We recently conducted an informal survey asking our clients to list the types of “prizes/giveaways” they have used to encourage participation in learning initiatives. Not surprisingly, one of the most common responses was some sort of food (candy, snacks, lunch, cookies, doughnuts, and a lot of Starbucks cards). It appears that the old axiom, “Feed them and they will come” still holds true! But, one respondent stated, “We used to give out candy during class. But the HR folks made us quit due to liability and healthcare reasons.” That was something I didn’t see coming.
Many people said they give away some sort of swag, especially trinkets they pick up at ILTA and other conferences. You’re welcome, by the way! One very practical giveaway was from a firm that is introducing a new Learning Management System (LMS) with eLearning. They are providing everyone with headphones with a Learning & Development logo on the case.
But, there were some very interesting and unexpected responses. Many of them addressed feeding the soul or the ego instead of the stomach. One firm gives certificates of completion and uses the company newsletter to publish the names of those who complete training milestones. Another firm awarded engraved clocks and a yearly luncheon to “gold-level” status secretaries (those who completed a prescribed training plan), and entry into a drawing for a weekend getaway.
So, what did we learn? We know that people like being offered an incentive for doing something, even if it’s their job. But, a huge budget is not a requirement. It’s nice if you can offer gift cards and iPads, but a little recognition goes a long way. One respondent stated, “We gave a Practice Area trophy (and bragging rights) for firm-wide competition training.” And, really, don’t we all like to feel that we’re good at something and that someone else noticed and recognized it? I don’t think it’s the actual “prize” that matters so much… rather, recognition of accomplishment and a healthy spirit of competition can add spark to a tired initiative. Oh, and if I’m attending, chocolate is a must!
Savvy Training & Consulting offers a comprehensive content library and hosted LMS which can help jump-start your training initiative.