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Recognition in The Real World
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Bringing it all Together – Celebrating Recognition Throughout the Year

Posted By David Layman, Thursday, December 15, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Don’t Put Off Recognition Until the End of the Year!

Chances are you’ve long ago planned your organization’s big holiday event or celebration for December.  But hopefully this year-end celebration is the culmination of many recognition opportunities and events over the course of the year.

That’s right, it’s not enough to have just one big blowout at the end of the year. Regular employee recognition, and recognition events planned throughout the year, is a vital part of creating and maintaining a recognition culture.

Service Awards Don’t Drive Performance

Many companies use their year-end event to recognize employees for years of service. In fact, a WorldatWork study showed that this type of recognition is the most used type of employee recognition. Another study from Bersin & Associates found that 87 percent of all recognition programs focused on tenure.

While still a great way to recognize employees, tenure-based recognition misses a lot of opportunities. With employees switching jobs at an ever-increasing rate (especially among millennials), tenures tend to be much shorter. In fact, a Gallup study showed that 21 percent of millennials say they have changed jobs within the past year. That’s three times the number of non-millennials. If you are waiting five years to recognize employees you may miss the opportunity to give recognition and you may end up losing high potential employees before they ever make it to the five-year mark.

“Tensure” is a long held tradition in the field of recognition, but more and more companies are seeing the value of achievement based recognition.

Employee Recognition Using the Three-Dimensional Approach

Asked about how leaders could best improve engagement, 58 percent of employees responded “give recognition.” (Psychometrics, A Study of Employee Engagement in the Canadian Workplace).
The key to making recognition work is making it frequent.

Through academic study and best practices from top organizations, RPI has found and recommended that the best system for giving recognition is a three-dimensional approach.  This includes Day-to-Day, Informal and Formal recognition.

Day-to-Day Recognition is fairly self explanatory. It is the epitome of frequent. It can be really simple, like a thank you note or verbal recognition at a team meeting. It could also include ways for employees to give peers or fellow team members praise. It can include simple rewards, or even small events, that recognize employees for a job well done.

Informal Recognition is similar, recognizing employees or teams for achieving certain milestones or completing projects. Celebrations may include low cost mementos or refreshments as a way to celebrate achievements or outstanding positive behavior.

Formal Recognition usually includes more defined measurements of achievement, usually lined to organizational goals. This often includes a nomination and selection process and a formal awards ceremony. This is generally done at an annual event, like an awards dinner or other type of formal celebration. 

It’s All Recognition and It’s All Celebration

While there are many ways to give recognition throughout the year, what it comes down to is that recognition is really celebrating an individual or team for success. Everybody wants to be appreciated. Whether it’s appropriate to recognize achievements with small gestures or elaborate events, it should be done frequently and sincerely. The result will be a more engaged, more productive organization.

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Recognition in Holiday Movies

Posted By David Layman, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Classic films celebrate holiday fun, but also point to reflection, assessment, change and transformation

The moment Clark plugs in the lights and everything comes to life.

It’s a classic Christmas film moment, and this time of year, it seems that few of us can get enough of those moments – like Ralphie’s quest for a BB gun in The Christmas Story.
It’s a fascinating thought that this is the time of year that we use film as a path to self-reflection. One of the obvious ones is It’s a Wonderful Life, where George Bailey finds out what life might have been like without him. He sees that despite some aspects of his life that he considers failures, he has actually accomplished more than he ever realized.

Another favorite is the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. This story is essentially about looking at our lives and recognizing the mistakes and missteps – the places where the main character, the miserable old Ebenezer Scrooge, could have made different decisions that might have changed his life.
Scrooge’s long suffering employee Bob Crachit has always been an intriguing character. He slaves away at meager wages and somehow maintains a sunny disposition.  He goes home to his family who get by on little but are somehow still able to enjoy holiday cheer. Crachit even goes so far as toast his horrible employer. When Scrooge is transformed overnight, it’s tempting to see this change in the way he finally throws his money around, but the real transformation is in the way he is finally able to change his views about the people around him – their value – and in the way he treats them.

Recognition is about Valuing People

Hopefully, none of us needs three ghosts to change the way we appreciate those around us. But the holiday season, and even just the completion of another year, is a great opportunity to think about what we could do better.

In recognition, we often talk about the transformation it can have on an organization’s culture. We focus on the employee and how we can change that employee’s engagement level, productivity or attitude toward their job and the company.

A survey by Socialcast found that 69 percent of employees would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated. Even old Scrooge, at his most miserly, would agree that this would be beneficial to his bottom line.

Don’t Ignore Assessment Findings

Reflecting on our efforts in recognition and employee engagement within our organizations is critical.  Assessment of recognition programs is an essential part of their success. What components were successful and where could we improve? Scrooge would have benefited from a simple SWOT analysis. He also could have done an employee survey, but what good would it have done if he had ignored Crachit’s concerns?

