Implementation Is The Most Valuable Part of A Recognition Strategy

Consultants come, and consultants go. Some are better than others. 

I recall starting my first job at a newly opened hospital as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Towards the end of that year, the leadership team hired a consultant to help them set direction and create a strategy for this new facility.

The consultant roamed around and interviewed leaders and managers and a sampling of employees.

Leaders scheduled a full-day meeting to brainstorm solutions. They invited many to be involved. We generated oodles of flip charts in response to questions posed by the consultant. Everyone vetted this content, and we finally came up with a semblance of a plan.

But that’s where things sat.

The Magic Word

Almost a year later and nothing had changed. A few of us talked about this dilemma. They had taken no action following the consultation process. 

I went and talked with the CEO of the hospital to raise concern over what we observed. He asked me what I thought we should do. Not having prepared for that question, I asked if I could come back later with an answer.

Our CEO was an incisive man and liked direct answers. I returned a few days later with a one-word response to his question. 


 He nodded his head. Soon, people took action.

Creating A Recognition Plan

Since that time, I am passionate about helping my clients in developing an action plan they can immediately implement. 

With crafting a written recognition strategy, I help organizational leaders to wordsmith a recognition purpose and philosophy statement or two. They also come up with a one-year, short-term goal to act as their North star for the immediate near future. 

These leaders then choose where they think they need to focus the energies of the organization as they consider the results of the recognition assessment. The main purpose is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of employee recognition.

Teams of leaders and employees look at these focus points and use the recognition assessment results to propose goals to address them. They set goals with concrete metrics to measure progress on improvement. They aim these outcomes to develop better recognition practices and programs. And to reach their one-year goal.

And Then Comes… Implementation 

This is what they missed from that consultation experience when I first started work. 


After I have helped client leaders create a written recognition strategy and plan, I move right into showing them an implementation strategy that never fails.

1. Select Implementation Teams. Invite interested leaders and employees with strengths in the focus area you assign to them. So, if Recognition Training was a chosen focus point, you might have some expertise from learning and development or organizational development. You likely want some managers and frontline employees to give insights as potential learners and what they’ve experienced so far from other programs.

2. Assign a Team Leader. Each focus point team should have a team leader to be held accountable for the progress on implementing their goal. They will report to the recognition program owner or a recognition strategy committee. Besides rounding up their team to take steps on their goal, they will also report up to someone on their achievements to date, and the next steps to be taken.

3. Short Time Blocks. I recommend each team break down their focus area goal into 90-day segments. They choose what first steps they will tackle in the first 90-days. At the first and second 30-day mark, they will send a quick email update to whoever they report to. When the 90-day time frame comes around, the team leader will send a one-page report on their goals and the actions taken so far. They will also submit goals for what their team will work on over the next 90-day time period.

4. Two-Week Sprints. Each team leader can work with their team members on creating two-week sprints of action. Each team member can work independently or together on one concentrated task or actions over a two-week period. They do a different action for the following two-weeks that makes up a 30-day time block. Doing this keeps the motivation high and task completion more likely, especially when they are doing this work besides their regular job responsibilities.

5. One-Year Review. On the one-year anniversary of initiating the implementation plans for each team, you can meet with all team members to review the progress each team has made. The program owner may also want to meet with the teams individually or collectively on a quarterly and/or semi-annual basis. Each team can make presentations to show what they have completed. You can then lay out the overall recognition strategy and plan to show the big picture of the progress made. 

This is how you implement a recognition strategy and plan the best way in order to achieve success.

It starts with an implementation plan.

Recognition Reflection: How has the implementation of your recognition strategy and plan been going for you?

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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