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10 Reward and Recognition Ideas to Support Your Advocacy Program

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Effective reward and recognition programs are pivotal in fostering employee advocacy. These programs not only acknowledge the efforts of employees but also motivate them to continue acting as brand ambassadors. In this article, we talk about 10 reward and recognition ideas to support your employee advocacy program and show appreciation to your employees.

Employee advocacy is a fundamental part of a content strategy. It involves empowering employees to represent and promote their company, its products, or services. It stems from and relies on how involved employees are in company matters, business, industry, and life, and, by extension, how willing they are to spread the word about it. 

It shows (and requires) commitment, passion, and dedication from the employees, and that’s not something that should be taken for granted. Which is why, to effectively harness this power and show appreciation for the employees’ efforts, businesses need to implement robust reward and recognition programs. In this article, we’re going to explore various reward and recognition ideas to show employees how much you value their involvement as brand ambassadors and the work they do in the context of employee advocacy.

The importance of reward and recognition in advocacy

Reward and recognition ideas are crucial in motivating employees to become advocates. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to speak positively about their workplace, enhancing the company's image and reputation. 

But at the same time, they’re also going to feel appreciated and valued for their input as ambassadors for the company, their contribution, and their effort, and thus experience a greater sense of belonging and a more pleasant work experience as employees.

Ambassadorship is never something you should expect from your employees or take for granted — it is a willing and voluntary decision that your employees make, thus showing dedication and long-term commitment to your company. That’s why it’s so important to recognize them for their efforts. This will help you build a collaborative and solid relationship with them based on mutual trust and exchange of ideas, feedback, and opinions. 

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10 reward and recognition ideas for employees involved in an employee advocacy program

Finding the best way to reward employees can sometimes be difficult for advocacy program admins and managers. Besides being short on reward and recognition ideas, the problem can sometimes be deciding which rewards or recognition options fit in with your company culture and which ones are unsuitable for your organization. 

That’s why we put together a list of reward and recognition ideas for you to adopt in your organization to engage and motivate your employees in their advocacy efforts.

  1. Tailored rewards programs. Customized rewards can be more effective than one-size-fits-all programs. Considering individual preferences and interests when designing rewards can actually prove to be a better way of showing recognition to your employees, as they will feel more appreciated in their specific roles. This could include flexible working arrangements, personalized gifts, or educational opportunities that align with the employee's personal and professional growth goals.

  2. Public recognition. Public acknowledgment of employees' advocacy efforts can be a powerful motivator. This could take the form of shout-outs in company meetings, features in internal newsletters, or social media posts, nominating an ‘employee (or ambassador) of the month,’ you name it. Public recognition not only boosts the employee's morale but also sets a precedent for other employees to follow.

  3. Performance-based bonuses. This can be more of a tricky reward or recognition option, and it might well be that it’s not something that your company culture foresees. If it does, though, offering bonuses for specific advocacy milestones can be a strong incentive: these could be linked to the number of social media shares, leads generated through employee referrals, or participation in community events.

  4. Career development opportunities. Recognizing advocacy efforts with career development opportunities can be highly rewarding for employees. This could include sponsorship for professional courses, attendance at industry conferences, or mentorship programs. Such opportunities show investment in the employee's future and are an excellent way to show recognition and reward their dedication to being a brand ambassador.

  5. (Non-)Monetary rewards. When we talk about monetary reward ideas, one thing falls into that category but doesn’t involve bonuses: things you can look into are company gadgets and accessories such as headphones, mugs, phone cases, laptop sleeves, etc. These are things that employees use every day at work but can be pretty pricey. Show your appreciation by ensuring everyone in the office has access to the basics they need.

  6. Peer-to-peer recognition programs. Implementing a peer-to-peer recognition system can foster a positive work culture. Allow employees to nominate their colleagues for rewards based on their advocacy efforts. This not only motivates employee advocates but also encourages others to engage in similar activities, which would also allow you to expand the advocacy program within the company.

  7. Social impact rewards. For employees driven by social causes, rewards that contribute to a charitable organization of their choice can be highly motivating and can easily be arranged through an employee advocacy platform such as Ambassify. This aligns with the values of employees who are passionate about social responsibility and can enhance their commitment to advocacy but it is also a great way to contribute to your own sustainable engagement goals as an organization.

  8. Team-based incentives. Encouraging team-based advocacy through collective rewards can foster teamwork and collective effort. This could include team outings, group training sessions, or team performance bonuses. This kind of reward or recognition idea is perfect for promoting a sense of unity and shared purpose in advocacy: Ambassify offers a ‘community goal’ feature to enable this exact kind of reward, visually showing ambassadors the progress of their work.

  9. Recognition at annual events. Acknowledging advocacy efforts during annual company events, such as award ceremonies or holiday parties, can be highly impactful. Creating specific awards for advocacy efforts gives these actions prestige and visibility within the organization.

  10. Continuous feedback and support. Regular feedback and support are essential in maintaining ongoing advocacy — this may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how often the little things are forgotten. Recognition should not be a one-off event but part of a continuous effort to engage and motivate employees. Regular check-ins and support systems can help sustain advocacy efforts.

Effective reward and recognition programs are pivotal in fostering employee advocacy. These programs not only acknowledge the efforts of employees but also motivate them to continue acting as brand ambassadors.

Companies can cultivate a culture of advocacy by implementing a mix of monetary, non-monetary, individual, and team-based rewards, along with public recognition and career development opportunities. This not only enhances the company's image but also contributes to a more engaged and motivated workforce. In the end, the success of an employee advocacy program is as much about recognizing and rewarding efforts as it is about the advocacy itself.

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