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Recognition in The Real World
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Employee Recognition Around the World – Stamping Your Global Recognition Passport

Posted By David Layman, Friday, July 15, 2016

With technology advances in the past two decades the world has become more interconnected than ever before, with instant communication and seamless interaction breaking down barriers of thousands of miles (or kilometers for you metric system users).

As companies expand to other parts of the world, they are finding that employee recognition strategy is just as effective beyond the confines of their continent and despite cultural differences the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

According to WorldatWork’s Trends in Recognition 2013, just under half of surveyed organizations with employees outside of North America said their international employees participate in most or all of the same recognition programs as their North American counterparts.

While technology has brought enormous changes to the way companies do business across the world, what hasn’t changed – over time and across cultures – is an individual employee’s need to feel valued. The effectiveness of employee recognition in engaging employees is universal.

On paper, international employee engagement should be easy. However, culture and customs require careful planning and excellent communication in order to make recognition effective in other parts of the world.

Although the concepts, ideas and purpose behind recognition are generally the same, we can’t take a cookie cutter approach to international recognition programs. You can’t hammer a square peg into a round hole.

Listen. Learn. Educate. Be Flexible. The 4 Keys to Successful Recognition Around the World.

It is vital when exporting a recognition program that organizations take the time to listen, learn and communicate with employees, no matter where they sit, as well as being willing to change certain parts of the program based on where it’s being implemented.


Take the time to learn about employees’ needs and desires. An employee survey can offer important insights.


What are the customs, values, ideals and attitudes regarding how employees interact with their managers and their peers.


Not all cultures understand engagement and recognition in the same way. But everyone can agree on how engagement drives productivity, retention of high performing employees and recruitment of high quality candidates. Work with managers to give them an understanding of the principles behind employee recognition.

Be Flexible

Evaluate and be willing to make changes to your recognition program if pieces are not as effective as they could be.

Is your company opening a new office in Dubai, Mumbai or Shanghai? Looking for ways to engage international employees through a new recognition program, or to reinvigorate an exported program to fit better with an international office? RPI has resources to help you develop an effective recognition program to engage employees whether close or around the world.

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