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Recognition in The Real World
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20 Creative Ways to Recognize Your Employees ​

Posted By Ava Ewald, Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

RPI has created its 7 Best Practice Standards® based on a plethora of academic research and expert knowledge. These standards were designed to help you create and thoughtfully execute your recognition program. Standard 1 is recognition strategy. Here are ways that you can take your strategy to the next level and recognize your employees in thoughtful, creative ways.

This information is based on a few sources: an article for Inc. written by Sam Caucci, the CEO of 1Huddle (a game-based employee training platform), Snack Nation’s blog, and an article by Forbes.


1)      Front parking spot for a week

Who likes a long walk from their car to the office? Almost no one. Mark a parking spot for a particularly engaged employee. Picking an employee every week to park in the special parking spot could be a great way to help you make a habit of recognition.

2)      Decoration Budget

Give an employee a budget to redecorate their desk or update some office décor. This one is particularly great for employees who love design and organization.

3)      Choice of team lunch

Team lunches are already a great way to recognize employees but giving an employee the choice of what to bring in adds another level to the recognition.

4)      Adventure experiences

Studies show that giving employees the opportunity to experience something cool like ziplining, riding a rollercoaster or playing laser tag is much more memorable than cash.

5)      Movie morning in the office

Reward a team with a movie in the morning. As a bonus, thank an employee by letting them choose the movie to watch with the team.

6)      Prize Wheel

Gather a collection of prizes ranging in value. For example, a $5 gift card, company merchandise or portable chargers up through iPads, nice headphones or a weekend getaway. Create a prize wheel to spin for these prizes at a company celebration.

7)      Call their family

During the week, the majority of an employee’s waking hours are spent away from their family. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call an employee’s significant other, sibling, parent, or grown child and tell them how much your employee means to you. Even better — invite them to a celebration where the employee is being recognized!

8)      Puppy parties

Everyone loves puppies. There are many services (like this one in the Twin Cities) that hire out their puppies for a few hours so your employees can relax and have fun.

9)      Bring your dog to work day

Another dog idea — allow an employee to bring their dog into the office. This not only benefits the employee, but also their peers as they get to enjoy having the dog around! It might be best not to grant this to multiple employees on the same day.

10)   Meal prep membership

Services like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron deliver kits with all the ingredients to prepare great meals at home. Save your employees time and money by gifting them a meal kit membership.

11)   Mail a birthday gift to their house

Keep a list of your employees’ birthdays and mail a small gift to their home. Receiving it in the mail at their home adds a personal touch that they will not forget.

12)   A shiny trophy

Give your employee or team an actual trophy to recognize their work. Everyone wants to feel like a champion. This is a cost-effective and fun way to show your employees how much you appreciate them. You can find trophies on Amazon for less than $20.

13)   A life-sized cutout

Show off a model employee by ordering a life-sized cardboard cutout of them and placing it in the lobby. This one would bring a lot of laughs.

14)   Fix their watch

Recognize your employees by offering to have them bring their watches to you to get them fixed. It seems that most people have a broken watch lying around and fixing them will also help your employees always be on time!

15)   Create a sticker of them

Print out stickers of a great employee and hand them out at a meeting.

16)   Guest speaker

Bring in an inspiring guest speaker to motivate your employees and give them a well-deserved break!

17)   Themed lunches

Take the classic team lunch up a notch by throwing a themed lunch! Plan an Italian lunch with pasta, music and flags. Maybe you want to get even more creative and base a lunch off a movie — Breakfast at Tiffany’s breakfast or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs meatball lunch.

18)   Concert tickets

Pay attention to your employees’ favorite bands and artists and do not hesitate to reward them with some tickets to their favorite show.

19)   Hair cuts

Hire a barber for the office for a day and give your employees complimentary haircuts.

20)   Food truck lunch

Organize to have a food truck in the parking lot for the afternoon.


To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here



Tags:  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices  strategy 

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How to Make a Habit of Recognition

Posted By Ava Ewald, Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

RPI is at the forefront of recognition practices. RPI’s 7 Best Practices were developed based on a wealth of knowledge, research and experiences to educate about how to create a successful recognition program. Standard 1 is recognition strategy and Standard 2 is management responsibility. Both standards are crucial in developing a program to help your employees become more engaged. Read below to find out how you can make a habit of recognition.


