You’ve researched reward programs, cleared it with stakeholders, planned the pilot and finally, it’s time to launch.

But the perils of introducing a brand new employee reward program can lead to a bit of a culture shock or hamper its success – here are our suggested Dos and Don’ts for getting a reward program launch right.

Do carry out internal research

Get the lay of the land with internal customers; that is, anyone who’s using or affected by the reward platform.

Start by asking for informal suggestions about what staff and managers would like to see, or run an anonymous survey on company intranet to gather in-depth feedback and ideas. This stage will inspire uses and functionality for the program that stakeholders don’t necessarily think of – and will help create a bespoke program with the end user in mind.

Don’t launch out of nowhere

There’s nothing worse for staff than having a new system, new technology and – if your reward program is the first of its kind in company culture – new concepts spring up out of nowhere to become part of daily working life.

We know that company success is closely linked with transparency, and suggest cascading news (and stirring up anticipation!) from the moment the Reward program gets the go ahead.

Do provide appropriate training

When you’re ready to launch the reward program, organise the creation of some guidance material and cascade training to help everyone get to grips with their new reward platform.

STY programs are designed with the end user in mind, so they’re easily learned, but it pays to ensure users at every level are confident enough to make the most of the site, whether they’re the rewarder or the recipient. You could even consider a reward matrix that helps managers choose the perfect gesture.

Don’t limit access

Setting up a reward program with tiered access doesn’t mean some people have to be cut out.

If you’re rolling out rewards, give everyone a voice: research at all levels, test it with all departments, and when it’s time to launch, let everyone enjoy the excitement together and introduce it to all employees at the same time. It takes more co-ordinating, but the pay-off is a unified experience and excitement spread and shared by the workforce.

Do market internally using branded collateral

Who says marketing is just for the public? Stir up anticipation in the build up to launch with branded internal collateral – as well as meetings, leaflets, posters and emails are a great way to announce planned reward reforms and introduce a new platform, system or approach. 

Don’t expect everyone to be on board straight away

We know that not everyone embraces change – but that’s not a reason to run out of steam. Prepare to face a little resistance, and keep up the marketing materials and training sessions as long as necessary to see a great rate of acceptance.

We suggest publishing some positive feedback from early adopters so they can share their positive experiences of the program, or launching with every user in reward credit so they get a first-hand experience of the benefits right away. Then, keep up the momentum long enough to get everyone on board sooner or later.

Do be transparent with project intentions

Be clear about the purpose of the reward program, and link it back to the initial research that asked employees how they imagined their platform working for them.

In creating internal communications and training, check that the material answers the questions; what is the new reward system for in terms of long term objectives and company direction, what are the benefits, what are staff going to get out of it and how?