How To Strengthen the 3 Factors for Giving Recognition

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

Many of you have heard of my three factors for giving recognition: Values, Skills, and Awareness.

If you put these three factors into a Venn diagram of three overlapping circles, you see some interesting insights that help you understand what’s going on in your organization. 

I will guide you through what each of these factors means and the different outcomes that happen when you only have certain combinations of each of these factors. Then I will share some ideas on how you can strengthen each of these factors to make giving recognition a natural reaction. 

Quick Factor Review 

What do I mean by Values, Skills, and Awareness with employee recognition?

Values speaks to the organizational values and culture that make up the beliefs that leaders and employees have about employee recognition. 

Skills is both the knowledge of recognition and effective recognition practices and behaviors that enable everyone to consistently give Real Recognition™ the right way wherever they work.

They say Awareness is two-thirds of the solution to any problem and addresses the awareness of the importance of recognition and the needs of employees. It is also the overall organizational expectation for giving recognition.

Limited Factor Strength 

The challenge for most organizations is having all three factors as strengths on an ongoing basis. They are always in flux and must be continually monitored and developed. 

It is customary to have one or two factors in good order, while perhaps just one as an outlier.

Let’s examine what happens when only two factors are aligned with one another and strong.

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

On the Venn diagram, for example, you can see the overlap with number 1 with Values + Skills. If Values and Skills are in good shape, then you would think that most people in an organization Could Give recognition if only there was sufficient Awareness of the importance and value for recognizing employees. 

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

See what happens when you overlap the circles producing the segment number 2 with Values + Awareness. The beliefs are present, and people know how important it is to give recognition. But what’s missing? Skills. So, they Would Give recognition if they only knew how. People do not know the behaviors and practices for giving meaningful recognition. 

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

Another potential overlap of factors is Skills + Awareness. This is interesting because people know how to give recognition because they learned these skills. They even know that employees value recognition and know it is the right thing to do. This would mean they Should Give recognition, right? But the only problem is the organization has either an explicit or hidden culture that implies the Values do not drive recognition actions. People don’t believe recognition is important.

(C) 2006 Rideau Recognition/2020 Engage2Excel Group

It is only when you have a healthy amount of all three, Values + Skills + Awareness, that organizations Do Give recognition as a way of life and not just a program. 

Strengthening the Three Factors 

When working with organizations, I often ask them to identify the strength level of each of these three factors in their organization. This assesses where they need to focus their efforts to improve recognition giving. 

Here are some ideas for how you can strengthen each of the three factors. I am sure you will have plenty of other suggestions as well.


  • The best way to strengthen the values in an organization is to be an example of living the stated organizational values. It means recognizing people when you see someone demonstrating a value in action. And it means holding people accountable when they don’t live by the values. 
  • You may also have to draft some statements of what the purpose and philosophy of recognition is in your organization. Round up leaders, managers, and recognition practitioners and program owners to craft statements of what people in the organization should believe about recognition. 
  • One idea to help strengthen each value is to have volunteer employee teams organized to represent and drive one of the organizational values. Each value team becomes that value’s booster team to encourage, recognize, and plan activities to promote the living of their value in a fun and positive way.


  • Start with educating people on why recognition is so important in valuing people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do. Show people both the research and statistics of how recognition makes a difference and capture the stories of your employees sharing what recognition means to them. 
  • Then give people the how-to give recognition by providing bite-sized training with microlearning modules, videos with recognition examples, and whatever length of time you can give to face-to-face learning in meetings, lunch and learns, or in class training. If you have a physical library or resource center, make sure you have some of the latest books on recognition on the shelves.
  • Give people the tools they need to keep learning how to give effective and meaningful recognition. This can be a learning resource section on their intranet or recognition program portal. Make sure there are lots of posts and articles to address typical skill needs and frequently asked question. Provide access to wonderful books about recognition giving, recognition guides and checklists, and video tutorials on how to use the recognition and reward programs. 


  • Building awareness of the importance and value of recognition is difficult and requires a long-term process and a lot of communication. I would recommend working with your internal communications team, if you have one, and with or without them developing a recognition communication calendar. This is where you will create various content pieces to cascade and drip feed the material to people in all the print and visual channels available to you. 
  • Work with your senior leaders in being exemplary recognition givers and celebrating the amazing things that employees are doing throughout the organization. Have them become the voice of recognition at different leadership training programs and management meetings. They should set the expectation for everyone to become better and more frequent givers of recognition. 
  • Another way to build stronger awareness of recognition is by making it a part of your performance management and one-on-one discussions with people leaders. When you hold people accountable for giving recognition, you immediately increase the importance of employee recognition. 

Recognition Reflection: What do you do to strengthen these three recognition factors in your organization?

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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