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Recognition in The Real World
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Successful Recognition with RPI’s Best Practice Standards

Posted By David Layman, Monday, October 10, 2016

Using RPI’s 7 Best Practices is a roadmap for great recognition programs.
RPI’s Best Practice Standards® really are what set the organization apart and enable it to help members achieve success in implementing great recognition programs and develop a recognition culture within their companies.

The Best Practices are based on years of academic research and professional experiences in developing successful recognition programs. They are designed to help create new recognition programs, as well as evaluate existing programs in public and private sectors, large and small organizations and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards at a glance.
Standard 1: Recognition Strategy
Standard 2: Management Responsibility
Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement
Standard 4: Communication Plan
Standard 5: Recognition Training
Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations
Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility

One Company’s success with RPI and the 7 Best Practice Standards.
For Tina Weede, president of USMotivation, RPI’s Best Practice Standards, was the reason the company chose to join and participate with RPI – closely followed by RPI’s education and certification programs. USMotivation is a recognition, incentive and meetings/events company based in Atlanta. Tina has also served as president of RPI and as a member of the RPI board of directors.

“When we first became engaged with RPI, I was very intrigued with their mission, and when I really started looking at their certification program – there were other certification programs out there, but I really liked the structure of this program,” Weede said.

“You can use the seven tenets (Best Practices) not only for recognition but also for incentives. They really go hand in hand, even though there’s a different need for incentives and a different need for recognition,” she said.

The company received RPI’s Overall Best Practices Award in 2013 based on its ability to successfully incorporate all seven best practices.

“We were very proud of the accomplishment because we knew it was a big one within our industry – one of the biggest ones, and we’re very proud of that,” she said. “We also learned a lot after the submission. Our business has changed a lot over the last three years – our culture has continued to grow. I think we’re in a better place and I think our rewards programs are growing.”

Recognition certification helps companies to better implement Best Practices.
In addition to RPI’s Best Practices, Weede was also impressed by the organization’s education and certification programs, as well as the opportunities RPI provides to network and interact with other recognition professionals.

Being able to use the Best Practice Standards interchangeably led to USMotivation having 30 percent of its employees complete RPI’s Certified Recognition Professionals (CRP) training.

“From an education standpoint I have not found another association in this sector that provides as rich of a certification program and education component as RPI,” she said. “That’s why I chose it originally to do the certification for our associates.
“Making that commitment also allowed us to better follow the tenets not only how to create great recognition and incentive programs for our clients, but also how to do that internally,” Weede said.  “I think it’s what makes our recognition and incentive programs at USM even stronger.”

She also believes that with the CRP course soon to be available online, that will be a game changer with how many people within RPI member organizations can become certified and learn more about recognition and “what is a true recognition strategy can look like, how you implement it and what the best practices are.

“Having the online courses is going to change the environment with how people are certified and provide greater opportunities to have more people certified,” she said.

Creating the Foundation for Recognition Culture.
While implementing any of the Best Practices is an excellent start, putting all seven together is vitally important in a recognition program reaching its full potential.

“You have to have the foundation. If you follow the best practices you’re going to build that solid foundation where you really can create an amazing culture based on recognition, based on your core values,” Weede said. “You may be able to have one or two and have some success but if you don’t have the overarching strategy and don’t have management buy-in, I don’t think you get all you can from your program.

“You really can’t just follow one of them.  For example, if you want to just have great parties and great celebrations – well that’s good, but they’re probably without meaning or purpose.”
Weede said among the most difficult standards to put in place are measurement and training, followed closely by communication.

“If we were to see people consistently who fall down in recognition or incentive strategy – it’s always tied back to that,” she said. “Training and measurement are usually the two that are most difficult. Like with anything it takes attention and it takes care to make sure that the program grows and it matures, it’s meaningful and it provides purpose.
Taking an overall approach and focusing on all seven Best Practices is the best way to a successful recognition program.

“The best practices provide you with the roadmap to have the best rewards and recognition – and the best culture within your company,” Weede said.

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