According to Psychology Today, habit formation “is the process by which new behaviors become automatic.” This can be good or bad. Things like smoking, drinking or eating too much junk food in the middle of the night can be habits you want to break, but good habits are what you want to build.


Making a habit of recognizing your employees will build a positive culture and foster engagement. Forbes and Non-Desk Matters offer some tips on how you can achieve this with your team.


1)      Acknowledge good things when you see them

Make a habit of vocalizing your appreciation for nearly everything. If you like what you see, make sure that whoever is involved is aware. This not only motivates employees and makes them feel appreciated, but also reinforces good behaviors and company values.

·         Encourage others to do this as well. Peer-to-peer recognition helps bond your team and foster a positive work culture.

2)      Set daily goals

Setting goals is key to any outcome you want to achieve, but make sure you can handle them every day. This will look different for every workplace. For example, if you are a particularly busy manager, you could make it a goal to simply tell three employees a day why you appreciate them. If you have employees who often work at home, make it a goal to send out one card a week to an employee’s home.

·         Set aside time every day to focus on recognition. Even if it is 5 minutes of walking around the office and saying good morning to your employees.

3)      Take one employee out to coffee every week

This is a casual, relaxing way to recognize an employee. Run out for half an hour for a fun mid-day break. You will get to know that employee better and give them a chance to talk to you in a more casual setting.

4)      Make it clear that you are open to feedback

It can be intimidating for employees to tell a manager what they think. Make it clear you are open to your employees’ thoughts and feedback. Ask them what they think or how they would change the way things operate.

·         Find creative ways to listen to your employees. Have “office hours” where your door is open to anyone who wants to chat.

5)      Get organized

Keep a list of who you have recognized recently and/or a calendar of employees’ birthdays, anniversaries, etc., so that you stay on top of your recognition strategy.


Remember, like anything, the more you practice, the better you get!



To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!



Tags:  engagement  habit  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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How to Write a Recognition Questionnaire and Recognize Employees the Way They Want

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2020

RPI developed their 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® based on expert knowledge, academic literature and a wealth of experience in growing and developing successful recognition programs. Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and Standard 2 is management responsibility. These two standards are especially important to consider when developing your strategy for recognition. Below is how you can craft a recognition questionnaire to ensure that you are recognizing employees the way they prefer.


Scott Russell, Director of Engagement Strategies at C.A. Short Company and Executive Vice President of RPI discussed the importance of tailoring your recognition strategy to each employee in the Essential Recognition Leaders for webinar. He suggested that one great way to do this is through a recognition questionnaire.


What is an employee recognition questionnaire?

Texas A&M University published their recognition questionnaire and stated that their purpose for the form is to “assist supervisors and managers with their employee recognition efforts.” Essentially, the goal of the form is to gather your employees’ preferences on how they like to be recognized.


Why are they helpful?

Having your employees fill out a form with foods/drinks/activities they like and how they like to be recognized means that you gather that information quickly, as figuring out these preferences through conversation would take a significant amount of time. You can then keep this information on file and refer back to it whenever you need. These forms may also be a form of recognition on their own- allowing your employees to feel cared for and heard.


What to include:

1)      Important dates/anniversaries. Make sure that there are sections of the questionnaire for their work anniversary, marriage anniversary, birthday or any other important dates they want you to know about. Celebrate these days with them.

2)      What they enjoy being recognized for. Maybe one employee has a hard time participating in team projects and would like to be recognized for working with others. Every employee is proud of different aspects of their work. Make sure you celebrate with them when they accomplish something that challenges them.

3)      How they like to be recognized. Some employees love being recognized in front of the whole team, while other more introverted employees may not enjoy this as much. For rewards, some may value opportunities such as face time with a manager or paid time off. Make sure that you take the time to recognize each employee how they like being recognized to show that you care that much more.

4)      Favorites. This is the fun part. Make sure to collect employees’ favorite snack, candy, restaurant, flower, store, dessert, sports team, etc. Having this information on file for each employee will make recognizing them much more fun and personal.

5)      Allergies/restrictions. Bringing in a team lunch from a local barbecue place is not fun for the employee who does not eat meat. If you have the information available, you can make sure that a group reward is equally fun for everyone.

