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Dr. Paul White: Understanding Negativity’s Roots Helps Keep It Positive

Posted By Jess Myers, Ewald Consulting, Thursday, July 12, 2018

In even the best workplace, and even with the best-executed employee recognition program, it seems that there’s always a naysayer. Negativity is a fact of life, Understanding the roots of negativity in the workplace, how to deal with it and how to counteract it, is important to success in the world of recognition.

Dr. Paul White

Dr. Paul White, a sought-after speaker and leadership trainer, how negativity can affect a workplace. In a recent conversation from his office in the heart of Kansas, he gave some insight on from where it originates, and how it can affect recognition: 

“First we look at what causes negative reactions. These are typically a result of having unmet expectations. You have an idea of what something should be and if it’s not that, you can get frustrated, irritated, hurt, discouraged, angry and all those kinds of things.”

He stresses the important of helping employees have appropriate expectations, because not everyone does:

“Part of that is education about what is reality-based according to your industry, in terms of compensation and bonuses, or your role. That can depend on your geographic location. For example, Wichita is less of a high-dollar kind of place than San Francisco or New York City, so a similar role in the same industry is going to have dollar flows, in and out, that are going to be less.

“Part of it is also an education piece about how your recognition program works, the frequency of how often awards are given, how the decisions are made, and some history and context of how it has worked in the past.”

And when changes are made, be prepared for negativity, even if the changes will be a good thing in the long run:

“Change creates potential challenges. Change takes energy to respond to. So even if it’s a good change, you will have some resistance because people have to get used to it and how it rolls.

“Some people really like predictability. For a lot of people, it gives them a sense of security. If we know we’re going to have pizza for lunch on Friday, I can think about what kind of pizza to have. If we change it and say we’re going to have either pizza or Chinese or Mexican for lunch, it’s a good change, but now you have to think about more than one thing. So sometimes simplicity is preferred because of the emotional energy it takes to process choices.”

Another challenge comes when a person’s expectations about their workplace or about employee recognition are not based in what is realistic:

“At some point you have to examine how reality based are your expectations. Do a little research, talk to people, get some feedback, not in the sense of just getting someone to agree with you, but really try to get some data about it.

“Another question to ask is there some problem solving you can do or some action you can take? There’s a saying that you can either complain about the darkness or you can light a candle. Historically the American way of dealing with a problem is not just to moan about it, but to figure it out.”

And employee recognition programs, which are intended to bring positivity to the workplace, can have the opposite effect if they’re done improperly:

“I find that recognition programs can actually contribute to negativity when they are either poorly conceived, poorly implemented or inconsistently implemented. Inconsistence is deadly because it messes with expectations. You expect something to happen regularly and it doesn’t so you get rewarded sometimes and not others.

“When recognition programs try to use recognition for performance activities – which are good and useful when done well – to try to make a person feel valued individually, it typically doesn’t work. Because it’s about their performance, not them as a person, so it feels very conditional. 

“The reactions to poorly designed and implemented recognition programs can be apathy, where people think ‘they have it but it doesn’t mean anything to me,’ or sarcasm, where people don’t believe it’s genuine or feel it’s political – IT this month and Accounting next month as far as who gets an award. When there’s a lack of trust it leads to sarcasm and cynicism.

His best advice for dealing with negativity is to offer the opposite:

“You should counteract negativity with positivity. That comes in the form of gratitude and thankfulness for what you do have.

“In Wichita today it’s going to be 102 today, so I am thankful for air conditioning. I can complain about the heat, or I can be thankful to have a job where I don’t work outside in these conditions. When people are communicating negatively, you can make positive comments.

“Positive comments in a negative conversation are kind of like throwing water on a fire. The two best ways to combat negativity in the workplace are, 1) don’t contribute to it, and 2) make a positive comment.”

For more information, you can visit www.drpaulwhite.com and learn more about his practice and workplace tips. For more information on developing a strong recognition strategy, check out the RPI Seven Best Practices.

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2019 Call for Board Nominations

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Monday, July 9, 2018

Nominations Open for the 2019 RPI Board of Directors

Due September 6th!

Are you inspired to contribute your efforts, creative ideas and passion to the smooth running and further development of Recognition Professionals International (RPI)? If so, you are encouraged to let your name stand for election to the RPI Board of Directors.

