Get Your Recognition Strategy Structured The Right Way

There is a lot that can go into writing a recognition strategy so I thought I would outline some of the structural elements that you can draw upon to create a complete recognition strategy.

In my Recognition Strategy Model® approach to facilitating a written Recognition Strategy, I am a firm believer in formulating a Recognition Purpose and Recognition Philosophy statements.

I feel these become the North Star for leaders and employees to look at, understand immediately what they mean, and guide your recognition practices, rituals and programs.

So let’s take a look at the many components you may choose to include in crafting your organization’s Recognition Strategy.

Recognition Purpose: Is a succinct statement of what the core purpose is for giving recognition by everyone at your organization. It needs to answer why you are recognizing people so all employees know and perhaps why as a company you should be doing so.

Here’s an example of a Recognition Purpose statement:

We believe our team is the heart of Senior Healthcare and so we encourage and celebrate the contributions of employees and volunteers.

Recognition Philosophy: This is another statement or series of sentences that spells out what you collectively believe about recognition and why you give or want to give recognition. You essentially are stating why recognition is important to everyone and how it indirectly will contribute to the business and to society as a whole.

A Recognition Philosophy statement could like this:

By doing this we will honour the Senior Healthcare mandate through building communities that value seniors.

Typically, these two sentences flow from one another and appear together:

We believe our team is the heart of XYZ Healthcare and so we encourage and celebrate the contributions of employees and volunteers. By doing this we will honour the XYZ Healthcare mandate through building communities that value seniors.

 Recognition Principles: Recognition principles are fundamental laws or truths that will guide exemplary recognition practices and are generally accepted across the organization.

Some organizations outline a set of principles they will adhere to and these may replace or append an actual Recognition Philosophy statement.

Examples include:

  • Recognize contributions at all levels.
  • Promote positive and respectful behaviors in the workplace.

Recognition Practices: Recognition practices are the frequent (often daily or weekly) personal and habitual behaviors people do to express appreciation to others as well as the cultural and customary ways an organization has of showing people that they and their contributions are valued.

It is important to know how you will address the practices or rituals you want to see happening in the workplace.

Recognition Programs: Recognition programs are the regular informal or formal organizational procedures and online administered programs for providing scheduled individual or team acknowledgment, awards, incentives or rewards, for achieving various strategic, behavioral or performance based criteria.

Programs are tools to help you practice giving good recognition. You will know the programs you need in place to help standardize and automate the recognition that can be made easier through programs.

Recognition Plan: This is a written plan that lays out several actions for improving recognition at your company. Guided by your purpose and philosophy, a Recognition Plan is your battle plan for dealing with your gap analysis of current strengths and weaknesses with recognition practices and programs.

It should become your, or your recognition teams’, marching orders. It provides the goals, strategies, focus points, objectives, tactics and outcomes.

If you are a sole recognition practitioner, the plan becomes a list of actions you will need to prioritize. If you are fortunate enough to have a team and committees available to you, the plan becomes a multi-pronged approach to making recognition better.

Goal: This is the big picture and primary outcome you are shooting for. I have found setting a one-year, (relatively) short-term goal within a Recognition Plan is a great idea to keep everyone focused on how they’re actions are contributing towards.

A goal to improve your overall recognition could be as simple as:

To know what recognition is and what it is not, how to give it the right way, and establish our cultural values to drive recognition.

Strategy: There are aspirations and constraints that everyone has for achieving the goals you have outlined. Your strategy is your overall approach you are going to take to achieving the goal. It is a directional view for how to tackle the goal.

A strategy could be something like:

Strategy: Conduct an annual review and complete an inventory of all recognition programs at the company and identify and address gaps identified.

Focus Point: Leaders in my Recognition Strategy Model® sessions identify 3 to 6 focus point areas identified from a gap analysis recognition assessment. These become the broad areas that need to be improved upon or supported to help achieve our goal. They appear as category headings, again giving a big picture focus point for those involved to know what they’re working on.

Some of the Focus Points I have seen are:

  • Education and Training;
  • Defining Recognition;
  • Communication Strategy;
  • Develop Recognition Practices

Objective: I often refer to this as an Implementation Objective. Those of you who know me are aware that everything you should be doing with recognition needs to lead to some measurable action that you can apply or implement. Your objective helps you to achieve your strategy.

An objective might look like:

  • Train managers as to what recognition is and how to do it right
  • Develop formal recognition programs that are better aligned with our business goals and culture.

Tactic: A Tactic is the methodology, tool or steps you will take in achieving the objective associated with your strategy.

  • Gather broad representation (staff and leaders) to discuss how practicing recognition will look like in our company
  • Build key messages to explain our recognition strategy, practices and programs

Outcome: You need to know how you will measure all you are doing so you will know when you have reach your desired outcome.

  • Number of Employees familiar with Recognition Strategy, practices and programs
  • Annual Engagement Survey results with specific focus on recognition specific questions
  • Measures of effectiveness of recognition related communication outputs

I have kept a simple approach when designing Recognition Strategies and Plans.

It leads of at the top with a combined Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement.

At the bottom is your overall Short-Term Objective that everything in the middle will lead to.

Under your Purpose and Philosophy statement come your Focus Points, following by Implementation Objectives and Outcomes.

There are lots of variations on the same theme.

Just make sure you actually create a recognition strategy. Of the 54% of organizations that have a written recognition strategy, according to WorldatWork, 96% of those organization’s recognition strategies are aligned with their business strategy.

Go make you strategy happen!

Question: How well is your recognition strategy aligned with your people and business strategies?

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