6)      Additional comments. Of course, leaving an empty space for additional comments allows employees to voice thoughts and ideas.

7)      Recognition log. Put in a log on the back of the document or keep it separately so you can keep track of who has been recognized and when.


Using your employees’ answers:

Once you have collected the questionnaires, take the time to look through them on your own or with your recognition team. Consider planning out when you will recognize certain employees and any supplies you will need for that event/employee. Come up with a short-list of restaurants that suit everyone that can be catered.


To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!

To gain access to Essential Recognition for Leaders with Scott Russell and Theresa Harkins, click here.



Tags:  employee recognition  engagement  RPI 7 Best Practices  survey 

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A Simple Breakdown of Recognition

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020

RPI’s mission is to educate about recognition. Its 7 Best Practice Standards® lay out the framework to successfully implement recognition practices in your organization. Standard 1 of the 7 Best Practice Standards is Recognition Strategy. In order to form your strategy, read below for a simple breakdown of what recognition is.


According to Human Resources Director magazine, “Strategic employee recognition is when appreciation is shown for an action that has helped improve the employee or customer experience in a way that supports the organization’s values, purpose or objectives.” To better understand recognition, we will break it down into what it is and what it is not.


What it is:

1)      Consistent

Forbes explains that a well-build recognition program should make engaging in recognition simple, so it does not take much effort to keep it going when things get busy. Consistency is key to building a great recognition program as it becomes engrained into the company culture. It also tells your employees that they should expect recognition when they are on the right track.

2)      Individualized

Harvard Business Review suggests that recognition should be tailored to the person you are recognizing. Some people like being recognized in from if their peers, while some prefer a quiet “thank you” at their desk. It may also help to know your employees’ preferences on things like restaurants and activities. Consider sending out an appreciation form like this one from Texas A&M University to your employees to gather this information and have it on file.

3)      Reflective of Organizational Values

HBR says that recognition is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the values of your organization. Identify what behaviors represent those values and make a point of consistently recognizing them. Praising these behaviors often communicates company values to employees better than newsletters and speeches.


What it is not:

1)      Vague

According to Forbes, it is important to be specific when recognizing someone. While employee of the month awards are great, they fail to address what the employee specifically did right. When you begin to recognize specific behaviors, you will see them repeat.

2)      Passive

HBR gives the example of a manager who gives out a $25 restaurant gift card every quarter. While consistent, the manager is failing to be active in recognition. Take some time to recognize each person or team differently based on what they like and what they have done to warrant praise. It should always feel genuine.

3)      Difficult

If you do not have much time to spare, recognition can be as simple as “Hey Jenn, thanks so much for going the extra mile for our client this morning.” It is all about these genuine interactions between you and your employees.


To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!


Tags:  engagement  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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How to Write a Great Employee Engagement Survey

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices, developing the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® based a wealth of knowledge collected from academics, industry leaders and conferences. These standards are designed to help grow your organization’s recognition program.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and the second is management responsibility. Both are essential in growing engagement in your organization. Harvard Business Review suggests that surveys are one of the greatest ways to make your employees feel heard.

Built In, an online technology news platform recently published a comprehensive guide to creating an effective employee engagement survey. Here are some of the best takeaways:


1.      Identify a goal for your survey

Consider what you would like to see change as a result of your survey. Do you want to see more enthusiastic interactions with clients? Would you like to see more teamwork between employees? Make sure there is a clear direction to your survey.

·         Tailor your questions to fit your goal. Where you see areas that need growth, make sure they are addressed on the survey to get your employees’ take on those areas.

·         Keep track of these goals. Growth can not be achieved without measurement to inform change.

2.      Avoid yes/no questions

Simple yes/no questions do not fully explore a person’s opinion or feelings on the question at hand. It does not give room for explanation. For example, “are you happy at work?” could warrant a vast range of responses and opening up the question will give you more thoughtful responses and better insight.

·         Remember who, what, when, where, why and how. These question starters will help you get the responses you want.

·         Putting open-ended questions on your surveys gives your employees the space to articulate their opinions and feelings in a detailed and thoughtful way.

3.      Utilize Scaled Questions

Contrasting open-ended questions, scaled questions can be a great way to get quick results or mix up questions types within a larger survey.

