Recognition schemes and the importance of internal business communication

communicationsInternal communication is the lifeblood of any business: it’s equally important to control the day-to-day operations of the business, as it is to market the business and its services. Yet in a lot of businesses their internal communications are usually less than ideal.

Internal communications can take many forms such as:

  • Notice boards
  • Newsletters
  • Town hall meetings
  • Team meetings
  • Emails
  • Intranet
  • Internal social media platform

And studies show that internal communication can significantly impact on employee collaboration, productivity and innovation, but all to often employees, managers and senior leaders get stuck in their own communication silos, and as a result the lack of internal communication has a negative effect on the business.

This is especially true when it comes to internally communicating recognition schemes.


What’s the problem?

It’s a common problem with recognition schemes. HR teams are great at getting them set up and launched with a big communications flurry, but a few months down the line the scheme starts to fizzle out, due to a general lack of communication about the scheme.

A lack of communication means that the enthusiasm of staff wanes, rumours such as getting a recognition award for brown-nosing surface, and employees and managers begin to think the scheme is a waste of time, effort and money.

A lot of employee recognition schemes fail to achieve their objectives, because there is no on-going internal communication plan to let employees know the basics of the scheme, for example:

  • How to recognise or nominate a peer
  • What the rewards are
  • What you have to achieve or do to be recognised
  • How the process works and who is responsible


How to turn it around

A successful employee recognition scheme depends on on-going effective communication to make it a success, and help you achieve your objectives. This means that you need to maximise your available communication channels, in order to inform and excite your newsletteremployees.

Organisations are increasingly opting to use electronic communications. Around two-thirds (65%) of organisations are using email and about the same number (61%) are using the internet or intranet.

Communicating information about the scheme through company newsletters, and at new employee orientations, are also popular methods, with around a third of businesses utilising these.

Communications about your recognition scheme shouldn’t stop after the launch; you need to regularly inform your employees about the scheme, the impact it is having and the business results it is delivering.


What should I communicate?

As well as communicating the basics of the recognition scheme, such as how the scheme works, how to nominate a peer and what the rewards are, you need to share the successes.

Every time an employee receives a recognition award, share that success with the rest of the organisation either by email, in the company newsletter or perhaps on a wall of fame. Let the rest of your employees know what that employee did, the impact it had, and what their reward was.

Real stories from employees who received a recognition award are invaluable, because word of mouth is a very powerful communication tool. Employee case studies work extremely well in communicating what employees need to do to receive recognition, and the rewards on offer, in a real-life way people can easily understand.

Consider conducting a brief interview with every employee who receives a recognition award, and publish it as a case study on your intranet, on noticeboards or in the company’s newsletter – both internal and external.

Sharing success by announcing recipients, and publishing case studies, is a great way to encourage other employees to adopt the behaviour that you’re looking for, and to maintain enthusiasm.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.
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  1. Great synopsis of why leaders fail. It routinely is not for the lack of desire that we fail or employees but lack of follow through. Great ideas come and go only to be later reborn as a new innovation derived from need. If only we can remember follow through counts the most.

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