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Successful rewards programs are all about creating reward moments that matter.


The right reward, at the right time, and place – that’s the money shot. Because when you get to reach employees on an emotional level like that, you develop strong bonds. And those bonds lead to valuable team players who are ready to help you achieve your business goals.

The exact moment your employees receive a reward from you is so important. But it’s also, fleeting. Which is why it’s necessary to create an engagement culture that lives past the moment.

A solid communication plan does just that. It’s a narrative that enhances the positive effects of your incentive strategy by continually encouraging and drawing your staff towards your company ethos and productivity goals.

How do you leverage communication to extend the power of reward moments?
American journalist Sydney J. Harris once said, “The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

Start by getting through

Communication is essential. Without it, you can’t expect your employees to know how to interact with your incentive program.

More than that, your participants need to feel good about every interaction, not just when they receive a reward. That’s why each aspect of the program, from earning actions to spending rules, should be a rewarding experience that leads to action. Well-crafted, strategically delivered communication can help you achieve just that.

Set a foundation

There are a few key pieces of information you need to communicate upfront and reinforce throughout the program:

  • The purpose of the program
  • Expectations, including specific goals and measurements
  • Available training or other performance support systems
  • Program rules and how to earn rewards
  • The full array of reward options

Keep your messages clear, simple, and relevant to your staff. You need to answer 3 key questions:

  • What do you want me to do?
  • Do I have the tools to do the job?
  • What’s in it for me?

You’ll know you’re getting through when you start to see staff members seeking out the action rather than the rewards.

Choose your channels

Plan your communications strategy around the needs and preferences of your audience. You’ll likely find that a combination of print, digital and mobile will be most effective. Bold, colourful posters might add a festive air to program launch, while text messages are the best way to deliver motivational messages.

Launch it right

Find a strong program theme and narrative that comes from your values and company ethos, but also speaks to the heart and minds of your employees. Whether you gather the troops for a live announcement or send out a creative office mailer, make a big deal of your incentive rewards campaign launch.

  • Hang program banners around the office with short, punchy headlines
  • Create an explainer video to hype big rewards like travel trips and experiences
  • Inspire participation by getting testimonials from previous program participants on how they ‘spent’ their rewards. Publish these on the program website.
  • Create a big reveal plan that unfolds over time
  • Develop a signup or enrollment mechanic that encourages your staff to take the first step and
    get involved
  • Plan to integrate a mini launch program into new hire onboarding activities
  • Set up a system to measure the effectiveness of your communications so you can keep refining your methods for better results

Engage in dialogue

Your employees are an invaluable communications resource. Use your program website to ask them what they want and what they like or don’t like about the program. This allows them to be heard and gives you access to insights you can use to develop a tailored rewards narrative.

Pulse surveys are a good resource for opening dialogue. By learning what’s going on in different areas of the business, program communications can reflect their activities and their goals. Program ambassadors are also an excellent source of information for custom targeting the performance message.

Be personal

We know that incentive reward programs are only successful when they are aligned with your organisation’s mission, vision, values, and goals. Your communication should also be cohesive with your company ethos and brand values. But don’t forget that each employee has their own ethos. So, find ways to personalise your motivational messages where appropriate.

Keep momentum going

People are busy, so engaging with your rewards program won’t always be front of mind. Keep your staff plugged in with ongoing communications that inspire the positive, productive behaviour you’re aiming for:

  • Boost participation with teaser emails. They serve as mini reminders of the wonderful rewards on offer and how to get them
  • Check in with a mailer that offers helpful, fun tips on how to get more value from the performance challenges of the program and promote any learning opportunities
  • Send motivational messages to help people perform better and keep them on track
  • Try using different types of media (desk drops, personal notes, emails, flyers, posters, social media posts) so that your communications appeal to the preferences of everyone in the office
  • Use alerts or notifications to remind participants when they need to take action or complete a task to earn a reward
  • Distribute status reports and get feedback from managers on participation in their area.
  • Program update meetings are a great opportunity to rekindle enthusiasm

Tell stories

Our brains are hard-wired to receive stories. In fact, we absorb information better when it’s packaged in a human context. Program update meetings, newsletters and motivational emailers are great opportunities to spread some good news stories.

  • Share success stories from your CEO, board members, or other leaders, on how achieving program objectives will contribute to company success
  • Provide opportunities for people to share their personal success stories
  • Ask for pain point stories and how they’ve been solved. Then share those as part of your communication strategy

Make the rewards moment last

As a single-source supplier of South Africa’s widest range of rewards, we know what it takes to put together a successful employee incentive program. For one, you need a reward portfolio with lots of choice, meaning and purpose. A seamless reward management system (delivery, integration, 24/7
call centre support, etc.). And finally, a communication strategy that enforces your ethos and inspires your team.

Give us a call today and we’ll help you curate a selection of rewards that reach and resonate with your staff. Which you can then leverage to create a culture of engagement that lives past reward moments.


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