From his base of operations in Toronto, Jason Thomson thinks differently about employee recognition because he comes at it from a different place. The chief instigator for Jigsaw, Thomson comes to the trade from a background in marketing, and takes a marketing-based approach to the employee engagement world.
Thomson stresses that successful recognition marketing plans need four key considerations, and he broke them down by asking four key questions in a webinar he presented for RPI recently. Your plan does not need to be complex or overly crazy, but it can benefit from having a goal, investing in the right channels, developing interesting messages, and focusing on the language that is used most effectively.
Goal (Or, “What are we trying to prove?”)
Start by determining what you want your marketing to do. You may want to build your brand, or drive usage of your recognition program, or make the program more relevant, or drive financials. Make your goal specific, make it measurable and make it attainable. Base your goals on your past research and on your current initiatives. Think of your goal like the bullseye on a dart board. The strategies you use to hit that goal are like your darts.
Channels (Or, “Where can we put it effectively?”)
When trying to reach an internal audience, be creative. Thomson has used multiple unique and visible channels to reach employees, including table tents, stickers, floormats and banner ads. Think hard about placement, about which channels will be most effective in meeting those predetermined goals. Then be smart about the “where” of your message. It’s also important to look for influencers within your organization – Thomson equates it to the “cool kids’ table” in the school lunchroom and use them to spread the word.
Messages (Or, “How do we say it?”)
When you’re developing content, be consistent. Thomson stresses the importance of making a plan, in the form of an editorial calendar, and sticking to that plan in a consistent way. He likes monthly themes, which get people involved, but change often enough that they keep people interested. And the best way to keep people interested is simply to be interesting, so take some time to brainstorm on messages that will catch and keep the attention of the target audiences.
Language (Or, “Which words can we use most effectively?”)
Each office, each industry, has its own lexicon of terms that mean one thing to a certain group of people. Focus on those words, and how to make the most of them in getting your message across. That includes deciding on a style for your organization (which words get capitalized, for example) and a word menu of terms to use effectively and terms to avoid. And Thomson stresses the effective use of talking points – those one-sentence messages that effectively convey what you’re trying to say, and that reinforce the message.
For more information, please visit the RPI website at Recognition.org. Premium Practitioner Members and Business Partners get full access to almost 30 on-demand webinars. Basic Practitioner Members which is free get limited access to webinars.