How To Create a One-Page Recognition Strategy

A recognition strategy is a written document that outlines the purpose, direction, goals, and plans, for you and your organizational leaders to commit to doing, and make recognition giving a way of life and not just a program.

However, according to the latest WorldatWork 2019 Trends in Employee Recognition Survey, only 49 percent of the surveyed organizations have a written recognition strategy.

For that reason, I am helping you with how to create a written one-page recognition strategy to ensure you have something rather than nothing.

Traditional Approach to a Recognition Strategy

The way I usually go about facilitating a written recognition strategy is to do the following steps:

  1. Conduct a gap analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of the current recognition practices and programs within the organization.
  2. Provide a written report and executive summary of the gap analysis assessment findings, along with practical and strategic recommendations for improvement.
  3. Facilitate a full day leadership session to craft a recognition purpose and philosophy statement which outlines the organizational beliefs and desired direction for recognition.
  4. Drafting of a recognition plan outlining the focus areas needing help along with an overall short-term goal along with actionable improvement objectives.

Your One Page Recognition Strategy Approach

Unfortunately, there are few organizations that want to invest the time, money, and effort required to follow this traditional, on-site approach.

To help get you ready for a new year, I have put together a simple method for crafting a one-page recognition strategy. You won’t be copying any other company’s recognition strategy. Best practices are always old by the time you get them. No, your recognition strategy will be entirely unique and deliver recognition that is fresh and new.

When people read your recognition strategy, they will immediately identify it as being from your organization—no question about it.

As a first step, answer the following questions that will lead you to brainstorm the final content that you need. These are not the end-all-be-all by they will be a great start.

  • What does recognition mean to you?
  • Who are you going to recognize?
  • What are you going to recognize people for?
  • What is your overall one-year goal for your completed recognition strategy?
  • How will things be better with recognition one year from now?
  • What areas of recognition giving need to improve?
  • How are we doing with recognizing our employees?
  • How well do we use our available recognition programs?
  • What do we want our success measures of recognition to look like?
  • What expectations do the senior leaders have for employee recognition?
  • How will use of our recognition programs assist us in achieving our business plans?
  • How do you plan on achieving your recognition goals?

Why Have a Recognition Strategy?

You might wonder how having a written recognition strategy will make a difference for you and those in your organization.

First, it becomes a powerful tool to help your senior leaders know why they should invest in employee recognition programs and practices. Whether that is maintaining or purchasing recognition programs, considering training for your managers on how to give meaningful recognition, or maybe agreeing to increasing resources for you to have extra help.

Your recognition strategy document will answer the questions your leaders have and will increase the odds of them committing funding for what you need to do.

Second, as I have written before about strategies, you will put down on paper what you plan to do with recognition and what you commit to not doing with recognition. This allows you and others to prioritize the areas of recognition to focus on and improve.

Third, you will have a detailed but simple recognition plan for how you will improve recognition practices and programs. You will set actionable goals to help move recognition into the future. Your goals will have concrete measures to work towards and which you can use to hold others accountable for. 

Finally, according to the WorldatWork survey I referenced earlier, 97 percent or organizations with a written recognition strategy align with their business strategy. Recognition is a powerful tool to leverage strategic results.

Things to Keep In Mind

Since we are reducing a typical multi-page document to one page, there are some principles and thoughts you will have to keep in mind.

  1. Keep your document short and to the point. Feel free to use bullet points if that help.
  2. Answer the questions top of mind about recognition to you or reflect on what you know your senior leaders are questioning.
  3. Based on your knowledge and experience to date highlight the key concerns and issues by category with answers underneath.
  4. Think in terms of benefits of recognition practices and programs and the value of investing in this initiative.

One-Page Recognition Strategy Template

Take the following section headings, points, and questions, as a guide for you to complete in writing your recognition strategy.

Name and Logo

  • Make your recognition strategy look official by using your organization’s name and logo, tagline, and address and telephone number.

Recognition Vision and Purpose statement

  • Craft a vision and purpose statement for recognition practices and programs at your organization.
  • Articulate what it is you and others believe recognition is and what recognition will do for your organization.
  • Answer why everyone is expected to recognize one another at your organization.
  • Why do you give recognition and why is it important?

Recognition Practices and Programs

  • Provide a short description of the recognition practices that happen in your organization and how well recognized employees feel for their contributions.
  • Think about recognition practices that should happen and what organizational leaders commit to do.
  • List the various recognition programs that you have and give an overview report on how well they are being used.
  • How would you describe the effectiveness of your formal, informal, and everyday recognition programs right now?
  • What is the overall feeling about recognition by your employees and managers?

Description of Target Recognition Recipients

  • Identify the different types of employees (and others, like volunteers) and their job roles, their physical work location, and all factors affecting them receiving recognition.
  • What prevents people from recognizing others for their positive behaviors, personal effort made, and significant contributions made on the job?
  • How can we all improve the positive perception of recognition throughout the organization?

Description of Target Recognition Givers

  • Identify the profiles of the typical leaders, managers, and employees in the organization.
  • List the different constraints, barriers, and problems, that influence managers and employees alike, to not recognize one another.
  • What do leaders, managers, and employees, each need so they can become successful at giving more effective and meaningful recognition to one another? 

Actionable Goal and Objectives

  • Develop a simple, one-line sentence capturing your one-year goal that covers the overall direction you want to take all of your recognition practices and programs toward. Make sure it aspirational and achievable. 
  • Prioritize three to five areas to focus on where you can improve the quality and impact of recognition practices and use of recognition programs.
  • Set specific objectives for improving each focus area with a description of the outcomes to be achieved.
  • Create clear metrics for each objective so you can determine the success for each of prioritized focus area.
  • Identify the best leading indicator to adopt for improving recognition outcomes and employee perceptions of recognition. 

By doing a brainstorm dump of answering the above questions and compiling the rest of the information suggested, you will have ample content to craft your recognition strategy. 

Recognition Reflection: How does your written recognition strategy stack up against the points listed above?

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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