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Why You Need an Outsider to Design Your Reward Program



We often get RFPs – Requests for Proposal – in which a company will spell out their needs, the program they “want” and the general structure of what the program will look like, how it will operate, the award values, and in some cases, the communication design elements.

I know the requesting company is very proud of their work.  They put a lot of effort into the RFP and they think it will make it easier to choose a partner with whom they will build and run their reward program (this applies to both employee programs as well as channel programs.)

Unfortunately – what they get at the end of this exercise – is the company that can best answer their questions in the RFP – not the company that can best design and operate the program THEY NEED to drive the objectives they outline in their document.

You Don’t Know What You Won’t See

The problem is – as is pointed out in very succinct way in this post on the We Know Next siteMost fish don’t know they swim in water.

I’ve seen that inference before but it is always nice to be reminded of it.

When something is sooooooo ubiquitous, so all encompassing as water is to a fish – it is precisely the thing you miss in your program design calculations.  It is the obvious you miss because it fades into your intellectual background – you just can’t see it.  It’s the gorilla in the basketball game that you miss because you’re so focused on something else.

While the post on We Know Next is focused on understanding corporate culture, you could almost remove the references to culture and substitute “Recognition and Reward System” (RRS.)  The idea is the same.

Get an Outside Opinion

We’ve actually incorporated that step in all of our client engagements.  A screen shot from our website below provides a high-level overview of our process.

consulting process

The first step is to provide a third party point of view on your company, your culture, and your employees, to help you design the best program for your environment – not the program our software is designed to run.

We create – with you – the program your company needs.

Doing an effective job on your program design can only start with a new and different perspective on your company and program.

So – ask us about Step One. 

Let us point out that you, in fact, do swim in water.


3 Responses to “Why You Need an Outsider to Design Your Reward Program”

  1. Michelle Pokorny says:

    Amen. I also think us ‘outsiders’ help bring insights into human motivation that inform program elements – as well as approaches, tools to gain and use specific insights into THEIR people… the ones’ the program is supposed to inspire, move, reward and recognize. All too often, the best intentions of program owners end up in an RFP and program design reflecting what they would like, what they would find motivating, meaningful, rewarding. Doing so, they may miss gaining the attention of, much less effectively engaging and motivating a large chunk of their program audience… leaving them floating in a fishtank of indifference.

    • Paul Hebert says:

      Thanks Michelle… appreciate the comment – and the way you deftly worked the metaphor into your closing sentence. Programs too often are designed for the designer not the audience.

  2. Symbolist says:

    […] Why You Need an Outsider to Design Your Reward Program (symbolist.com) […]

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