How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 1

Having a business strategy is absolute for driving a business with its concrete plans, which assists with making the right decision.

Likewise, having a written recognition strategy elevates the importance of recognition by outlining three powerful drivers for any organization. 

1.    A recognition strategy allows organizational leaders to spell out its purpose and philosophy for recognition and how they intend to use recognition the right way.

2.    A recognition strategy aligns with the overall organizational strategy and shows how the recognition practices and programs integrate to reinforce and drive results.

3.    A recognition strategy is also supportive of your people strategies, as it is driven by the organizational culture and recognizes people who live the organizational values.

The only question that remains is whether you have a written recognition strategy.

In this four-part series, I will outline how you can write the best recognition strategy essential to catapulting employee recognition practices and programs into the future.

Why It’s Important To Have A Recognition Strategy 

First, there is a scary truth that I must share with you about recognition strategies in organizations. Only around half of all organizations surveyed have a recognition strategy.

Look at the following trend based on WorldatWork’s biennial survey about employee recognition in their member organizations.

Year ReportedPercentage of Organizations with a Written Recognition StrategyPercentage of Organizations with Recognition Strategy Aligned with Organizational Strategy
201155 percent97 percent
201351 percent97 percent
201553 percent97 percent
201755 percent95 percent
201949 percent97 percent

What is sad to see is the dip below 50 percent in the last survey conducted. Yet, nearly 100 percent of organizations who have created a written recognition strategy are aligned with their overall organizational strategy. 

Recognition planned and implemented the right way, is guaranteed to make a strong impact on an organization, its people, and driving business results.

Impact of Having a Recognition Strategy 

With both the 2017 and 2018 AON Trends in Global Employee Engagement surveys, the Rewards and Recognition survey dimension was the strongest driver of employee engagement. 

However, what was interesting in 2018, was the fact that “recognition for contributions (beyond pay and benefits)” was the key factor in putting Rewards & Recognition to the top, with “fair pay” providing only a support. 

By having a written recognition strategy, you will have already analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of both your recognition practices and your recognition programs. You will know where you benchmark against industry best practices. This gap analysis allows you to know where you need to prioritize your next steps.

Within your recognition strategy, you will have articulated what your organizations says is the purpose of recognition in driving strategic people and business initiatives. This allows you to have a roadmap and compass to always keep your recognition programs on the right track. 

You’ll also have a visionary goal of what you want recognition to do and become in your organization. It is something that inspires people, and they can hang their hat on and be a part of. 

You will identify specifically where you want to focus your efforts for improving recognition practices and programs. No one organization has recognition down perfect. In fact, recognition should always be developing to accommodate the needs of leaders, managers, employees, and the overall organizational direction. So set concrete and achievable goals for recognition. 

From here you can determine outcome measures to ensure you are reaching your targets and progressing toward reaching your goals. 

How will you improve your organizational formal awards programs? What changes do you need with your current informal recognition programs? And what can you do to improve your everyday recognition practices and use of online recognition?

These, and many other questions and needs can all be addressed in a written recognition strategy.

When recognition is more a way of life than a program, and where people know how to give Real Recognition™ the right way, wherever they work, then you know that they have implemented a recognition strategy, consistently worked on it, and reviewed it regularly.

An Industry Best Practice 

You’ll also find that having a Recognition Strategy is the first recognition best practice in the seven best practice standards of Recognition Professionals International (RPI). 

RPI states that a Recognition Strategy is a written statement with a plan that has specific program objectives addressing how recognition aligns with an organization’s culture (i.e., vision, mission and values) and its business strategy.  

Typically, a recognition strategy has identified objectives around a 3-dimensional recognition approach that RPI subscribes to. This approach focuses on formal, informal, and day-to-day recognition practices and programs. A written recognition strategy outlines all procedures and processes for an organization’s programs, how these programs are administered and implemented, and all the methods used for the various recognition practices and programs that an organization has in place.  

No one shows organizations who do not have a written recognition strategy where to begin in creating one. 

That’s why in the coming weeks I am going to spell out exactly what you will need to write the best recognition strategy for your organization. 

Next week, I will show you how to Create a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement and why this is so important. 

Next week: Part 2—Create a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement

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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