How To Reinforce Your Company’s Brand Through Employee Recognition and Reward Programs

Recognizing and rewarding your employees for demonstrating desired brand behaviors breeds a culture in which employees feel nurtured and inspired to act on-brand.

To truly make your brand a part of your company’s culture, you have to make it personal for your employees. That means translating your brand strategy to manifest in their everyday actions. Recognizing and rewarding the success of their actions is paramount to creating a loyal and inspired workforce.

So while you may be both recognizing and rewarding your employees, ask yourself: Are you managing your program in a way that supports your overall business strategy and conveys your company’s brand values? To create a recognition and rewards program that will reinforce your brand and support your business strategy, here are our five tips.

1. Define on-brand behavior

Many organizations reward their employees, but are they prompting the brand-focused behaviors in the right way? To drive on-brand behavior, you must create “real-life” brand definitions that are relevant and meaningful to all employees. Creating actionable brand definitions helps employees see how being brand-conscious can be done. It helps them understand how putting thoughts into actions will create lasting brand impressions on customers or other key constituencies. It provides evidence of how business processes and the culture of the company communicate brand messages even if there isn’t face-to-face contact with customers.

2. Recognize first, then reward

Rewards programs help reinforce behaviors, but recognizing employees can be even more valuable. Recognition is something employees have earned that can never be taken from them. A simple verbal thank you, a genuine hand written note, or a visit with a senior leader are invaluable forms of recognition. Reinforcing on-brand behaviors through appropriate reward ensures employees will be motivated. Successful reward programs could include a special parking space nearer the office. Or allowing an employee to share the story behind the reason for recognition at a company Lunch and Learn.

3. Model winning behaviors through brand ambassadors

Employees who receive frequent recognition and reward are your true brand ambassadors. These people naturally model the on-brand behaviors to those around them. Leverage those exemplary employees by using their approaches to inform and support recruitment, onboarding and training programs.

4. Enable any employee to recognize on-brand behavior

Recognition for a job well done or demonstrating brand behaviors can come from anywhere: a manager, a leader, a customer or a peer. When an employee recognizes brand behavior, it’s really a two-way street: the “recognizer” must be familiar enough with the behavior to see it in a co-worker. When employees receive recognition from a variety of sources, it is likely to reinforce them to continue the behavior in the future.

5. Find out who in your organization is going unrecognized

Employees who don’t ever receive recognition are worthy of your attention, too. Find out the reason why some people are going unrecognized. Whether it’s their lack of understanding about the brand, infrequent education or even personal issues, it’s important to find out if it’s something about the individual employee or a sign of wider organizational issues.

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