How to Launch an Employee Recognition Program in a Week

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, although, 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 many organizations that a critical initiative needs to be launched in very short span of time, leaving 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, there are certain key aspects that need to be considered and certain critical steps that cannot be skipped.

Pre-Launch

Select the Employee Recognition Platform

Deciding on the employee recognition platform is one of the most critical steps that needs to completed before the program launch. The organization needs 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 process of shortlisting, selecting and onboarding the employee recognition platform provider might take a week or two and should be completed before the program can be launched.

Here is a day-wise plan of the key steps for launching an employee recognition program in a week:

Day 1

1. Create a Project Team

The first and most critical task for a quick launch of the program is to set up a strong team that would plan and execute the project. The project team should have strong leadership skills and domain knowledge required for designing such a program. It might be a good idea to have team members from HR as well as other functions, such as marketing, operations and IT. The team should be empowered by the management to take quick decisions and command the necessary resources without too many approvals.

2. Define the Program Objectives

The project team needs to quickly understand the key objectives of the employee recognition program from the project sponsor and the key stakeholders as well as their expectations on the results of the program.

They need to get a clear understanding of the short-term and long-term goals of the program and 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.

Day 2

1. Formulate the Recognition Policy

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.

2. Create the Launch Plan

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.

Day 3

1. Communicate about the Program

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. 

2. Train the Key Users

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 need to be 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.

Day 4

1. Conduct a Dry Run of the Platform

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. This should be done in close coordination with the platform provider to ensure quick resolution of issues and clarification of doubts.

2. Prepare for the Launch Event

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.

Day 5

Launch the Program

The launch event, whether offline or online should be well-planned and well-executed. 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.

Post-Launch

Launching the program is only the job half done; there are a number of other activities that need to done 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 track the participation in the program by employees by monitoring key metrics like number of logins to the platform, number of recognitions, likes and comments over the first few weeks of the launch.

3. Assist Users: The team should create a mechanism to address user queries and issues and assist them in navigating through the platform. This can be achieved by creating user navigation guides, FAQs and an employee helpdesk, either managed internally or by the platform provider.

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. This can be done through quick surveys and floor meetings.

5. Make Changes to the Program: Modifications in the policy and the platform should be done based on the feedback and inputs received from the employees and the initial impact of the program.

Bottom-line

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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