Points Programs

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Stages of Employee Incentive Programs: Kicking off your Program

This is it! You have carefully planned, budgeted and implemented your company incentive program and are now ready to share it with participants. The next stage of an incentive program life cycle is called the kick off phase. All of your hard work and preparation is about to start paying off and I would like to share with you how to successfully launch your incentive program and promote it to participants.

Announcing the Incentive Program

Before you announce the launch of an incentive program, pique your audience’s curiosity by putting together an email or media that don’t exactly tip off people that an incentive program is coming but rather lets them know something big and exciting is happening soon. I have seen emails that have a collage of merchandise rewards and simply asks, “What do these items have in common?”. Another way of doing this is to list out some of the goals of the program along with a header that reads, “What do these goals have in common?”. Clients also put together flyers and posters to accompany the emails sent out just prior to the kick off of the program.

On the big day, send out an email that answers the initial question of what these things have in common. A sample kick off email draft could be:

Dear Jane,

What did all of those items have in common? They are all rewards that are available for you to earn as you reach the goals of our new incentive program!

We are pleased to announce the new employee incentive program to workers today! In an effort to recognize individual employees and show you how important your hard work is to our mission, we have implemented a reward program for our employees. You can now earn points that will accrue and can be redeemed for quality merchandise and gifts. The best part of all is the selection of the reward is yours!

You may visit [company website URL] to view your personal rewards account, browse the online award catalog and learn about the way you can earn points. The website keeps track of the points you've earned and spent.

The points will be awarded for any number of things, but most importantly, points will be given by your management team for actions and behaviors that are in the spirit of our core values.

Your user name and password are below to access the website. We are excited to use this rewards program to show our appreciation and let you know how valuable your contribution is to our shared mission.


Cindy, CEO

Username: XXXXXXXX

Password: XXXXX

Promoting the program through supplements / marketing materials

We have a wide variety of media to help you communicate an incentive program and the most popular supplements include posters, flyers and on-the-spot award cards. Posters feature popular awards that can be earned by participating in an incentive program, include goals of program and tell employees how to access more program information. Flyers promote incentive programs on a smaller scale and can include some of the same information as a poster. On-the-spot award cards are wallet-sized and are given to each participant so they can keep the incentive program website address and their personal log in information handy. All of these supplements are designed to grab your audience’s attention and make them aware of the goals of the program, rewards that can be earned and where to go for more details.

Promoting the program through word of mouth

Depending on the size and structure of your organization, you may want to have managers hold a single or multiple meetings with employees to roll out the incentive program. Having managers introduce employees to the program allows them to both become familiar with the program and also understand that management supports the incentive program. In these meetings, have leaders in your organization make it personal and tell employees what is in it for them. Managers should be cognizant of the goals of the program and what behaviors will be rewarded along with points associated with the goals and the types of reward that can be earned.

One manager that I worked with during the kick off of his safety incentive program told me he put it this way to employees, “If you have no lost-time accidents, then you are going to earn points and at the end of the year you will be able to order from one of the first award collections. If you go beyond having no accidents and participate in some of these other activities, then you will earn more points than just having no accidents and be able to order from the first award collections at least once every month.” This kind of dialogue is simple to understand and really lets employees know what behaviors are being encouraged and rewarded.

Although the kick off stage is the shortest stage in the incentive program life cycle, you will need to prepare for a successful kick off by sending an email to hint at the upcoming event, announce the launch of the program and promote the kick off with printed supplements and by word of mouth. To view metrics you should measure to ensure success, visit our suggestions here.

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