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Recognition in The Real World
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Recognize me! Why your organization needs a recognition program to stay ahead of the game.

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, RPI, Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Recognize me! Why your organization needs a recognition program to stay ahead of the game.

Recruitment and Retention. These two terms are at the top of the minds of most organizations these days. Workers of all skills levels and experience now have their pick of where they work, it is now up to prospective employers to set themselves apart from the competition and, not only recruit new employees but retain their current workforce. According to the research presented in the 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report from AON, each of the three elements composing their engagement index improved across the globe: “Say,” which measures employee advocacy, went from 68 percent of employees a year ago to 70 percent this year. “Stay,” which measures the likelihood that employees will remain at their current employer, rose one point to 61 percent of employees. “Strive,” which assesses willingness to give extra effort, improved by two points to 64 percent.” It is clear that employees want to feel recognized for their contributions to the organization and seek out and stay at those organizations who provide this recognition.

With “Rewards & Recognition” topping the list of preferred engagement opportunities again this year, of which “recognition for contributions (beyond pay and benefits)” being a key factor in this ranking it is clear that recognition programs can make or break an organization’s workforce. The question then becomes, with such a larger number of employees reporting recognition being a high motivator for their work, how can your organization tap into this motivation and build a recognition program that not only lasts but impacts your culture.

As per RPI’s Certified Recognition Professionals program, there are 8 key steps to designing a program that is responsive and true to your organization culture.
  1. Create a centrally-managed and global program
    Make sure the program is a single program, not many small unrelated pieces. Make giving recognition quick and easy for all employees. It needs to be consistently branded across all platforms.

  1. Ensure accessibility of the program
    Empower your employees by creating a program that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere.

  1. Recognize most employees every year
    The best practice is to reach at least 80% of your employees annually (Gallup asks if each employee has been recognized in the past 7 days). It can be as simple as a thank-you email or shout-out in a meeting.

  1. Give consistent and ongoing feedback
    Frequency of recognition helps keep employees satisfied in their jobs. Be cautious though, recognition should not be a quota, instead should be authentic and based on employee performance.

  1. Be specific in your recognition
    On the topic of authenticity, most generations in the workforce now can route out inauthentic statements in half a second. While generalized statement may be easy for leadership to “plug and play”, they can cause more harm than good. Be as specific to the employee’s contribution as possible.

  1. Program should be accessible from all platforms
    95% of Americans own a mobile device of some sort, 77% of them are smartphones and it is estimated that by 2019 the total number of mobile users worldwide will surpass the 5 billion mark. Any recognition program you develop should be mobile friendly and accessible from any platform.

  1. Be proportional in local vs national/international awards
    Whether you are a local organization or international, any monetary awards should have equal value, regardless of location. Awards should be location appropriate and have the same lasting emotional impact regardless if the recipient is in Brazil or France.

  1. Make it social
    All of the awards should be visible to other employees to encourage peer-to-peer recognition and increase the impact of the award.


Well organized and thought out recognition programs not only help drive engagement, but can help your organization be up to 40% more profitable.


“Why Recognition? Organizations that give regular ‘thanks to their employees far outperform those that do not” Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte

Expand your knowledge, excel in your job and maximize your recognition program with RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) program.

Tags:  employee engagement  recognition strategy 

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