Spot awards are a powerful tool for any organization. With spot rewards, you can recognize any employee for their contributions as they happen. You get to make the rules based on what’s best for your organization and your people.

Not only are spot rewards an effective and scalable way to make your team feel appreciated (regardless of where they’re working), but they can also set the standard for performance at your organization and inspire your team to exceed expectations.

Recently, we wrote about the benefits of spot recognition and 4 questions to ask when designing your spot awards program. In this post, we explore essential best practices to set your on-the-spot awards program up for long-lasting success.

4 best practices to build a sustainable spot rewards program.

1. Get buy-in for spot recognition at all levels. 

As with all HR initiatives, you need leadership buy-in to have a successful spot recognition program. Having the CEO or the Head of People announce your new program, for example, can generate excitement and lead to better engagement. You’ll also want to reach out to department leaders to make sure they understand why this program is being introduced, what it means for their teams, and how they can participate in these efforts. But it’s not just about getting buy-in from the leadership team.

It’s also important to help managers—who will be the primary distributors of your rewards—understand the impact of your spot awards program. Communicate the program to managers and help them understand how they can use spot rewards to build more meaningful relationships with their direct reports, spark conversations and demonstrate appreciation—especially in a hybrid work environment

2. Make your on-the-spot awards program equitable.

One of the challenges of launching a spot recognition program is maintaining an equitable framework for who should be rewarded. If you only reward the top 1% of employees based on performance, for example, you exclude the majority of your workforce and diminish motivation. But you also want to make sure that spot rewards are earned, that high-performing employees and employees who demonstrate culture-building behaviors are rewarded for their contributions. 

Our client, GoPro, faced this challenge when launching their spot rewards program. To help, we worked closely with their team to develop spot reward guidelines that aligned reward criteria to individual employee job descriptions. This ensures everyone has opportunities to be recognized based on their performance, and based on the continued impact of that performance over time. GoPro also empowers managers to reward employees who live out the company’s mission and values. With Blueboard, managers can easily link a reward to a specific company value.  

See how GoPro celebrates their culture champions with meaningful awards.

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3. Decide how you’ll measure the impact of your spot recognition program.

Before launching your spot recognition program, think about the type of impact you want it to have on your organization. Maybe you want to see 70% of your employees rewarded for their work. Or maybe you want to see a positive correlation between recognition and employee engagement. Depending on what your desired impact is, you should set measurable goals. Here are a few metrics you could measure (a best practice is to track all three!): 

  • Utilization. If your goal is to see high participation in your spot awards program, utilization is a metric you can easily track. Some organizations focus on the total number of rewards sent out, while others are more interested in seeing a certain percentage of the workforce recognized. 
  • Socialization. Another metric you can measure is program socialization. This means tracking all your efforts to spread the word about your new initiative—email blasts, posts on your company’s intranet, announcements at an All Hands, etc.—and whether those efforts correspond to increased program participation. Having a socialization goal ensures that communication around the program is happening on a regular cadence. 
  • Engagement. Most companies want to understand the link between employee recognition and employee engagement. Document your employee engagement benchmark before you roll out your spot awards program, then track the results of your regular employee engagement surveys to understand if there’s a correlation with your spot program. You may want to add a specific question about recognition to get more granular data.

4. Have a plan for program launch and continued socialization.

If you’ve ever started a new workplace program, you know how critical it is to have an intentional launch and socialization plan. Of course, any socialization strategy will need to be custom to your organization, but here are a few guiding questions you can lean on, inspired by what we’ve seen work for many other organizations:  

  • What are the most important lessons we’ve learned while launching new programs in the past?
  • What channels are we going to use for launch? Will these channels reach every demographic of our workforce? 
  • What’s our monthly awareness strategy to keep the buzz going?
  • Do all of our stakeholders have the knowledge and resources they need to educate employees about the program? (Again, buy-in is crucial at all levels of the organization)
  • Have our managers been properly trained and educated about the spot awards program?  

Another Blueboard client, Medidata, spent a lot of time mulling over these questions before they launched their spot recognition program. As a result, the team was able to lay out a strong communications plan to educate, inspire, and motivate Medidatians to participate in the new rewards and recognition program. 

This included an announcement meeting, in-depth manager training session, a formal employee training and roll out, and then a follow up post about the program that includes reward criteria. Then, it included launching an internal employer branding initiative to gather and share Medidatian recognition stories, posting internal blog posts to the company’s intranet, and sharing stories of their Blueboard reward experience across multiple communication channels.

Spot rewards and recognition have the potential to elevate employee performance, engagement, and overall satisfaction at your organization. Use these best practices to create a program that will have the maximum impact.

If you want to learn more about how Blueboard’s experiential rewards can amplify your spot recognition program, request a personalized demo online here

Looking for the best way to reward, recognize and incentivize your top people?

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