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.
Having facilitated many recognition strategies and plans for organizations around the world, I have gained a lot of insight into what makes them work well.
I will share with you four things that must be in place to be successful in creating a written recognition strategy and plan. While many other factors may be needed for you, when these foundational steps are in place, everything works out wonderfully. And when they are not, it is like pulling teeth to get a recognition strategy done right.
In my earlier life as a speech-language pathologist, I vividly recall an external consultant coming into the hospital I worked at analyzing our organizational challenges. We brainstormed and followed his facilitated methods to let some potential plans and goals unfold.
And so, our creative content on the flip chart sheets was all typed up and distributed to the attendees. That’s where they sat, so it seemed, for many months. I told our hospital’s CEO that there was a problem with this consultant’s work. They set nothing up for implementing the plans.
I recently finished helping a client’s organization team in drafting a recognition plan to address their gaps with recognition practices and recognition programs. I nicely printed everything up in a flow chart looking model.
I will not leave them alone with this document. I have prescribed a method for how to implement their recognition plan so they will achieve success.
Recently, I was conducting a webinar when the organization’s Chief Human Resources Officer asked me a candid question. They wanted to know what difference a recognition strategy having would have on their organization.
I answered this question live and off the top of my head from my experience to date. Now, I am going to spell out in greater detail the difference a recognition strategy will have for you and your organization.
It’s one thing to write up a recognition strategy, and it’s something else to make it work.
WorldatWork shows almost half of all their member organizations surveyed have a written recognition strategy. They even state that 94 percent of those organizations that have a strategy that is aligned with their business strategy.
What no one follows through on is answering whether anyone actually implemented any of these written recognition strategies or not.
You’ve had an elite group of managers and leaders available to you to facilitate and help craft a recognition strategy and plan.
You randomly assigned this diverse and representative group to table groups or virtual teams to work on the recognition plan. You designated these seasoned and well-informed people to specific focus areas to create goals and action plans. There may, or may not be, experts on a team that know the subject of their focus area.
The result of a recognition strategy facilitation is having well-articulated statements of purpose and philosophy around recognition. Collectively everyone agrees on the overall, big-picture goal for the next year to help steer recognition activities. Even the focus areas for improving recognition are consistent with the prior gap analysis conducted.
You assigned each team a focus area that is most likely not in their expertise or specialty. Their skill sets are probably outside the domain you charged them with working on. As managers and leaders, they generated superb ideas and insights on the topic.
If there is anywhere where a problem might occur, it is with the goals, action plans, and outcome measures.
How do you refine these amazing ideas without offending the originators? What steps do you take to refine what you facilitated from them in the strategy session? How can you stay true to the process and honor the first contributors?
Implementing the Recognition Plan for Successful Impact
Many consultants enter organizations prepared to tell the leaders where they are failing in the area of the consultant’s expertise.
The process I have taught you over our four-part treatise on How to Create a Recognition Strategy, headlined the need for you to identify your own recognition strengths and weaknesses before starting the strategy piece.
If you have followed along so far, you will know the importance of crafting a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy statements. Following your assessment of recognition practices and programs you have everything you need to design a complete Recognition Plan to elevate recognition practices and programs in your organization.
That is often where consultants exit the scene. You have a plan with goals set and tactical objectives to make things happen. But then they leave you. And often things sputter out or nothing happens at all.
If there is one thing, I think is essential with a recognition project like this, is to provide you with the tools to implement the plan. Let’s get it off the paper and into action. Focus on moving into the implementation phase.
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.
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.
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 find yourself stuck with finding the resources you need to help with your recognition plans.
Your organizational leaders want you to strategize how to make recognition a stronger tool to use within talent management and creating a positive employee experience. In the meantime, you must continue to manage the recognition programs, encourage managers to give recognition to employees they rarely see in person, and keep leaders informed of the ROI of employee recognition.
Why not team up with your organization or learning and development leaders and find out if your needs for recognition could become a goal for a team of emerging leaders?
This is exactly what happened to us when an organization approached a colleague and I about presenting our thoughts and strategy around employee recognition in the retail industry.
The following happened, and you can follow these steps as a playbook to implement where you work.