RPI is looking for board candidates with terms beginning January 1, 2019. The election will be held virtually in October and through an online ballot.

Being a board member is an interesting and rewarding job. At monthly meetings throughout the year, including two in-person meetings, you will share ideas and partner with thought leaders in our industry. Your efforts can help make a difference in the well-being of our association and our members.

Qualifications

  • Board terms are a three-year commitment (2019-2021).
  • Candidates should be action-oriented, enthusiastic, honest and hardworking.
  • Active professional practitioner members and eligible business partner members will be considered for candidacy.
  • Board members typically serve as committee chairpersons and/or serve on committees performing various tasks and responsibilities.
  • Ability to travel to two in-person Board meetings.

The board conducts the majority of business via email, telephone and monthly calls. There is no monetary compensation for board membership. However, in recognition of their efforts, board members are offered discounts on the annual conference fee. Board members also have the personal satisfaction that comes from being a part of the action for this wonderful association.

For specific information on the commitment of becoming an RPI board member, click here. Additional information can be found in the RPI by-laws on the RPI website at www.recognition.org.

If the nominating committee calls on you, please consider running for the board. We need people who love the industry and want to learn as much as possible. As well as people who are willing, ready, and able to share their time and talents for the benefit of the industry. If you are not contacted, but have an interest in being considered for the board, please contact rpi@recognition.org. All potential candidates must complete, whether self-nominated or nominated by fellow RPI members must complete, the RPI Nomination Form and sign the Board Commitment Form and return it to the RPI office.

Download Nomination Form

Please email the completed nomination form (Word Format) document to RPI Executive Director, Kathie Pugaczewski, rpi@recognition.org.

Nomination forms are due to the RPI office by September 6, 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Cronin at Kevin.Cronin@octanner.com. Thank you for your continued support of RPI.

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RPI Honors BAE Systems & University of Calgary with 2018 Best Practice Awards

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Friday, May 11, 2018

 

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.

Tags:  Awards  Best Practice Standards  Best Practices  employee engagement 

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RPI 7 Best Practices® 2016 Overall Winner MIT Shares Their Management Strategy

Posted By Sue Yoemans, Monday, April 23, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

RPI Planning Phases/Recognition Strategy Model


Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Senior Leadership and Recognition

MIT has 32 individuals in senior leadership roles across the Institute.  They may be leading departments with under 100 staff members, or heading entire schools with staff in the thousands. Regardless of the size of the department, lab, or center, MIT’s senior leaders are aware that recognition is, in part, modeled in their participation in the program. Their involvement is evidenced in the full cycle of the program; from initiating policies to presentation of recipient awards.

To ensure that the recognition program would be adopted throughout all areas of MIT, the originating Committee worked collaboratively to build a program - and consensus. With buy-in from senior leaders, the Recognition Committee established a network of 24 Key Contacts across MIT, and a recognition budget for each of the 24 areas based on head-count in various areas.  These structures and designated administrators have meant that senior leaders are involved where they are most needed: communicating and encouraging the use of the program by staff, as seen in their involvement in the communications effort. MIT’s President Reif annually sends an email to every staff member and student at MIT, promoting the nomination period for the MIT Excellence Awards + Collier Medal, and later – encouraging attendance at the ceremony, which he opens and presents several of the awards.

Senior leaders and managers also serve as role models by encouraging attendance and presenting at recognition events, and utilizing the program themselves, by submitting nominations for formal or informal recognition.  Managers and senior leaders frequently utilize the option to give staff Spot Appreciation awards, and in many areas their submissions make up half or close to half of all Spot awards submitted.  Managers and senior leaders are frequent nominators for Infinite Mile and Excellence awards as well.

Managers and senior leaders are always involved in the presentation of DLC Infinite Mile awards, and for the Excellence Awards and Collier Medal.

 

Tags:  employee recognition strategy  Management responsibility  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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RPI Launches New Mobile App Plus Access to Research

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, RPI, Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Join the Conversation & Sharing in Our New Member-Only Online Community!

We are pleased to announce that we have launched the Recognition Professionals International Social Link online member community.  

The new community includes an enhanced member profile as well as a mobile app so you can easily connect with your fellow RPI colleagues.

You can expect a brand new way to communicate with colleagues, share information across the RPI network and manage your membership preferences. Finding member information and updates will be easier than ever. Your login information will remain the same, but you will now also have the option to login through your LinkedIn or Facebook credentials.

