Following the completion of a recognition strategy and planning session, you will have a written recognition action plan to execute.
This is both exciting and daunting as you take on responsibility for implementing your plan.
I will share with you some practical insights that I have seen for putting your recognition plan into action.
Sole Practitioner In A Small- Medium Size Organization
If you are the only person responsible for recognition in your organization and you have no access to other team members to help you, you are going to have to take on this project the one-bite-at-a-time way.
Let’s say you’ve identified five focus areas around recognition needing improvement. For each focus area, you will have written up a projected goal that you want to reach. You likely created some markers or implementation outputs so you will know when you’ve successfully achieved the goal for each focus area.
Now, how on earth are you going to do it all?
You can’t. However, what you can do is prioritize which focus area to work in first and start there.
In pulling up one organization’s recognition plan, I see they had four focus areas, which comprised:
1. Defining Recognition.
2. Recognition Education & Training.
3. Peer-to-Peer Ownership of Recognition.
4. Develop a Recognition Toolkit.
You decide that working on Defining Recognition is the first thing to tackle from your point of view as the one-person project owner. It is a narrow, focused, singular outcome that you should be able to handle. Getting the participation from a few other leaders along the way before getting your CEO’s endorsement might be a way to get some participation.
After that, it’s a just matter of rank ordering the remaining focus areas by order of importance and urgency and deciding what’s next. There is no absolute right or wrong. You might choose to design and create a Recognition Toolkit as a resource to help Peer-to-Peer Ownership, and you do all this through Recognition Education and Training.
You may or may not get all of this done on your own during a one-year time period. However, you have a projected order in which to pursue things in. And you will be further along on improving recognition than if you didn’t have a plan.
Manager of Recognition and Rewards in A Larger Organization
It’s a completely unique situation when you work for a large, enterprise organization.
This is when, as the manager of recognition programs, you probably have a small team to work with. Larger organizations also give you access to other departmental team members to draw upon, such as from communications, marketing, learning and development, and organizational development.
This is when implementing a recognition plan gets exciting for you and a lot easier to manage.
For example, with the focus areas outlined above, you might work with a communications specialist in drafting a Recognition Definition. Then you can solicit input on the draft definition from your eight-member recognition steering committee. Afterward, you can send to your executive sponsor for their approval, and then it is done.
However, what makes the work go quicker in a larger organization is the fact that each of the other focus areas can have their own team working away on things.
Learning and Development can head things and you can solicit volunteers to work on a Recognition Education and Training plan to address Peer-to-Peer Ownership of Recognition. They can proceed with developing the learning curriculum once you approve the plan. As resources permit, L&D may deliver the training across the organization, or they may train fellow members of this team to present to different departments.
Then you are just left with developing a Recognition Toolkit with learning guides, job aids, and resources to help make giving recognition easier for leaders and staff alike. They may assign a separate team to do this and can gather information and ideas from leaders and staff on what is most needed. They can work with communications staff and L&D people to make sure there is an integration of concepts and ideas.
A Process for Making Things Happen
I always recommend following a 90-day Action Cycle with two-week sprint runs of activity, no matter whether a small or large organization.
This could just be for your own benefit or for each of the Action Teams. Break down the goals for each focus area into 90-day activities. A focus team, for example, would show what they could achieve towards their area’s goal within the next 90-days.
They look at the first 30-days and figure out what the first tasks are to take on. They might have two broad tasks that they identify. That’s when the team can create a two-week sprint to achieve one of those tasks and then another two-week sprint for the next task.
When employees volunteer to be on these teams, they have their regular jobs to do as well. By breaking things down into these time chunks, it makes working on these teams appear more manageable, and even enjoyable.
The lead person for each focus team will then send reports to you as the recognition manager on their progress. These updates can be a simple email every 30-days. Then, at the 90-day milestone, your team leads should send you a one-page report. Create a report template for your team leads to make things easier for them.
Your report template for your 90-Day Recognition Action Plan could highlight boxes showing the following details:
Your Overall One-Year Short-Term Objective
Here you would write the overall one-year goal for the complete Recognition Plan. This helps everyone to remember how their focus area contributes to improving recognition practices and recognition programs over the one-year time period.
Write out the one area of focus for recognition that the team is working on.
The team leader would spell out the team’s 90-day recognition goal for their focus point.
Project Leader(s) and Team Members
Obviously, list the team leaders’ names and all the team members.
Specific Actions To Be Taken
As a team, identify the specific actions the team has brainstormed to address their team focus area goal. You can show who they have assigned the various actions to and what the due dates are for their completion.
Sprints 1 & 2.
Remember, this is the idea of generating 2-week sprints to tackle two tasks towards your 30-day goals, the first third of your 90-Day Recognition Action Plan.
Naturally, if this was just yourself working on your prioritized list of focus areas one at a time, you could use the same report format to submit to your leader.
The key to your success is doing everything you can to move your Recognition Action Plan forward.
Recognition Reflection: How do you ensure you are progressing with your recognition plans?
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