·         These questions are often a 5- or 10-point scale, giving a range of 1- “very unsatisfied” to 10- “very satisfied,” for example.

·         Built In suggests that in general, answers on a 10-point scale ranging 8-10 are positive and 1-4 means improvement is needed.

4.      Analyze your results

A survey does not mean anything if you do not utilize the information you gathered to inform change. Once your survey is completed, take the time to sit down and carefully review the results.

·         Compare your results to industry standards. Decision Wise compiled the results of many engagement surveys so you can see how your results stack up against others. This article also has ideas for survey questions.

·         Create a plan to implement the ideas you received in the survey. When your employees see real change from their feedback, they will be encouraged when completing additional surveys in the future.


To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!


Tags:  employee engagement  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices  survey 

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Practical Ways to Implement Engagement Practices Today

Posted By Ava Ewald, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2020

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices, developing the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® based a wealth of knowledge collected from academics, industry leaders and conferences. These standards will help in growing your organization’s recognition program.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and the second is management responsibility. Both are key in growing your recognition program and driving engagement. Below are some simple ways you can grow engagement today.

1.      Emphasize your company’s purpose

Why does your company exist? This is a great question to revisit to reinforce your company’s mission. It also defines purpose, which according to Forbes helps employees perform better because they are confident in what the mission is and how they contribute to it.

·         Harvard Business Review suggests envisioning an inspired workplace. Think about how to connect your employees to the overall mission and identify concrete actions you can take to get them there. Finding a positive example of an inspired employee can demonstrate what you are looking for.

·         Make sure your employees know and understand why your company exists and continue to reinforce the message. This can be done in a weekly newsletter, repeated frequently in meetings or posted in highly trafficked areas of the office.

·         Lean into your inspired staff. Have them help you spread your message and give you feedback on what more you could do.

2.      Set Goals for your teams

A study done by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that both individual and organizational goals are strongly tied to an organization’s success. Setting goals with your teams reinforces your mission and drives engagement.

·         A Gallup study found that only 13% of employees believe that their employers set clear goals, which often leads to low engagement. However, Gallup also found that 72% of employees that had goals communicated to them are engaged.

·         On the Clear Review Blog, Stuart Hearn wrote that collaborative goals are crucial when fostering engagement. Setting individual goals shows that one employee contributes to the goals and purpose of the company.

·         Hearn also suggests revisiting goals. Check in with your employees and make sure they feel comfortable with their work as they move toward the goal. Communication is key.

3.      Create an engagement survey

One of the best ways to foster engagement is simply to ask! Create an engagement survey in order to analyze and measure engagement in your office.

·         Survey Monkey posted on their websitebusinesses not only should measure employee engagement—they can’t afford not to.” Engagement translates to more effort, happiness, and profit. Measuring engagement via a survey allows you to track your progress.

·         Bamboo HR recommends against using yes/no questions in your surveys. Give your employees the space to express how they feel about the company and how it works.

·         There are plenty of templates online, so you do not even need to take the time to write your own survey. For example, check out the survey by Bamboo HR here.

4.      Come up with a routine for consistent recognition

We know recognition is a key factor in employee engagement and building it into a regular routine will help you create an even more positive, engaged company culture.

·         Andre Janus, CEO of Cristaux International suggests that employers are missing key opportunities to recognize their employees if they do not do it on a daily basis. Find little things to recognize your employees for each day.

·         Janus recommends adding recognition to your daily to-do list as it should be just as important as any other business task. This could be as simple as a tweet or Facebook post about a top performer or a drop-in chat at an employee’s desk.

·         Set recognition goals for yourself. For example, one could decide to recognize three employees a day. As we know, setting goals are key to producing results. Make recognition one of your goals and watch the engagement that follows!



To learn more about RPI’s 7 Best Practices click here.

Check out our new resource hub here!



Tags:  employee engagement  engagement  practices  recognition  RPI 7 Best Practices  strategy 

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5 Things Engaged Employees Need

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski CRP, RPI, Monday, February 3, 2020

5 Things Engaged Employees Need

RPI is at the forefront of employee engagement practices through recognition strategy based on the 7 RPI Best Practice Standards® The RPI Best Practice Standards® are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. They are designed to be useful for the creation and evaluation of recognition programs in the public and private sectors, large and small organizations, and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

Standard 1 is Recognition Strategy and Standard 2: Management Responsibility. Both are crucial when trying to increase engagement. Below are ways you can recognize your employees by ensuring they have what they need to be engaged.