Here are some key ways you will be connected to the RPI community:

  • With Alerts and Push Notifications, the app provides instant updates about what's happening in the RPI community.
  • Members can access their community feed, connections, member directory and engage year-round.
  • Make membership renewal and event registration easy with a few simple clicks.
  • New clean design of your member profile for easy access to your data and online resources.

Take a tour of the new member features by watching this short webinar.

Start Connecting!

Apple Store Google Play

Need help installing the app to your mobile device? Watch our 2-minute how-to webinar.

Once signed in, you will be directed to your feed, encompassing all activity from other connected members.

Don't miss out on this exciting new update! We look forward to your engagement.

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Bestselling leadership expert and author Chester Elton keynotes at RPI Conference in Nashville

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Real solutions on managing culture change, driving innovation, and leading a multi-generational workforce.

#1 New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers All In and The Carrot Principle.

For decades, when your parents wanted you to eat your vegetables, we’ve heard the idea that carrots are good for your vision. Chester Elton is a man renowned for his business visions, which may be one of the reasons he and a business partner have dubbed themselves the Carrot Guys.

Elton, who will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2018 RPI Annual Conference, began his journey as an author and orator two decades ago. Along with writing partner Adrian Gostick, Elton was doing consulting work on employee engagement and recognition. He first hit on the idea of taking what they were learning through their work and making a book out of it. Both men sensed a need for a “bible of recognition and engagement.”

Their biggest challenge was a lack of knowledge about how to get a book published. On their website, Elton and Gostick recall cold-calling a local publishing whose specialty was cookbooks and do-it-yourself manuals.

With a publishing contract that the men signed on a picnic table outside an old barn that had been converted into an office, they wrote and wrote and re-wrote until “Managing With Carrots” was complete. The book came out in 1999 and was a success, selling 40,000 copies in its first year. Since then the duo has written four more books, with increasing levels of success, and have become sought-after experts on workplace dynamics and employee engagement. They’ve moved from a niche publisher to giant Simon & Schuster, and note with some pride that their written works have been translated into 20 languages and are popular on every continent except Antarctica.

In 2010 Elton and Gostick also founded their own consulting and training company, The Culture Works, which focuses on employee engagement, culture and leadership strategies with some of the world’s most renowned corporate names.

Elton, along with renowned author David Sturt, will be the featured speakers at the 2018 RPI Conference, which kicks off April 29 in Nashville, Tenn. Registration for the three-day conference, which includes CRP courses and Recognition Fundamentals is now available here.

Tags:  2018 RPI Conference  employee recognition  Nashville conference 

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Microsoft® a worldwide leader in employee recognition efforts

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, RPI, Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Debra Garcia

The chances are, if you're reading this on a computer, Microsoft® has played some role in that effort.The Seattle-based computer software giant is renowned not just for its role in worldwide information technology, but for making Bill Gates one of the best-known humans on the planet. As RPI member Microsoft® Program Manager Debra Garcia shares, Microsoft also makes an impressive investment in ensuring their best employees know they are valued.

"The overall mission of the Microsoft® Rewards and Recognition program is to honor employees through world-class award programs. The purpose is to motivate exceptional performance and collaboration to support and advance the business. The objective is to ensure consistency and equity across segment/geography, enable regional variation and complement existing compensation strategies." says Debra.

Microsoft® Champion Award Program

The Microsoft® Champion Award program recognizes individuals and teams who are competing with a growth mindset, winning transformational deals as One Microsoft®, and focusing on customer and partner obsession. The program supports over 53,000 worldwide sales, marketing and services employees.

Informal recognition includes:

  • E-medallions available for LinkedIn and Outlook signature profiles.
  • Thrive Kudos – internal Microsoft® tool that can be used by any employee to send congratulatory emails to individual winners and copying their manager. The feedback is embedded into the employee's personal site which can be viewed by peers, management, etc.
  • Yammer Praise – an employee can send an internal praise to an award winner. A copy of the email is sent to the recipient's manager and added to their Yammer feed and any other Yammer feeds that are tagged.
  • Highlight and recognize winners at local team meetings.
  • PowerPoint presentations of winners with their achievements, organization, job title, etc. – local award managers can export a custom PPT from the winner showcase and display on office video screens, at team meetings, and more.

