3 Reasons Why You Need a Clear Recognition Strategy

It’s mind-blowing to see the difference recognition practices and programs undergo in organizations where a written recognition strategy and plan exists, versus those organizations that don’t have one.

I hope to encourage you to create a written recognition strategy and plan if you don’t already have one. And, if you have one already, to make sure you have an action plan for implementing it.

Here are my three reasons you need a recognition strategy. There are plenty more, but I hope these will encourage you. 

#1. Stronger Alignment

You need to bring everything within your organization into alignment with your recognition strategy, and vice versa. It’s a matter of coordination and collaboration.

A recognition strategy and plan must be driven by the organizational culture of vision, mission, and values. Your organizational culture allows you to reinforce and acknowledge people for living your culture. 

Second, you must align your recognition strategy with your organization’s business strategy. Well designed and launched employee recognition programs help you with rewarding employees for achieving business goals and strategic initiatives.

#2. Greater Consistency

One of the biggest problems that organizations have with recognition practices and programs is the consistency of giving recognition. Recognition may happen in bursts or leaders subscribe to a wrong belief about the purpose of recognition and don’t recognize at all.

Having a written recognition strategy and plan provides you with a framework to more easily sustain recognition consistency.

A recognition strategy articulates the purpose and beliefs that an organization wants for employee recognition. This creates a tool to set expectations for organizational consistency for recognition. You will have a central organizational focus where recognition is aligned with the culture and fits with the recommendations and objectives laid out by the executive leaders. You and your team can then disseminate the importance of recognition out to departments and teams because you have a recognition strategy.

From there, you can hold leaders and employees alike accountable for using your online recognition programs. You can educate and train everyone to practice recognition skills and be more individually consistent with giving meaningful, motivational, and memorable recognition. 

#3. Generating Impact 

No one intended recognition to just be a feel-good exercise for everyone. 

Recognition done well truly impacts both leaders and employees. People who receive authentic recognition feel more engaged and show a better employee experience with the organization. Employees have more positive relationships between their leaders and peers and they have higher psychological well-being, among other factors.

And, with more engaged and positive employees come higher performance results. Whether this is with sales, increased customer satisfaction levels, or improved productivity measures, you can correlate better recognition with more business results. 

Implementing A Recognition Strategy

Knowing the reasons for having a recognition strategy does nothing if you don’t also have a plan to implement your strategy and plan. 

You must integrate recognition into every facet of your organization.

Here are several steps to consider when you need to put your recognition strategy into action. 

  1. Break it down to bit-sized pieces. Each recognition plan should have 4 to 6 focus points, or areas, to improve your recognition practices and programs. Draw upon assessments and benchmarking results to know what teams should work on.
  2. Invite dedicated teams to own their area. Enlist the help of experts and committed individuals in your organization who will volunteer their time to work on the goals associated with their assigned focus area.
  3. Create smaller block timeframes for success. I always advocate for 90-day action plans where you narrow down your goals to things you can achieve over a 3-month time period. Then, set a plan for what everyone will do over the next 30-days and recalibrate for the next two sets of 30-days for each focus area.
  4. Hold everyone accountable for making progress. Meet in person or virtually every 90-days to learn what each team has accomplished. Expect an email update every 30-days from the team leaders and a written summary report at the 90-day mark. The report should show proposed plans for the next 90-days or until they complete their respective goal.


It is important to articulate why your organization should have a written recognition strategy and plan. What further reasons are necessary for you to influence and convince your executive sponsor for employee recognition?

  1. Preparing your team and executive leaders with the rationale for having a recognition strategy and plan will help to achieve the desired organizational strategic objectives.
  2. Knowing why you should have a recognition strategy will help all individuals involved in writing one and implementing it when done.

Recognition Reflection: What are your reasons for having a written recognition strategy and plan?

Roy is no longer writing new content for this site (he has retired!), but you can subscribe to Engage2Excel’s blog as Engage2Excel will be taking Roy’s place writing about similar topics on employee recognition and retention, leadership and strategy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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