What’s The Role of a Recognition Steering Committee?

If you are a large enough organization to warrant having a Recognition Steering Committee, grab the chance to organize and manage one. 

Following are some practical ideas for you to apply and implement when developing a recognition steering committee.

What Is The Purpose Of A Recognition Steering Committee? 

As the name implies, a recognition steering committee steers the direction of a recognition strategy and plan in the right direction. Members of the committee are in organizational roles that allow them to provide direction and advice. And they can give the big picture of the vision of the organizational strategy and how the recognition strategy needs to be aligned.

The nice things is, members of the recognition steering committee can help you and your team with achieving the goals and make sure your plans have strategic direction. 

What Roles Does A Recognition Steering Committee Fulfill? 

There are several roles that recognition steering committee members fill for you.

1. Cheerleaders and Support: Whether you are running things single-handedlyor have a small team available, it is nice to have approvals and strategic direction given to you by leaders within the organization. When you have specific projects in place or implementing a new recognition program is happening, you need ideas and recommendations to help you feel on track.

2. Decision Makers: Senior leaders and managers on your committee will be seasoned professionals who know how to come to decisions on important matters. By right of their organizational position, they will know the current priorities of the organization. You’ll be relieved to have pending decisions resolved in your a regular steering committee meetings.

3. Problem Solvers: They can resolve issues you are having across siloed departments. Outside of meetings, they can facilitate the speeding up of decision making by certain leaders and individuals or stress the importance of certain actions being taken. Some tasks may stimulate certain members to take on a task or two in between meetings. However, mostly, you or your team will complete the actions.

4. Budget Approvers: There will always be the harsh bottom-line task of approving budgets for purchasing and implementing a new or updated recognition and reward programs. With having a team of avid enthusiasts for recognition, you will have far better supporters for program changes and investment. This gives you the personal commitment from senior leaders and managers who understand recognition. They can also give you the insights and realities of why budgets might not get approved and make recommendations of what to do next. Timing can be everything for getting budgets accepted.

5. Progress Reviewers: It is good to have regular opportunities to report back on the progress made towards goal completion of your recognition plan. They will help you by reviewing progress updates, understanding roadblocks and barriers encountered, and brainstorm suggestions for you.

6. Recognition Champions: With all the demands you experience in running successful recognition and reward programs, it is reassuring to have champions to encourage you. Your steering committee members know what it is like to run projects and manage programs. That knowledge and understanding will be a wealth of support for you and others. 

Who Should Be On A Recognition Steering Committee? 

Work with your executive sponsor for recognition in identifying the right people. You may invite other executives, leaders, or necessary stakeholders who already have experience in providing strategic guidance on other projects within the organization.

You need committed individuals who are prepared to advise and give direction for the cause of employee recognition for the entire organization. Make your meetings worthwhile to attend with advanced planning, committee member involvement, and setting a scheduled agenda.

As the manager or project owner for recognition practices and programs, you will always be the one to implement suggestions and recommendations from the steering committee. They steer and you direct and put things into action.

Remember that your recognition steering committee will have direct reporting to the executive leadership team (ELT). They will make recommendations and proposed decisions to the ELT for final decision making and approval. This should also influence who you need on your steering committee. 

I have typically seen between four and seven people on a steering committee besides yourself as program manager. They can invite more, depending on the representation that your executive champion advises you to do.


While overseeing the responsibilities of a recognition steering committee brings extra work with it, you also gain strong leadership support within an organization.

1. Consider making up an ideal steering committee with an explanation sheet for why you are choosing the people you want. Create a profile for each desired participant and the strengths they would bring to the steering committee.

2. Only start a recognition steering committee when you have the full support of your executive sponsor and they understand the need.

3. Make your recognition steering committee meetings the best ones to attend throughout your organization. This will reinforce the importance of employee recognition and encourage others to want to be involved when rotation or absences need replacements.

Recognition Reflection: What benefits have you found from having a recognition steering committee?

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.