BAE Systems and the University of Calgary took home the top honors at the recent Recognition Professionals International Annual Convention in Nashville. It was the first time RPI has had a tie for the top award, as both BAE Systems and the University of Calgary received the honor.
BAE Systems was recognized for embracing RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards. Like many organizations, BAE Systems applied for the award in the past and last year received three Excellence in Standards awards. BAE Systems has a company-wide program to recognize and reward employee accomplishments, which are strongly tied to their performance and living their cultural values.
The strength of the BAE Systems recognition program comes from the fact that it was designed by its employees and grows because they are vested and have ownership of the program and the tools. BAE Systems regularly and responsibly reviews each program for its responsiveness to employee needs. Their program utilization, which has risen by over 200% in the past four years, has become a key measurement with its executive leadership team and is a part of the organization’s strategic goals for continuous improvement.
The University of Calgary is a first-time award applicant. This organization formed a cross-disciplinary Recognition Steering Committee to guide the development, implementation, and ongoing review of employee recognition in 2013. They did so understanding the key role of recognition in employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. The Committee set out to create a recognition strategy that aligned with the university’s strategic plan and values – to provide best practice recognition programs, education and communication for all staff. To build the strategy, they used their findings from an Employee Recognition Preferences survey, the analysis of existing practices and programs as well as reviewing recognition programs at leading universities in Canada and consulting with a third party provider.
RPI judges were impressed with the strategic way the University of Calgary embraced this process. They took the time to create a network of the right organizational champions, they ensured they had great baseline data; their program supports the goals and values of the university, and they created some fun, engaging and well-used tools.
RPI’s Best Practices Judges for 2018 were:
- Roy Saunderson, Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition
- Shelley Judges, Senior Manager of Employee Experience for TD Business Banking and a 2010 Best Practice winner
- Dee Hansford, who has facilitated CRP and been instrumental with two organizations’ being awarded the overall Best Practices Award.
- Cori Champagne of MIT, the 2016 Best Overall recipient.