Formal recognition includes:

  • A winner announcement email from leadership
  • An executive letter portfolio
  • An invitation to the annual winner celebration reception
  • Award site and winner showcase

Nomination Tool

  • To track nominations and manage the selection process, Microsoft® created a nomination tool using an Azure database backend with winner data from 2004 to current.
  • The tool consists of a nomination form and user dashboards to manage the different user workflows - nominator, reviewer, award manager and program manager. 
  • Anyone at Microsoft® can nominate individuals or teams. 
  • Upon submission, the tool sends an email from the Champion award email alias to the nominee's direct manager with a request to approve or decline the nomination. If declined, the manager must provide a brief explanation. If approved, the nomination continues to move up the management chain until it reaches the final decision maker. At that time, a winner selection committee votes on the nominations and the award manager marks the final winners in the tool.
  • There is rich reporting via Word and Excel.

As one would expect from one of the world's foremost names in communication technology, Microsoft's recognition content is structured for clear and concise messaging, aligned with key company objectives and consistent across all communication platforms. To ensure messaging and branding are consistent, email templates are created for executive and quarterly announcements. The use of templates makes it easy and efficient for award managers to simply add in winners and personalize from the executives prior to sending.

For more information about Microsoft's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more please visit their website: www.microsoft.com.

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With Effort and Creativity, Every Day Can Be Employee Appreciation Day

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Thursday, February 15, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Untitled Document

The calendar tells us that Friday, March 2, is 2018’s version of international Employee Appreciation Day. And despite the recent backflips in the stock market, the current economic situation in most of the working world means that experienced, talented employees are more valuable than ever. That means that recognition efforts like those Employee Appreciation Day encourages need to be undertaken once a week, if not once a day, rather than once a year, in the best workplaces.

More and more companies large and small are focusing time and resources to develop an employee recognition strategy designed to ensure that staff feel valued.

Recognition experts stress that this annual event is not and was not ever meant as a one-time celebration, but as a way to acknowledge a year-round culture of appreciation within companies and organizations that makes every day an occasion to recognize good work and encourage employees. More and more member organizations look at Employee Appreciation Day as a chance to be creative and spotlight the many efforts to recognize good work.”

Recognition efforts range in scope from simple events like a root beer float bar at work all the way to elaborate incentives like travel and fiscal rewards. Successful companies like Disney, Southwest Airlines, Cleveland Clinic and others routinely partake in these efforts based on strategy, and the results are clear to see.

Ensuring employees feel valued has been shown to boost productivity and pay dividends for businesses and organizations. Detailed in a RPI webinar, among the many ideas that experts offer for employee recognition activities are:

Food – Everyone loves free food, be it a simple snack, a sweet treat, or a full meal, and there’s something special about an employee being served a meal by their supervisor that reinforces the notion of value and recognition. Everything from food truck appearances to ice cream socials are encouraged as a way to recognize employees through food.

Team activities – Getting out of the office is imperative to the mental health of employees; even if it’s just to the parking lot for a group stretch.  Team activities can be a valuable way to recognize employees and foster a team spirit among members of your organization. Make the office feel different for a day. Some workplaces practice theme days, where workers dress in the colors of their favorite sports team, or emulate their favorite superhero. Games like Jenga contests or a video game setup can bring a spirit of friendly competition to the workplace as well.

Wellness – Some workplaces provide healthy snacks or energy-boosting foods to give employees a needed jumpstart, especially in the afternoons. A popular wellness activity is to bring in massage professionals to provide back and neck rubs.

Other ideas:

  • Create a workplace cookbook, with each employee contributing their favorite recipe, and each of them getting a “book” featuring all of the foods. 
  • Remember off-site and “virtual” employees and find ways to include them, so they feel as recognized and valued as on-site employees.
  • Whatever you do, start small and build gradually, with more activities and edibles as the employee recognition culture grows within your organization.

For other webinars and a wealth of information on Recognition Day, please view RPI resources.