1.      Coaching

Ken Royal, a contributor for Gallup said, “coaches individualize, and bosses generalize.” Coaching, rather than managing, promotes growth and positivity in employees.

·       According to Gallup, 70% of a team’s level of engagement is a result of the manager.

·       When a manager acts as a coach, they ask questions such as “do you know what you are expected to do with this project?” or “how can I help you succeed?” rather than “why isn’t this done yet?”

·       A good football coach knows each players’ strengths and weaknesses on the field and will position them to utilize their strengths while also nurturing their weaknesses. This is a great practice to use in the workplace. Put your employees on projects you know they will be good at but help them grow in areas they may be lacking.

·       Putting a focus on coaching rather than managing helps your team develop and grow while also feeling respected and valued.

2.      Culture

Having a well-developed company culture is key to developing and sustaining employee engagement.

·       Michael O’Malley, author of Organizations For People explains that the most important attribute of company culture is that it creates institutionalized standards for respect. He explains that, when there is a set culture of respect, employees are less likely to show up late to a meeting and they are more willing to help each other.

·       O’Malley also says that a company can continue this respect by being transparent with their employees. This brings employees into the loop and allows them to feel part of the larger company culture.

·       Team building events have always been a great way to develop company culture, but they are especially important now that many companies have more flexibility work options. Scheduling company outings, or even having regular team meetings can bring employees back together to sustain the culture you have built.

3.      Flexibility

Gallup’s engagement research found that employees were more likely to be productive and engaged when they were allowed flexible work environments.

·       A study from the American Sociological Association found that employees who are allowed job flexibility (such as working at home) had greater job satisfaction, less burnout, and less stress compared to those from the same company who were not allowed flexibility.

·       Humanity, a workplace scheduling software explained in a blog post that employees feel more support from their bosses when they are trusted with flexible options. It gives them time to help with family or simply work in a more comfortable environment.

·       A survey by Deloitte found that 11% of millennials look for flexibility as their top priority in a job. Flexibility is becoming what people expect.

4.      Career Development

Engaged employees want to know that they are growing as a professional. Managers can make their employees feel valued and more engaged by helping them develop professionally.

·       According to Fast Company, professionals are being told they should switch jobs every three years to maximize development. Now more than ever, employees are looking for growth. Asking questions such as “where would you like to be at this time next year?” can show you care about their careers.

·       Bamboo HR suggests having a set succession plan to show your employees that there are opportunities to advance in your company. Do you promote employees or choose outside hires? What is the process if an employee wants to switch departments? These are all great questions to think through to be prepared to help your employees grow.

5.      Purpose

Engaged employees want to know that their work has a purpose, otherwise they will feel like they are simply completing tasks for a paycheck.

·       Forbes suggests that this can be done by asking “why does this company exist?” Having a mission not only helps your employees feel like they are contributing to the greater good, but it can also help you better determine if prospective candidates would fit with that mission.

·       One great example of an employee who found his mission was a janitor at the NASA Space Center. President Kennedy stopped his tour of the facility when he noticed the janitor carrying a broom. When Kennedy asked what he was doing, the man responded: “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

·       When employees understand their company’s purpose, they have greater job satisfaction and are more engaged. This not only benefits your employees’ wellbeing but your company’s work and culture as well. 

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®

Tags:  employee engagement  recognition  standard 1  standard 2 

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2020 Trends in Recognition

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 30, 2020

Recognition Professionals International strives to stay on top of the latest trends in employee recognition and engagement. Some of our leaders and other experts shared their thoughts on what actions will lead to success in 2020. Leadership attention on six trends will help keep your organization’s recognition strategy on target in the coming year.

The Wholistic Recognition Program

“Companies are taking a hard look at what they are recognizing — and more and more, they are taking a more wholistic approach to their programs,” says R. Scott Russell, CRP, CEP, Director – Engagement Strategies at C.A. Short Company. “An organization that once only recognized performance is now recognizing wellness, performance and safety — tying all three areas together into a well-planned and strategic initiative. In some instances, organizations are even recognizing employees for community involvement and volunteerism. Companies are learning how to utilize their platforms and vendors to create an atmosphere of appreciation and overlapping areas of engagement.

