Credit: HKS
Contributed by:
Trish Martineck

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How to Celebrate Employee Promotions: 10 Tips

Our president came to us last year and asked one simple question: How can we make the promotions process more celebratory?

Our goal was to make sure the promotions process was meaningful, inspiring and, most of all, personal.

A few planning sessions later, the blueprint came together. Given the enormity of the 150-person, 26-office communications task, we had to separate responsibilities by group (e.g., management, human resources, communications and information technology), running on parallel tracks with a timeline attached to each task.  

Working together, these ideas came to life:

1. Create a branded icon that is the celebration’s theme song.

In our case, it was a cool Boston Terrier wearing dark shades and glasses, and holding a champagne glass. This branded look was included on everything – from the book cover and koozies, to employee promotions packages and presentation graphics.

2. Inspire and be genuine.

Management selected the book “Authentic Leadership,” and wrapped it in a book jacket that included the cool Boston Terrier as well as a personal, signed message from our president and CEO.

3. Inform in an engaging way.

We created special promotions folders with the branded look. The packages, created individually for each promoted staff member, included his/her salary update, business card form, benefits for their titled group and guidelines established for the groups.

4. Make a memory.

Sponsors – or the people who supported the promoted individuals – were asked to write personal notes to include in the individualized promotions packages from HR.

5. Celebrate it up.

A special promotions event was held in the afternoon, complete with champagne toasts and upscale snacks. Our president and CEO provided a State of the Union address, and shared a presentation with the names and photos of each person promoted. This event was streamed live to all of the firm’s 26 other offices.

6. Add a little extra flair.

Special koozies for promoted staff were created to hold the beverage of their choice at the event.

7. Communicate the message within the company.

The front page of the company’s intranet celebrated those who were promoted.

8. Share it on your website.

Our website also hosted a promotions post.

9. Go viral with social media.

We included a Twitter hashtag, #leaderwithin2015. We asked all offices to send photos from their promotions celebrations worldwide. We shared this on all of our social media platforms.

10. Get the message out to the media. 

Next up, promoted staff were publicized via press releases to their local media.

The result: the program created positive buzz company-wide. How will it affect our employee retention? Stay tuned.

Trish Martineck is Director of Integrated Communications at HKS, Inc.