Since we make our living at Quality Incentive Company designing and operating ongoing employee recognition and incentive programs, we try not to spend a lot of time thinking about what happens when a program reaches the end of its life cycle. But the fact is that most programs have an endpoint.
A recent article by Lisa Biank Fasig in Colloquy, the online magazine serving the loyalty marketing industry, provides an excellent discussion of how to prepare for and manage the termination of a loyalty program – Earning Points When Programs Fade Away. While the article focuses primarily on B-to-C loyalty programs, many of the considerations discussed in the article apply to employee recognition and incentive programs as well.
A couple of discussion points in the article particularly resonated with me. The first is that programs should be viewed as continually emerging and changing – and that ending them provides one additional opportunity to reinforce the connection between the sponsoring client and the program’s participants. And the second is that the program sponsor should “exit with grace,” regardless of the reason for the exit.
Remember that even though a program might end, the sponsoring client could (and in many cases, does) choose to start another one with the same or different participant population. A professional, well-communicated and graceful program termination will certainly enhance a new program’s chances for success.