A Focus on Wholistic Wellness

It is crucial to focus on employee wellness when creating an engaged workplace, but it is so much more than just physical health. Employees are more engaged when their emotional and mental needs are met, and they can see their work as beneficial to their health. R. Scott Russell says, “While wellness and recognition have been partnered trends for some time, we are now seeing this as a bigger factor in the marketplace.”

A 2018 study by Gallup found that 54% of disengaged employees believe that their work has a negative impact on their health. However, 62% of engaged employees believe that their work has a positive impact on their health. As you can see, wellness and engagement go hand-in-hand, and wellness has the potential to change employees’ attitudes toward their work.

According to Forbes contributor and Total Wellness founder Alan Kohll, wholistic wellness can be achieved by fostering a positive community in the workplace. This might include creating health-oriented habits together or participating in challenges. Caring for employees’ wellness makes them feel important to the team and creates more positivity.

A Virgin Pulse survey found that 85% of companies believe their wellness programs fostered engagement. When employees are healthier and happier, they are more motivated and more willing to see work as beneficial to their own lives.

Quality Performance Feedback

The effectiveness of annual performance reviews has often been debated, making employers wonder if they are worth the effort. However, when properly conducted, performance meetings can motivate your employees and help you improve, too.

James R. Bailey, professor of leadership at the George Washington School of Business, encourages leaders to give feedback the way that they would want to receive it. This can be done by using specific examples and ending on a positive note. Theresa Harkins-Schulz, SPHR, CCP, CRP, senior VP of Customer Experience at Inspirus, says, “Don’t just share feedback, ask how you can help. Seek their feedback and thank them for sharing.”

According to Erika Rasure, assistant professor of Business and Financial Services at Maryville University, annual reviews should not be the only time your employees receive feedback. Informal check-ins set a consistent tone and set expectations, allowing employees to feel more comfortable and confident in the work they are doing.

According to Business News Daily writer Kiely Kuligowski, feedback sessions also open up space for your employees to give you feedback and help you see what is and is not working in the workplace. This shows that the employee’s opinion is valued and important to your mission as a company.

Social Media Recognition and Integration

Millennials now make up the largest share of the workforce, and Gen-Z is already starting to arrive in offices all over the world. Many Gen-Z employees do not even remember a world without social media. For them, it is a natural way to communicate, and embracing it will help you motivate your new generation of employees.

Stephen Baer, Forbes contributor and head of Creative Strategy and Innovation at the Game Industry, explains that social media fosters collaboration. For example, the office of Volkswagen Ireland has about 195 employees that began using Workplace, a social media platform created by Facebook. After using the platform, the company reported greater efficiency and fewer emails.

John O’Brien, vice president of Employee Performance at BI Worldwide, explains that these generations value recognition through social media. In an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, social media is a great way to show appreciation to your employees.

Experience-Focused Rewards

Contrary to popular belief, monetary rewards are not as satisfying as other employee rewards. In RPI’s 2019 virtual conference, Dr. Brad Shuck explained the difference between the should-self versus the want-self. If you give an employee a cash bonus, their should-self will likely want to use that bonus for something practical such as gas or groceries instead of something they want. Dr. Shuck encourages employers to think outside the box and give employees something that will bring more joy.

John O’Brien of BI Worldwide explains that giving employees experiences like cooking classes or movie passes is far more effective than cash bonuses — you are giving them a memory to treasure. R. Scott Russell adds, “It’s not only the Millennial generation that values experiences over product; others have come on board to support this emerging trend in recognition. Experiential award options are now the norm in any great recognition program.”

Dina Gerdeman, writer for Forbes India, says employees want to feel appreciated by their managers. Allowing them the flexibility to work at home, giving them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or just a genuine thank-you are all ways to make your employee feel appreciated and motivated.

It Starts at the Top

Theresa Harkins-Schulz emphasizes the importance of top leaders in enriching the employee experience. “Candidates and employees want to understand a company’s purpose and how they will make an impact on the world with their product and service. Today’s employees look for authentic leaders who listen and seek ways to share wisdom and connect employees with opportunities to learn and grow.”

