How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 3

Develop Your Organization’s Recognition Plan of Action

You are getting really close to having not only a well-articulated recognition purpose and philosophy statement but also a solid recognition action plan to guide your organization on its recognition journey.

In the post How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 1, I explained the “Why” and need for a recognition strategy. 

Having a recognition action plan takes your recognition strategy beyond your organization’s purpose and beliefs for recognition. Now you have a complete strategy that will become a powerful tool for propelling recognition practices and programs and also driving your culture and helping to achieve your business strategy.

You’ll find more insights in How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 2 where I outline what you need with Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement.

Next comes your Recognition Plan. Your recognition plan is going to come from the gap analysis from your recognition assessment. A recognition assessment allows you to see on paper the strengths and weaknesses of your recognition practices, programs, policies, and procedures. 

You will discover the pockets of excellence and level of consistency with recognition across the organization, how well aligned recognition is with your culture and business strategy, the quality and effectiveness of recognition, and the level of impact recognition has on people and performance. 

Short-Term Objective

What will become very clear to the managers and leaders working on your recognition strategy is where you need to improve. You will facilitate with them a one-year, short-term, overall goal for what your organization wants to achieve with recognition—both your recognition practices and with your recognition programs.

You cannot do everything, so you need to prioritize the activities and tasks you need to do in any given year. 

Find Your Focus Points 

I suggest you look at the areas needing improvement and then ask yourself what are the key Focus Points that would help you achieve your one-year goal.

I have seen where people in recognition strategy groups say things like,

· Defining what recognition is for our organization.

· Education and training for giving recognition.

· Creating a communication plan for recognition.

· Generating peer-to-peer ownership of recognition.

· Developing some organizational recognition practices.

· Developing the right recognition programs that we need. 

My recommendation is to come up with four to six focus points that will help you narrow down where you should work on recognition. Turn the statements seen in the bullet points above into succinct category headings like, Define Recognition; Education and Training; Communication Plan; or Develop Recognition Practices.

If you have a large enough group of people working on your recognition strategy, you can then divide the group into smaller groups. Then assign each group to one of these Focus Points.

Writing Out Implementation Objectives 

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the organization in addressing their focus point in making recognition better, the groups set some Implementation Objectives for transforming recognition throughout the organization. 

As an example, let’s look at the focus point of Communication Plan identified earlier. Creating Implementation Objectives for this focus point could look like,  

· Determine the different target audience groups.

· Figure out the communication timelines and frequency of distribution.

· Which channel of communications works best for each employee group?

· Identify the key recognition messages we want to communicate.

· Figure out the ways we will get feedback from target groups.

· How often will we evaluate communication effectiveness?

· One key message should be our Recognition Strategy and Plan—why we created one, what it is, and when it will take effect.

· Educate and inform people on acceptable recognition practices and solicit feedback on other ideas.

· Find out how well our current recognition programs are being used and see if there are ways to improve them.

· Deliver messages of education and training on acceptable recognition methods.

· Encourage accountability and ownership for recognizing one another. 

Identify Your Outputs 

Accompanying the Implementation Objectives should be the Outputs that help measure the success in carrying out each Implementation Objective. These Outputs become the measure to see how well the Recognition Plan is being implemented each month, every quarter, and with every annual review submitted. 

Under the above Focus Point of a Communication Plan, the following might be potential Outputs or outcome measures towards improvement. 

· Messages communicated were available to everyone.

· Message sent out were easily understood by all employee groups.

· Employees considered messages about recognition to be meaningful.

· Increased number of employees feel encouraged to practice recognition giving more often.

· Use of online recognition programs has increased.

· Increased employee satisfaction with employee recognition practices and programs. 

With these Outputs you have a way to gauge the success and effectiveness of each of your Implementation Objectives. 

Combining the Recognition Strategy and Recognition Plan

The cool thing is laying out your Recognition Strategy and Recognition Plan in one document in a descending funnel of process steps. 

  1. On the very top you have your written Recognition Purpose and Philosophy statements.
  2. At the level below this you have boxes with the category headings for each Focus Point.
  3. Coming down one more step, you will have the Implementation Objectives underneath each of the Focus Point categories.
  4. One level below this is the Outputs for each Implementation Objective.
  5. All of this funnels down to the last box at the bottom, which is your one-year, Short-Term Objective. This might be something like “to develop strategies to make our recognition practices and programs more meaningful.”

There you have it. A complete Recognition Strategy and Recognition Plan ready to implement. 

And that’s why next week you’ll receive How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 4—How to Implement the Recognition Plan for Large or Small Organizations.

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