Tags:  employee appreciation 

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How to Create Your Recognition Strategy

Posted By RPI, Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Untitled Document
  1. Strategy first. A sustainable effective recognition program starts with strategy that includes management buy-in and a strong communication strategy.
  2. Think “objectives.” Your written recognition strategy should articulate the philosophy and objectives for all recognition practices, including day-to-day, informal, and formal recognition programs.
  3. Provide clarity. Your recognition strategy provides purpose and direction for how employee recognition encourages and rewards specific employee behaviors that advance the organization’s goals and objectives.
  4. Connect to culture. All recognition activities should be aligned with the mission and culture of the organization.
  5. Mix it up. A successful program includes intangible recognition (verbal and/or written praise), awards (cash or tangible items), and celebrations (planned or spontaneous events). Intangible recognition can be a certificate or other token of appreciation. Celebrations can be an informal team lunch or an organization-wide event.
  6. Reinforce. Reinforce. Reinforce. Successful recognition programs use a variety of motivational tools and communication methods to maximize opportunities to positively reinforce behavior that is consistent with the organization’s goals and values.
  7. Draw on the 7 Best Practice Standards. Base all of your recognition programs on the RPI 7 Best Practices® () and learn more about “real world” recognition strategies here.

RPI – We Make Thanks Matter!

Tags:  recognition strategy 

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Standard Success Stories: Kforce Recognition Strategy

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2018
Untitled Document

Note: RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards are the cornerstone of successful employee recognition and rewards programs. In 2018, we are taking a closer look at each of the seven standards and RPI members who have been recognized for their practice of those standards. In the first installment, we take a look at Recognition Strategy, and the award-winning way that Kforce practices this standard. The RPI Best Practice Awards are now open for nominations through February 1, 2018.

Kforce, a professional staffing firm based in Tampa, Florida, with more than 60 offices and 2,000 employees, was honored as Best in Class for Recognition Strategy in 2016 by RPI.

Recognition at Kforce is real. So real that they has an entire department dedicated to strategizing, implementing and evaluating recognition programs, contests, events and rewards. It’s all spelled out right in the Kforce Recognition and Engagement Mission Statement:

We want all Kforcers to feel recognized, inspired and valued. We will celebrate and share the Kforce culture of appreciation and performance (it’s what sets us apart).  By doing this, we create a strong, united and engaged Kforce Family.

Known as “Kforcers,” the company’s people have created a culture of recognition by constantly celebrating Great Results in a truly unique and informal fashion. Each office knows the Kforce art of celebration and recognition.

Day-to-day recognition is easy to see at Kforce. Their digital Snapshot feature illustrates this culture of recognition in real time. Associates simply submit a photo and caption that showcases the Kforce recognition culture and it will be posted front and center on their intranet. Hats Off is another informal example that happens all day, every day. This is a digital, peer-to-peer recognition program that’s also on their intranet and is accessible to everyone.  Kforcers are encouraged to make spontaneous recognition posts about their coworkers and partners, then the post is published on the intranet for all to see. Managers receive an email notifying them of their associates’ good deed.

Performance and milestone reports help fuel informal recognition and celebrations. Kforce has numerous ranking reports that are emailed on a monthly and quarterly basis to a select audience. These reports are highly anticipated and are used for interoffice contests and even firm-wide competitions and celebrations. Immediately after a report or ranking is emailed out, a barrage of emails is circulated recognizing those with top standings or improvements.

Formal programs keep Kforcers engaged and connected on a monthly and quarterly basis. The most well-known of these is the Performers’ Incentive Program which inspires competition and performance through new, exciting trip destinations each year. Formal qualifications and rankings are developed and communicated via email.  Ranking reports are monthly to show qualifiers their positions. Each year the destination changes to keep the program engaging and exciting. Mission: $2 Billion is the firm-wide campaign that engages associates in our business strategy, collective goals and advantages for the next few years. Kforce developed this theme and uses it for formal recognition programs such as the on-going Cup competition and Quarterly and Annual Awards.

Their formal milestone programs aim to further create a feeling of value and pride for those being recognized.  Kforce service awards recognize those celebrating a 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year anniversary with a firm-wide email and a special desk memento. Their career milestone program is called Moving UP! and recognizes associates who have achieved notable growth in their career. Whether an official promotion (reported by HR) or a sales milestone (reported by Finance), the employees are recognized a monthly firm-wide email.

Whether day-to-day, formal or informal Kforcers are engaged within a strong culture of recognition. It is an obvious differentiator for the firm and the main reason they are all a part of the Kforce Family.

For more information on Kforce, the Chairman’s Awards and their success with Recognition Strategy, please visit the company website at: www.kforce.com.

Tags:  7 Best Practice Standards  recognition 

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