by Alex Palmer | April 13, 2018
Finding creative ways to engage employees remains an ongoing challenge for managers and incentive planners. From marketing programs, to recognizing the winners, to tracking data to ensure rewards are making the maximum impact, effective incentives require a mix of art and science. For some suggestions on how best to strike this balance, Incentive spoke with Cord Himelstein, vice president of marketing for HALO Recognition to get some tips for innovating incentives and marketing a program to ensure it does what it needs to do.

Why is it important for incentive planners to keep things fresh in the programs they oversee?
Any time you're asking for continual engagement in an ongoing program, things need to evolve along with the audience, adapt, and stay fresh to remain relevant and appealing. You may not always know what people want, but you can be sure they don't want the same old thing.

What are some ways that planners can get more creative in their programs or the ways that they motivate workers?
They can market programs in a consumer-friendly way, and take advantage of promotional opportunities throughout the year, like celebration days and employee appreciation days. Also put care into how programs are introduced -- build a motivated sequence of excitement and buzz, then launch it with a bang. Actively share and promote it and use public leaderboards to add friendly competition. Make it an inviting experience with a bit of a journey and a satisfying end point.

What is an effective way to identify areas where a program could be improved or enhanced in some way?
Examining hard data like platform usage, response/bounce rates, time spent browsing the program site, etc. with reporting and analytics tools is a great starting point to find out where overall engagement with the program is lacking. Cross-referencing these findings with organic feedback from frontline participants yields a clearer picture of what needs to be adjusted. Use this information to try a new engagement approach and observe any changes.

What are some ways HALO Recognition has innovated its offerings?
Becoming a part of HALO Branded Solutions greatly expanded our reward selection and flexibility to offer more specialized services like company stores. In the past, incentives and recognition were on separate tracks, but as they continue to blend and become one, so have we aimed to bring them together with more unified, top-to-bottom reward capabilities.