Additionally, they also need to consult the key stakeholders to understand their expectations on the results of the program.
The team should get a clear understanding of the short-term and long-term goals of the program. Additionally, they need to take into account the expectations of the workforce from such a program. They might need to conduct short meetings, group discussions and study past data of similar initiatives for this purpose.
Keeping the program objectives in mind, the project team should work on creating the recognition policy framework. For this, the team needs to study the current policies in the organization and their performance as well as industry best practices.
The policy framework should be comprehensive enough to cover different aspects of the employee performance, behavior and core values of the organization. At the same time, the criteria for each form of recognition should be simple and clear for anyone to understand.
With the policy framework finalized, the team should work together with the employee recognition platform provider to come up with a fast-tracked but feasible implementation plan.
They need to work on a phase-wise implementation plan that involves rollout of those forms of recognition first, such as spot awards and peer-to-peer recognition that relatively easier to implement, cover a broad segment of the workforce and generate a high level of visibility. Planned recognition such as quarterly and annual awards can be rolled out at a later point of time, after the initial launch.
The launch plan should not only include the technical implementation of the program but also the communication, user training and the actual launch plan. These are other important aspects of the launch process of the employee recognition program.
The project team should create a detailed checklist of tasks and points to be covered before launch and use it to monitor and drive the entire project.
With the policy and platform finalized, it is time to communicate about the program to the employees. The team needs to leverage both online platforms within the organization such as email, intranet, Teams/ Slack, etc. and offline platforms such as LED displays and posters/ standees to communicate about the program.
They should leverage internal communication teams for program branding and communication. The launch campaign can start with a teaser communication. The frequency and level of details of the communication should increase closer to the actual launch event.
It is important for the project team to involve key users of the program such as members of the HR and Admin teams and even line managers in the launch process. They are trained and made familiar with the policy, the platform and the process as early as possible. It might be a good idea to create a key user guide and FAQs that cover all the key aspects of the program.
It is important that the key users get a feel of the employee recognition platform before the program launch. The team should get the key users to do a dry run of actual recognition processes using the platform. They should do this in close coordination with the platform provider to ensure quick resolution of issues and clarification of doubts.
The project team also needs to ensure that the preparations for the launch event are in place. They need to rope in members of the senior management as part of the launch event, so they need to be invited as soon as the event is planned. If the launch event is an offline one, the logistics and event management should be organized. The communication of the launch event to the employees should be done as early as possible to avoid any conflict in schedule.
The team needs to plan and execute launch event, whether offline or online, seamlessly. Offline events could be in form of townhalls or all-employee meetings. Though more impactful, these events might be more challenging to organize is such a short span of time.
Online launch events such as webcasts, video conferences or even email from the CEO might be logistically less challenging; but still require good planning and execution. The project team should take help from the internal communication team to make it more effective.
The team should ensure that there is strong involvement of the senior management in the launch event and maximum participation from members of the workforce.
Case StudyA multi-national recruitment and staffing company is leveraging the HiFives platform to run its employee rewards and recognition program for its workforce. The program covers peer-to-peer recognition, spot awards, quarterly awards and celebration of employee birthdays and work anniversaries.
The entire program was set up and launched in 4 days. The HiFives team worked closely with the client, defining the R&R policies and configuring the platform in parallel. Pre-defined templates, checklists and other project resources were utilized to set up the program quickly. Built-in single sign-on integration with Google Workspace was also leveraged.
Launching the program is only the job half done. The team needs to close a number of other activities post launch to ensure maximum participation and impact of the program. These activities should continue for several days and even weeks after the actual launch:
1. Repeat Communication: Regular communication about the program, its initial impact and other details is important to drive up the participation rate among the employees.
2. Monitor Participation: The team should monitor key metrics like logins to the platform, number of recognitions, likes, comments, etc. This can help them track the employee participation in the program over the first few weeks of the launch.
3. Assist Users: The team should create a mechanism to address user queries and assist them in navigating through the platform. The internal team or the platform provider should create user navigation guides and FAQs and run an employee helpdesk.
4. Get Employee Feedback: Getting feedback from employees about what is working well and what is not is critical to making the necessary changes to the program. Quick surveys and floor meetings can help in achieving this.
5. Make Changes to the Program: The team should look at modifications in the policy and the platform. This should be based on the feedback and inputs received from the employees and the initial impact of the program.
To launch an employee recognition program in a week is no easy feat to achieve. However, with the right kind of team, planning and execution, it can be made possible while also setting it up for success.
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