Access to Dr. Brad Shuck’s session from the 2019 RPI Virtual Conference is available for purchase in the RPI Learning Center.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  performance  social recognition  trends in recognition  wellness 

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3 Takeaways: What Can Higher Education Teach Your Company about Recognition?

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski CRP, RPI, Friday, January 24, 2020

3 Takeaways: What Can Higher Education Teach Your Company about Recognition?

From the RPI January 2020 Webinar presented by Brenda Naegel, Yale University; Iryna Leonova, University of Calgary; and Cori Champagne, MIT. 

1. Be Thoughtful in Setting Up Your Recognition Program

  • Proper set-up sets the stage for a great recognition program. First, you should know what you want from your program. Are there specific goals you would like to meet? Would you like to see staff more energized? Be sure to begin your program with a goal in mind.
  • Utilize your “recognition champions.” Pick a member of your staff who you believe is already great at motivating or recognizing others. Allow them to help you in creating your recognition program.
  • Get organized. Create a schedule for when you will roll out your program and when you will hold informational meetings for your participants.

2. Measure Your Program’s Success and Evaluate the Results

  • It is hard to have a successful recognition program without being able to measure your progress. 
  • Keep track of your website’s traffic, how many users you have and more. 
  • Evaluate your progress weekly, or even daily, in order to see potential areas of growth.

3. Communication Is Key

  • Analyze what your participants’ and audiences’ needs are. Are they always on the go? You may need to focus on optimizing your webpage for mobile phones. 
  • Frequently check in on your website. Make sure that there is not a registration form open for an event that already happened. Update the website with winners of an award soon after the event. Details and recency are key to a great website.

Practitioner members and Business Partners get complimentary access to this webinar on-demand in the Learning Center along with 50+ other webinars and assets to drive your recognition strategy.
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Tags:  education  employee recognition  recognition programs  recognition trends  RPI 7 best practices 

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Future Trends in Recognition: How Research is Pulling Us Forward

Posted By Kathie Pugaczewski, Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Recogniton Plan Training

Dr. Brad Shuck, University of Louisville was a featured speaker on RPI’s first ever Virtual Conference in October. Below are some key highlights and summary of his session. You can get the full on-demand session at the RPI Learning Center.

When we think about recognition, we think about engagement, value propositions and how all that wraps up into an employee experience.  Years ago we didn't have the research that helped us understand that employee experience. But today we do have evidence-based research that can help us drive that practice.

What we found that we were really missing was a framework to understand how engagement really happens. We knew that engagement existed and it is connected to recognition. We knew that if we could develop cultures of engagement, that if we could dive into that, we could drive these outcomes that were really important. And that when people felt recognized for their work when they said things like, “I'm doing meaningful work here”, “I feel like my coworkers have my back, “when I feel like my work is connected to something that's bigger than me.”  

When people had these things, they reported higher levels of engagement overall. So now there's this real kind of deep understanding about engagement. Let me just give you my definition of when I say employee engagement or job engagement or work engagement – “the maintenance, the intensity and the direction of effort and energy that we give to something.”  I'm maintaining a presence and a place in this space. I'm giving it direction. That engagement without, for just engagement sake is in a vacuum. But real engagement has maintenance, it has direction, and then it has this balance of intensity. This feeling of I'm going towards something and seeing this is, this is what distinguishes engagement from almost every other job attitude variable out there from things like job satisfaction or organization commitment that when we really dig into the idea of engagement as being dynamic and having a balance of intensity, that I'm moving towards something, it transforms into something that is uniquely special.. The other thing that I love about engagement when we frame it from this perspective is that not only is it life giving and so many ways it's people who tell us that they work in places where they believe that their work matters, that they, they have joy, that they feel cared for.  

Recogniton Plan Training

Where engagement is high, they tell us that their lives are transformed and so engagement is not transactional. Engagement is transformational. It's you give to me and I give to you and this dynamic proportion, but engagement is this transformational variable that takes everything to the next level. What's really, really clear about this in the research for us is that spaces have recognition. Experiences of recognition are directly connected.

For the full presentation of this compelling research, go to the RPI Learning Center. All five on-demand virtual conference sessions with handouts are now available for purchase on the RPI Learning Center. Each hours is $25 for premium and business partner members and $35 for others.

Tags:  employee engagement  employee experience  recognition strategies  trends in recognition  value proposition 

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