Helping You Help Them

Don’t ask me why but it seems that no matter how industrious you are as an HR professional, your success often hinges on the participation of your employees, who, unfortunately, have little motivation to make your job easier.

They’ll drag their feet when it comes to filling out HR materials or completing training – even safety training that could save their lives.

So, direct from the best agency in brand-aligned workforce communications, comes a few professional trade secrets.

Create a clear line-of-sight to “why and when”

First, make sure you communicate both the importance of the materials and the deadline for completing them. The date should be prominent and attached to the materials so the two can’t be separated. If you’re sending materials by email, make sure the deadline is in both the body of the letter and on the materials themselves, whether it’s a PDF, an intranet site, or a spreadsheet. Follow-up with reminders, either in person, by email, or through a public forum like the company newsletter. If there are rewards for finishing early (see below), announce who was won so far, giving motivation to the procrastinators.

You’ll Win with Contests

Nothing persuades like competition. Divide your staff by department or into special teams, or make the contest an individual endeavor. Whoever finishes first, or gets the most answers correct, or has the most participation, wins a prize. Contests with multiple prizes, such as weekly winners or both a “best” and a “most” award, work best; if people know the prize has already been won, they have no reason to participate.


Sometimes exhibitions can be as fun as competitions. If you’re implementing a safety program, ask your staff to designate “the most dangerous place in the office,” along with “the safest place in the office” – based on the safety materials, which they have to read to fully participate. Hold a humorous meeting to decide what to call the new floor safety warden (my favorite was “Captain Safeguard”). Give everyone stickers and let them tag potential hazards around the workplace. You can even add a “contest” element by holding an election to pick the safety warden. Any activity that involves the entire company provides extra motivation for reluctant executives to participate.

Your Staff’s Favorite Radio Station? WI.FM

“What’s in it for me?” employees ask all too often. There are lots of responses that are well within your budget – or even cost nothing at all. The winning employee(s) can leave early, work from home one day, or host an “all-jeans day” for themselves and their favorite colleagues.

Use your company’s “wall of fame” or Employee of the Month program. (If you don’t have one, start one.) Of course, simple public recognition costs nothing: giving the winner a standing ovation at your next staff meeting or posting their achievement on the bulletin board can mean a lot to your workers. Keep the prizes simple- even a pizza, movie pass or Starbucks card can add sizzle to your shtick.

Making success fun makes your workplace more productive and your job a lot easier.

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