5 Tips for Successful Recognition Program Implementation
You have signed on to a recognition software solution and you are moving forward to the implementation process. Likely, you are excited to get started and eager to get your program up and running as soon as possible.
Perhaps you spent months researching and deciding which provider to choose and were relieved when you finally made your decision. Your sales person, whom you have grown to love, passes you off to a project manager and things start to get scary. Now it’s time to make it happen. Before this point, everything was theoretical, showing what you will get when your program is up and running. Now you must go through the implementation phase.
You can always expect minor issues or miscommunication, but if you are well-prepared, you will have few complications. Your life will be significantly easier and you’ll be through it in no time. So what can you do to ensure success in the implementation process?
Make sure you have advocates aligned with your goals.
Every person between you and your program creates room for miscommunication. After sales transitions you over to your relationship manager, you should articulate your business goals. Beyond features and functions (that will be handled by your project manager), your relationship manager is your most valuable resource. This person is meant to be your advocate and make sure your project hits your business goals. Are you looking to increase engagement? Are you looking to reach more participants? By discussing your goals with your relationship manager, you gain an external ally who can direct your program towards success.
Make sure you engage with your project manager in a meaningful way.
In continuation from the first point, make sure your external team is on board with your needs. Your project manager’s goal is to actually make your program get off the ground. When in contact with your PM, you should ask any question or bring up any concern when you first think of it. That way everyone is on the same page. There is nothing worse in an implementation than poor communication between all parties. Communication is a two-way street, so you must make effort to communicate your questions, comments, and concerns just as your PM should make an effort to do so as well.
Make sure you are quick to correct if off track.
If you program starts to veer off track, say something! You will only be unsatisfied with your program if you let it go in a direction you do not appreciate and you do not say anything. For a program to be successful, you should take notice of what you dislike and take steps to correct it. The right time to correct the issue is when the program is still being made. It’s better to fix a minor issue now than let it sit for weeks, months, or even years because you were worried about saying something.
Make sure you have articulated your goals with internal management.
There’s always at least one way you can make your implementation better, by focusing internally. You might have the program goals and objectives spelled out in your head. It makes sense to you, obviously, since you are in charge of the program! But do your managers understand? If your management is not on board with the reasons why recognition is important, no amount of planning will work to make sure the program gets off the ground. Use this time to educate your managers about the importance and relevance of recognition and engagement. If they truly understand, your program launch will go over far better than you could have ever hoped.
Additionally, make sure your executives are also on board. If your executives understand the value of recognition, you will be able to reach farther in your organization and have a more compelling incentive for users to get involved. Executive approval and involvement is key to a successful launch.
Make sure you hold people accountable.
Everyone must be held accountable for their responsibilities. You must be responsible to communicate your needs, your relationship manager must be responsible for meeting your needs, your project manager must be responsible for delivering your program, and so on. Internally, if there is anyone involved in your implementation, make sure they are also held accountable. If IT, finance, human resources or an executive team need to get involved, make sure they perform their role in a timely manner. The simplest way for an implementation to get delayed is for people to avoid work, forget to respond to an email or voicemail, or miss an appointment. Many programs that could be implemented in the matter of a few weeks wind up taking months simply because people do not take responsibility for their role.
As you can see, the five major ways you can have an easy implementation all revolve around communication. When there is open and free communication between all parties, everyone can work more efficiently. With healthy communication, your goals will surely be met and your program will be far better off for it.