Crafting a Successful Employee Spotlight Program

Increasing employee morale and productivity requires a solid retention strategy. Implement a worker spotlight program for a cost-effective solution.

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Crafting a Successful Employee Spotlight Program

Here's what you need to know:

  • An employee spotlight program is one where employees are appreciated in public
  • Such employee appreciation programs can contribute to high morale, increased productivity and retention, and increased business sales
  • Ways to showcase an employee spotlight include sharing worker success in a social media post, blog post, or newsletter
  • Best practices for a great spotlight program include being authentic, regularly creating content, and more

An employee spotlight program is one where employees are appreciated in public. Your business may choose to present a story highlighting an employee’s success and their journey to achieve results.

Such employee appreciation programs can contribute to high morale, increased productivity, and increased business sales.

And for HR professionals, they can help improve employee acquisition and reduce high turnover.

According to a survey by Willis Towers Wilson, 73% of the participants had trouble finding suitable employees to join the company, while 61% struggled with retaining employees.

But with stressed budgets, it can be difficult to find affordable employee retention methods that work. An employee spotlight program, however, is one cost-effective strategy that’s fairly easy to implement. And since around 84% of companies already offer recognition programs, all your spotlight initiative may need is a quick refresh.

To get started, let’s take an in-depth look into what a successful employee spotlight program is and the dynamics that come with it.

What is an employee spotlight program and its benefits?

An employee spotlight program is a story you tell the public about your team. You’ll usually be sharing this employee recognition story with your internal staff, customers, partners, suppliers, and investors.

The story’s goal is to appreciate how the employee’s personal strengths and hard work contributed to the company’s success.

In some cases, an employee spotlight award may be part of the program. Rewards can be plaques, gift cards, small bonuses, or other items.

The story’s goal is to appreciate how the employee’s personal strengths and hard work contributed to the company’s success. This is also a branding strategy where the public associates your company with having the ability to appreciate its talented and skilled employees — thereby, having higher employee retention.

An employee spotlight program has several benefits, such as:

Employee retention

An employee retention strategy within a company aims to keep productive and skilled employees intentionally. Seeing that an employee retention program increases employee morale, the problem of absenteeism and high turnover may be solved.

Low turnover facilitates a positive working environment where employees work to their full capacity rather than working to resign once they find a better job or salary package. Employee retention leads to high business sales through teamwork and consistency, a tangible benefit of the employee spotlight program.

Tap into intrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation in the workplace is when employees don’t require constant supervision to perform their duties or deliver on their mandates. An employee spotlight program may help increase self-motivation levels because employees would aim to have a positive spotlight during their coverage, which directly affects retention.

Create an appreciation of work culture

An entire work culture can be created around an employee spotlight program. Employees draw their positive attitude from their managers and supervisors.

In many cases, if they see that management appreciates their talents and skills, workers will begin to appreciate each other. A work culture that incorporates appreciation facilitates teamwork, high morale, and employee retention.

What are ways to showcase an employee spotlight?

Now that you appreciate what the employee spotlight is and how this helps with employee retention, here are some methods you can use to show appreciation to your employees.

Write a multi-use blurb

A general blurb is a short description of your employee’s background, how they got the current position, their strengths, and how these contribute to the business’s success. A blurb is usually up to 150 words — meaning the information needs to be precise and straight to the point.

A general blurb can be featured on your company website, within a press release, or on your social media platforms. It’s a great foundation for other content types, and can make your employee spotlight easier to share.

Readers benefit from being included in the behind-the-scenes of your company while the employees enjoy the spotlight and, as a company, appreciate the benefits of high employee retention.

Send it in your internal or customer newsletter

A newsletter is more detailed than a general blurb. It includes events, activities, and future announcements relevant to the target market.

Consider including a section that spotlights your employees in more detail. You can include an interview section where readers enjoy the employees’ narrative. This also gives your employees active engagement in their content creation.

Share worker success in a social media post

The different social media platforms where you showcase your products and services can also include employee appreciation posts. Consider uploading a photo or video of your employee and a description of their successful role at the company.

The length of your post depends on the platform. For example, Twitter allows for only 240 characters. While B2C companies can gain considerable leverage through TikTok, Twitter, and other platforms, B2B organizations can create longer, more insightful posts on LinkedIn.

And since it’s a professional network, your recognized employee and their coworkers are more likely to share the post. Thus, you can also improve your brand’s visibility.

Draft up a long-form blog post

A feature blog post on your website is another form of employee spotlight. A blog post can be as short as 500 words or as lengthy as 2,000 words.

Depending on the content you wish to include in your blog post, you can get as creative as you can. You can include interview snippets, biographies, or a question-and-answer segment.

5 effective employee spotlight questions

However, if you choose to create an employee spotlight program, you’ll need to have a list of questions that you can reuse for each employee interview.

The questions need to be posed in a way that encourages engaging and authentic responses. Keep in mind that a spotlight program is also a branding tool that may leave an impression on your audience about your business values and culture.

Some examples of effective spotlight questions include:

  • Walk us through a day in your shoes in our company. — This question gives insight into their roles.
  • What fuels your fire for the work you execute so well? — The question includes appreciation and a compliment.
  • In what ways have you grown since you joined the team? — This shows that the company offers room to grow for its employees.
  • What’s your favorite aspect of working with us here? — Highlights the positives about the business dynamics and work culture.
  • What advice would you give someone who would like to work with you? — Encourages others to consider working with the company at some point.

The questions you ask also depend on the template you will share the content on as well as the audience. Working together with your marketing team can help to optimize your program.

4 best practices for a stellar spotlight program

Employee appreciation is more than positive questions and public recognition. While these spotlight programs can boost company morale, the emphasis should be on listening to staff and documenting their success.

1. Be authentic

Employees can pick up whether you are authentic in wanting to put them in the spotlight and appreciate their contribution or if it’s a marketing strategy. Using authentic communication will contribute to your employee spotlight program’s success.

2. Regularly create spotlight content

Your employees need to feel appreciated on a regular basis, and no one wants to be left out. For that reason, you’ll want to have a long-term plan for creating spotlight content.

You may choose to rotate spotlights based on department, roles, and other factors. You can also strive to be inclusive of not only different departments but also your diverse talent for better insight into the employee experience.

3. Be timely

For an effective appreciation program, the content must be created in a timely manner. The content must be created during the celebratory phase if an employee is celebrating a milestone.

Waiting to create content once the stage has passed creates less of an effect on the employees as they would have already moved on to other issues that demand their attention in the workplace.

4. Go beyond professional achievements

Consider making the content personal by including information your employees may have told you about themselves, such as their birthdays and family dynamics. In some cases, an employee may have it as a major personal development milestone, such as earning an additional degree, winning a marathon, or creating a side hustle.

Adding emphasis on an employee’s specific interests and passions is not only more authentic, but it is more engaging for other employees and potential new hires.

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More on employee retention strategies

As a company, consider prioritizing retention strategies the way financial budget strategies are placed on the business priority list. An employee spotlight program is often a cost-effective way to boost retention with the added bonus of improved morale and productivity.

For more on how to keep your employees, review our retention checklist and integrate these steps into your strategy.

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