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Building a Compelling Reward Structure for Your Community: Part 2

Part 2: Incorporate recognition strategically.

This is a continuation from this post where I shared my thoughts on tokens and points being the primary incentive to motivate behavior in your community.

So if points or tokens aren’t going to motivate the community like we thought they would, what will?

In the direct sales world I come from, I remember reading a statistic early on from the DSA that the number one motivator for direct sellers was recognition for their work. This is surveying people who earn a part or a vast majority of their income through direct selling. But that wasn’t the most motivating, recognition was. Each year this motivator showed up at the top.

It’s not just in the direct sales world.

Quantum workplace reported “when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged.” Recognition has been long-recognized as highly valuable and consistently underdelivered in the workplace. Which could actually work to your advantage in the community you are building.

If your members aren’t getting recognized for their good work at work, make your community a place they know they’ll be seen and celebrated.

It’s worth mentioning that recognition is different from appreciation. Appreciation is recognizing the value of someone as a person intrinsically, while recognition celebrates a specific action or outcome.

I prefer to build systems with clear expectations for what work will be recognized. This helps your incentives drive the desired actions and outcomes and helps you avoid creating community favorites subjectively.

The recognition structure will look different depending on your community and the actions you want to see taken. If you are building your community in Heartbeat or Circle, a simple way you can structure your recognition is through community badges that are earned when a specific action is taken or outcome achieved.

While recognition is a powerful motivator, it’s not the only one. I recommend incorporating both financial and non-financial incentives to your rewards structure. But never lose site of the importance of recognition as a powerful motivator to drive the actions you want to see.

Photo credit: Ian Stauffer


About the Author

Bri Leever is Chief Community Architect at Ember, a splasher of water, and lover of books doing life in an ever-changing migration pattern ✈️


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