person's hands holding a gold trophy aloft
PHOTO: Fauzan Saari

The value your company gets out of SharePoint and Office 365 is directly proportional to the number of users and the extent of usage on the platform. While every member of your workforce will gain benefits by using the platforms, they don’t usually see those benefits in the short-term — and that can impact adoption. To keep everyone motivated to complete the tasks related to digital adoption, adding elements that serve as instant gratification can help.

Understanding the personal and business benefits of using the platforms helps users see "what's in it for me," and rewarding their efforts along the way helps them prioritize campaigns activities. People will easily prioritize tasks when they stand to make valuable gains.

In short, an incentive program is essential to digital adoption.

Get Your Incentive Program Started With These Proven Strategies

Many companies tend to hear "incentive programs" and purchase random gifts, distribute them to recipients and hope for a good-enough impact. This approach seldom yields the expected (or desired) results. You need to spend time getting to know your people in an effort to personalize their rewards.

If this area is not your forte, get help. Companies that specialize in employee motivation can show you the ropes. 

Sticking to the following guidelines will generally ensure your efforts pay off:

  • Give greater rewards to early-action-takers and early-adopters.
  • Don't limit the rewards to the top three winners, also reward the top 10, the top 50, even the top 100. Many times, a simple badge is enough to motivate an employee.
  • Always find ways to personalize an award to match the recipient's personality. At least, start with your top winners.
  • Reward both the learning activities and the practicing tasks.
  • Dedicate a budget and a team of managers to drive the program. Also, aim to build an internal team who can take over the incentive program management for the long-term.
  • To increase your chance of finding the most effective incentive for every employee, strategically run experiments with different types of awards.

Related Article: SharePoint Adoption Success Starts With Understanding Your Users

Stick to Ideas That Work for Most People

Ultimately, your incentive program will depend on your resources and your corporate culture. Here are ideas to use as starting points.

  1. Financial bonuses: Despite reservations on the idea by many business thought leaders, the fact is money always means something. You may award cash prizes, prepaid cards or gift cards. Do not award salary raises — they are not effective in the long run.
  2. Social events: Almost everyone would want to unwind after a stressful week. Consider a corporate-sponsored night out, a musical concert, a corporate party or a sports tournament.
  3. Skills development events: Most employees appreciate a chance to attend seminars by masters in their fields. They see opportunities to improve personal capabilities that can lead to personal development, better performance, quick promotions and higher salaries. Organize or find relevant training seminars and provide or buy tickets in bulk.
  4. Charity donations: If you talk to your colleagues, you will find most of them are charitable. Reward them by giving to the charities of their choice; they will be happy.
  5. Award ceremonies: Not all words of appreciation are equal: those that come from a boss, in front of a crowd will always carry more weight than a private message of appreciation. Have top executives say "thank you" to winners at an extravagant employee recognition event.

These are just broad suggestions. A simple afternoon brainstorming with your HR team will raise better ideas suited to your company culture and employees' profiles.

Related Article: Stop Focusing on Digital Workplace Adoption

Incentivize SharePoint and Office 365 Users

A rewarded behavior is one that's much more likely to be repeated. Give employees another reason to participate in digital adoption campaigns — create and implement an effective incentive program. Start with simple strategies that have proven to work elsewhere.

Appoint a team of managers, prioritize early-action-takers and early-adopters, personalize top awards, and, if needed, get help from a third-party expert team.

Continually improving SharePoint and Office 365 usage can be done. Incentivizing employees is one of the key steps forward.