Can You Please Tell Me What a Recognition Strategy Is?

What exactly is a recognition strategy?

When you search out Recognition Professionals International’s (RPI) seven best practices standards you’ll learn that their first standard is Recognition Strategy.

RPI defines a Recognition Strategy as a written strategy statement and plan with specific program objectives, with recognition aligned to the organization’s culture (i.e. vision, mission and values) and the business strategy and objectives. They use a three-dimensional recognition approach of formal, informal and day-to-day recognition practices. This Recognition Strategy document typically outlines the procedures and processes used and the program delivery methods for the various types of recognition adopted.

My definition of a recognition strategy includes a few more features that help make your recognition strategy a working, actionable tool.

Let’s dive in to learn more.

Quick Facts About Recognition Strategies

Here’s a harsh reality about recognition strategies few—organizations actually have one. 

In its 2017 survey, Trends in Employee Recognition, WorldatWork identified only 55 percent of its members had a written recognition strategy. Interestingly, most of the organizations with recognition strategies (95 percent) showed they aligned them with their business strategy. This suggests these organizations understood the impact and benefit that employee recognition practices and recognition programs can have on employees and their performance. 

However, while they aligned these recognition strategies with the organization’s mission, vision, and values, few had a statement of what the purpose of recognition is or what the organization’s beliefs are about recognition.

My Definition of A Recognition Strategy

For me, a recognition strategy is a written document and tool that includes an approved statement of the purpose of recognition for the organization, along with the organizational philosophy and beliefs about recognition, and incorporates a recognition plan coving every day, informal and formal recognition, with measurable objectives to progress recognition practices and programs throughout the organization.

It will also have a short-term, overarching one-year goal that directs leaders and recognition owners where the organization is heading with employee recognition practices and programs.

A recognition strategy encompasses a recognition plan for achieving the one-year goal. A prior Recognition Assessment allows leaders to have a gap analysis overview and know the current strengths and weaknesses with the organization’s recognition practices and programs.

From there, the organizational leaders involved in the recognition strategy’s facilitation, can identify focus points for improvement and development. They will create implementation objectives for carrying out the next steps along with output measures to determine progress towards completion.

No One Tells You How To Create a Recognition Strategy

While RPI lays out the minimum contents of a recognition strategy, few owners of employee recognition involve leaders in developing one.

Managers and owners of recognition often independently develop their own written recognition strategy document, only to struggle afterward to get it accepted and approved by their leaders.

We strongly advocate for a collaborative process that involves as many representative leaders from your organization’s departments as possible. This provides an opportunity for educating them about the importance and need for recognition. And it gives a chance for leaders to contribute and give their input for the future direction of employee recognition at your organization.

Rideau Recognition Solutions uses a facilitated process with our proprietary Recognition Strategy Model® that I developed. Our Certified Recognition consultants can guide you and your leadership, management, and recognition teams, in crafting a well-articulated Recognition Purpose and Recognition Philosophy statements, as well as a Recognition Plan. 

The Benefits of a Recognition Strategy

A recognition strategy is super helpful because it spells out the grand “why” for recognition where you work. It tells your employees what they can expect and what is expected of them. Your customers will better understand the importance and need for employee recognition. In fact, the entire organization will be united with honoring, recognizing, and celebrating one another for the great things done well at work.

Recognition Reflection: Do you have a written recognition strategy that helps you continually develop and improve your organization’s recognition practices and programs?

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