At QIC we decided to follow up the Broncos – Seahawks Big Game with a soup bowl (or two) of our own. For a little friendly competition we had a soup cook-off (dubbed the QIC Souper Bowl) on the Monday following the Seahawks’ victory. In the process I discovered a direct parallel to effective incentive program design.
Although the soups were delicious and the conversation was excellent, our competition was missing one major element: a clear rules structure and scoring system. When the time came to turn in the scorecards, many were confused on how to vote for their favorite soup. An unclear ballot and rating system (created by yours truly) was to blame. Some contestants were ready to throw their red flag onto the cafeteria floor! Luckily we cleared up any confusion and Joe’s Cheesy Wild Rice Soup was declared the 2014 QIC Souper Bowl Champion.
We work with clients every day to develop effective incentive program rules and guidelines – which are communicated to program participants via easy to understand program guides. As you can see from the example above, even the most practiced of us can drop the ball when we are creating programs on the fly!
To avoid confusion – like our Souper Bowl balloting process – the program guide should clearly communicate program specifics. Consider these key elements when drafting yours:
- Audience type. Who are you trying to motivate and what is their knowledge level? For example, within an employee recognition program, using industry-specific acronyms may be appropriate. On the other hand, if you are targeting a new customer base utilizing a loyalty program it may be beneficial to be more specific.
- Key Performance Indicators. Clearly define and communicate actions or behaviors participants will be rewarded for, and explain these as specifically as possible. If your program has several ways your participants can earn points, grouping related activities together can help make your program guide easier to understand and remember. For example, in a safety incentive program there are most commonly monthly, quarterly, and annual goals that need to be achieved in order to earn incentives. Grouping them by time-period helps your participants to stay engaged and on track.
- Ongoing Communication. Finally, make sure you communicate your rules and any changes made throughout the year. It is an excellent idea to call out some key elements via an email blast and then direct them to your rewards website to get all of the details. The more your participants know the more successful and engaged they will be.
Although our soup cook-off was small in comparison to most incentive programs, the impact a little disorganization had was significant. Make sure you give the development of your program guide the time and attention it deserves, and contact us to find out more about effective incentive program design.