How to Succeed With Your Employee Engagement Program Rollout

By: Christina Zurek


With more options to engage your employees than ever before, it goes without saying the amount of consideration and preparation it takes to offer a new program or initiative is significant. Often, the phases of this process include:

  1. Gathering feedback from your people (about what they want), your leaders (about what they need) and your stakeholders (about what they’re willing to support).
  2. Evaluating your options to determine whether you need a partner and, if so, who the best one is to support your needs.
  3. Strategizing to ensure your solution will meet the needs you heard about while gathering feedback.
  4. Operationalizing your solution to ensure you have the support your need to manage and monitor your solution for the long-term.

While each of these steps are critical to the success of your initiative, there’s one that isn’t listed here—and we’ve found it’s one of the most frequently overlooked phases: the launch and rollout of your new initiative.

The Importance of Building Awareness & Excitement for a New Employee Program

Staggering results from recent research revealed that only about half (57%) of employers surveyed believe their workforce is aware of all their benefits and understands them. Is that because employees don’t care? Hardly! Employees and leaders are just distracted. It’s not that they don’t want to be in-the-know of all the great things you’re offering; it’s much more likely that they just didn’t know about it in the first place. Plus, they’re moving quickly and might be hesitant to ask questions, ultimately making the lack of awareness and understanding worse.

If your employees don’t know about what engagement opportunities you’re offering or how they can participate, your odds of improving engagement—and proving the ROI of your project—aren’t looking good.

Don’t leave it to chance. Follow our tips to ensure that the rollout of your next employee program will have the impact you’re looking for!

Related: Curious how much money an improvement in employee engagement can save your organization? Run the numbers using our calculator.

How to Execute a Successful Employee Program Rollout

When launching your employee programs, remember this phrase:

What gets rewarded gets repeated.

That doesn’t mean that you need to monetarily reward your people for every action they take, but you should make sure there is plenty of encouragement, recognition and socialization happening to create the groundswell of excitement you’re looking for. Here’s how to do it.

1. Educate – Step one should always be informational. Let your people know what you’re offering, why it’s important to them and where they can go for help. For example, if you’re launching a new recognition program, tell them why recognition is important, what’s great about the new way they can recognize their peers and where they can go with questions. Better yet, anticipate the questions they’ll have and provide a toolkit with answers—that will also help you circumvent the issue with hesitancy to ask questions in the first place.

How you go about educating them can make all the difference, though? Communicating where and when it makes sense for different job functions is critical.

For example, the way your employees working at desks ingest information best is likely very different than an employee working on the retail floor or in a manufacturing plant. Factor in those differences as much as possible when it comes to deciding the best way to create initial awareness of your offering.

Related: See how an ITA Group client with a functionally diverse workforce successfully rolled out a new employee engagement initiative to positively impact culture and drive desired behaviors.

2. Excite – While certain programs or initiatives are more exciting than others, everything you offer has a purpose and the way you excite your people about it needs to anchor back to that message. Is it going to make their life easier? Cut down on a known frustration? Help make work more fun? Get to the “what’s in it for me?” for your people and have some fun with it.

No matter how witty or visually interesting your print and electronic communications are, don’t stop there if you’re looking to really make an impact.

Some of the most effective ways we’ve helped clients launch a new solution include mailing a box of branded swag and helpful info to remote employees or decking out breakrooms with environmental branding and goodies.

collage of different employee engagement communications

These are great options for conveying can’t-miss messages that are sure to grab the attention of employees in the places where their work gets done.

3. Analyze & Optimize – Too often, organizations wait until they’re well in to operationalizing a solution to evaluate their performance. As early as the launch stage you can access quantifiable metrics like email open rates, training session attendance and active sessions for new technology-based solutions, but we’ve found that qualitative feedback can actually be much more useful at this phase.

By opening feedback loops during the launch stage, you can learn how the offering is being received by leaders and employees, adjust your strategies if needed and, most importantly, ensure that your people feel heard.

Doing that can be one of the most effective ways to reward their attentiveness, encourage early participation and create a solid foundation for long-term usage.

Ensure Engagement With an Inspiring Employee Program Rollout

The tireless effort put forth to bring new employee engagement programs to life is something that should be validated by organizational buy-in and use of the eventual solution. But, a lackluster rollout contributes to issues concerning adoption and use—or, worse, a lack of overall awareness. By leveraging these tips you’ll avoid those common challenges, ensuring that your—and your team’s—hard work gains the traction it deserves within your organization.

Learn more about the power of communicating key messages to your people in our Employer Branding Toolkit.

Christina Zurek
Christina Zurek

Christina is an experienced leader with a passion for improving the employee experience, employee engagement and workplace culture. Few things excite her as much as an opportunity to try something unfamiliar (be that a project, development opportunity, travel destination, food, drink or otherwise), though digging in to a research project is a close second.