No matter where in the world I have been and asked to conduct a Recognition Strategy session – whether in Columbus, Ohio or Mumbai, India – the end product has always been amazement at the simplicity and depth of what the people in the room just created.
What is a recognition strategy?
It is a written declaration of what leaders in an organization believe recognition really is and what it means to them. It also shares why they intend to practice recognition giving for the benefit of employees, for their customers and even for their shareholders.
Going into these sessions everyone involved always thinks they know exactly what recognition is.
Surprise! Not so. It often takes a little bit of education first to differentiate between rewards and recognition before we can proceed.
So, what must you absolutely have in order to create a well-crafted Recognition Strategy?
There are actually three things that you must have in a Recognition Strategy:
#1 Must-Have: First, you have to determine your Recognition Purpose. This is all about intention and how recognition can become a way of life for everyone in your organization. What is your purpose in giving recognition to people? This is where you set clear expectations for your recognition practices as well as your recognition programs. And it puts all of this in writing to show how your recognition initiatives are going to help contribute to the business and to society at large.
Crafting this statement usually causes people to see where they have been wrong with recognition in the past. And it sets a fresh new direction for how recognition can help them strategically with achieving their future plans.
#2 Must-Have: Second, you have to define your Recognition Philosophy. You have to pull the philosopher’s stone out of everyone and articulate the grand answer to “why” recognition. Leaders need to determine why they are giving recognition to employees in the first place. What are your collective beliefs about recognition anyways? Why is recognition important to us?
Often there is a semantic battle over what constitutes recognition versus rewards and these ideas must be sorted out and put down in writing.
Getting everyone on the same page is a powerful outcome from this exercise.
#3 Must-Have: Finally, you need a Recognition Plan. This is where following a gap analysis and armed with your final draft Recognition Strategy statements, you prioritize where you need to focus your efforts to enhance and utilize recognition the right way.
You establish the overall goal you want to achieve over a given time period (usually a one-year timeframe) and set up implementation objectives for each focus point selected and how you will measure their achievement.
While no battle is ever won by just having a plan, the act of planning is what leads to positive action and making recognition a powerful tool for your organization.
And should you feel you need assistance with facilitating a Recognition Strategy then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me .
Q: How could having a clearly articulated Recognition Strategy help guide your recognition practices and programs?
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.