Why The Best Recognition Strategy Can Still Be a Surprise

Okay, so you’ve written your recognition strategy. You have a vision and purpose statement for recognition practices and programs. You even have a plan drawn up with focus areas and objectives to see things implemented. 

Do you just launch the thing and see your recognition strategy unfold? The details drawn up do not mean it will accomplish your strategy as is. 

Life often has surprises in store for us. Even a recognition strategy can have surprises, too. 

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Try Out The Bare Bone Basics of A Recognition Strategy

Whether you are a small or medium-sized business, you should definitely have a written recognition strategy. 

Even if you are a beginner at strategizing anything, I am going to make this post super short and sweet to show you how you could have a one-page recognition strategy plan.

Are you ready?  

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Why Don’t You Have A Recognition Strategy?

You know how surprised I am that the percentage of organizations with a written recognition strategy has actually dropped from 55 percent back in 2017 down to 49 percent in 2019.

I guess the question remains to be answered why this is. And while WorldatWork never asked respondents to answer why they had a recognition strategy or not, the issue needs to be answered. 

I won’t pretend to read people’s minds, but I can tell you from organizations I have subsequently worked with, why they didn’t have a recognition strategy before I worked with them. If you don’t have a recognition strategy, you just might relate with them. 

Check out some reasons below that organizations might give for why they don’t have a recognition strategy. 

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How To Use Technology to Enhance Recognition Giving

There is no doubt face-to-face recognition given in a meaningful and personalized way will always outshine the text-based recognition given through most online recognition programs. 

But can technology driven recognition programs actually enable daily recognition practices?

I will show you some ways how technology-based recognition programs can enhance regular recognition giving where you work. 

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Why Recognition Needs To Be More Strategic Where You Work

One trend I am seeing with different clients over the last two years is the development of written recognition strategies. 

Organizations are leveraging a tighter mandate on recognition, especially when coupled with rewards in their programs. 

I’ve seen programs where lower-level reward amounts, whether point-based or gift cards, are opened up in global recognition and reward programs for employees to reward their peers. This can create problems when the cost of living is low in some countries and employees use the rewards more as a make up for lack of salary increases, rather than rewarding above and beyond actions. And some staff get into a tit-for-tat of “I’ll reward you if you’ll reward me” behaviors when controls or approvals are not present. 

So, why should recognition be more strategic in your organization? 

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How to Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 4

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.

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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. 

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Top 10 Ways to Stay Focused on Recognition in 2021

Try out these focused actions as you lead others to give better and more frequent recognition. You will gain great enthusiasm and confidence for championing the cause of recognition in your organization. You’ll also help those you work with to better focus on giving recognition.

Choose one focus area that you can take on in the coming month.

  1. Focus on being mindful of recognition. Be mindful of recognition by paying attention in every moment to amazing things people do that merit recognition. A timely response, a helpful solution, a kind gesture, or making a difference.
  2. Focus on one recognition goal at a time. No one can do everything. Focus on achieving just one recognition goal. Whether programmatic or supportive, enlisting the help of others is easier when finding one thing to do better than anything else.
  3. Focus on calendaring recognition activities. Clear the calendar and slot in recognition activities you need to work on. Program analysis, communication planning, learning content, etc. – plug into your calendar to get done vs. a to-do list. 
  4. Focus on a specific recognition task. Try out using two-week sprints to make things happen. Break down quarterly goals into monthly activities and then two specific tasks to work on every two-weeks. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.
  5. Focus on leading indicators of recognition. We rely on lagging indicators like usage reports to make changes. But what proceeds every recognition activity. Now target these specific behaviors and increase personal connections for recognition.
  6. Focus on your recognition strategy. Your recognition strategy outlines your recognition purpose and beliefs. It’s also a plan for improving recognition practices and programs. Review your strategy monthly and report on progress quarterly.
  7. Focus on using recognition to support. Work with your senior leaders and review the business and people strategies to see how recognition can help. Revise and plan how to leverage recognition to drive various organizational initiatives. 
  8. Focus on practicing recognition daily. There is no better way to stay focused on recognition than by studying recognition principles and improving your recognition practices. Then look for ways to give better and more frequent recognition daily. 
  9. Focus on using your recognition programs. Go to your recognition programs first thing every day to see comments in the recognition news feed. Check out who has a birthday or a career milestone. Actively comment on posts and like what you see.
  10. Focus on encouraging one person at a time. Eat, breathe, and talk about recognition in your meetings. Teach one principle or practice that someone else shared with you or found through research with one other person each day. 

How To Write the Best Recognition Strategy – Part 2

Creating a Recognition Purpose and Philosophy Statement­—Part 2 of 4

I’ve outlined the reasons why you should have a written recognition strategy for your organization. But where do you begin with creating one?

Organizations need a North Star to guide their recognition efforts. Which makes the first step in crafting a recognition strategy as creating a recognition purpose statement and accompanying philosophy statement.

Having a recognition purpose and philosophy statement unifies organizational leaders and those responsible for employee recognition practices and programs. It gets everyone nodding their heads in agreement with what they have outlined. Everyone is on the same page as to why you have recognition and what you believe about it.

So, let’s figure out how to create one.

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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.

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