How often do we look at our Strengths, while neglecting to see the Weaknesses, Opportunities or Threats? How often do we ignore our own surveys or measurements?

An unvarnished look back at our program or how we interact with each other – how leadership or management interacts with employees – can show us the changes that need to be made, perhaps some drastic changes. But if we are unwilling to change based on past experiences, we may face negative consequences. Sometimes we are unwilling to see that changes are necessary until we envision those consequences. Scrooge was moved but remained unconvinced until he saw what his future held.
The experiences of quite a few highly successful companies, along with statistics and academic findings, have shown the value of employee recognition and how it contributes to higher engagement, productivity and retention. The consequence of not heeding our own assessments in recognizing employees could certainly have devastating consequences on your organization’s culture.

As we reflect on the past year, we should keep in mind that the success in the coming one is predicated on our willingness to celebrate our successes and take a hard look at our failures – as well as to recognize it is a wonderful life – and we hold the power to transform our own lives and the lives of those around us.

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3 common failings of formal awards programs

Posted By TemboSocial, Monday, December 12, 2016
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2016

The pain points tied to the annual awards program are legendary. The most common complaints we hear are that nomination volumes are low year after year and the end-to-end management of the awards process ranges from frustrating, all the way to torturous.   

Is this familiar to you as well, where everyone dreads the process except maybe the award winner - assuming the process results in the most deserving candidate being selected?

Here are 3 reasons that may explain why your formal awards program is failing:

  1. Low nomination volume - Employees know who the rock stars are in your company; they work with them every day. Nothing does long-term harm to your awards program like selecting a less than deserving winner in the eyes of your employees. If your program is not visible and easily accessible, then you are probably seeing low nomination volume, possibly selecting the wrong winner, and likely diminishing the value of the awards program for your company.

  2. Reviewing and shortlisting - After nominations are submitted, the reviewing and shortlisting phase begins. At this point, program success is dependent on the people or committees assigned to review and advance the best possible candidates. As the program owner, you struggle with timely feedback and a worrying lack of transparency over the candidate review process. The question remains; are the most deserving employees being presented to the Award Committee? 

  3. Workflow management and reporting - Enterprise award programs are more than a nice-to-have. They exist to shape culture, retain talent and sustain business success. Business success is dependent on proper workflows and timely reporting. Think of the investments your company has made in the past three years and it will surely include modern systems such as ERP, Finance or HRIS. Not having real-time reporting and transparency into the nomination and shortlisting activity means that you are flying blind, unlike the other departments who have the proper tools.

To learn more visit

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Don’t Forget Training When Assessing Your Recognition Program

Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why CRP Certification Works

RPI’s Best Practice Standards help organizations with an overview of how best to set up, implement and maintain an effective recognition program. These standards were developed through extensive academic research in recognition, as well as knowledge gained from professional conferences and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs.

To ensure success, companies should develop a plan that addresses each of the seven best practices, and routinely assess and measure whether each standard is being met.

Unfortunately, recognition training, which is one of the seven best practices, is often overlooked. Having people in your company who are trained in recognition principles can be instrumental to your program’s continued success.

Here are some reasons you should consider signing up for RPI’s Recognition Fundamentals or Certified Recognition Professionals (CRP) courses today:

  1. RPI’s recognition training, including CRP and Recognition Fundamentals, is extremely useful and applicable to a wide variety of participants who deal with employee recognition, engagement or other employee issues on a day-to-day basis, including practitioners involved in recognition programs, recognition resource providers and HR.

  2. Credibility and dedication to recognition best practices – RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) training is the best training in the industry. Program goals set out by RPI include: raising professional standards of those engaged in employee recognition; encouraging continued education for professional development; encouraging self-development by offering guidelines for achievement in the employee recognition profession; and awarding and identifying special recognition to those persons who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of those principles and practices of employee recognition and also laws governing and affecting employee recognition.

  3. Network of recognition industry peers – participating in the in-person training allow you to work with professionals from a wide range of industries who are working in recognition.

  4. Recertification – RPI offers recertification of the CRP designation which helps individuals to keep up to date on new issues and trends related to recognition. It also is a personal investment that adds to your credibility in keeping current with recognition learning.

  5. Convenience – CRP classes are offered at RPI’s annual conference so it is easy to participate in RPI and to have the opportunity for continued education in recognition. However, the courses are now being offered online, which makes it even easier to learn and get certified.  

Start your Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) curriculum with Structuring Recognition Programs for Success (CRP I), which is now also offered online. The curriculum has been refreshed based on input from past participants and the 7 Best Practice Standards, and offers valuable content with Building a Recognition Blueprint (formerly CRP II), Designing and Implementing Recognition Programs (Formerly CRP III) and Creating a Recognition Culture (formerly CRP IV). These three additional CRP courses are available at the RPI Annual Conference.  

CRP certification helps guide participants through this Best Practice process and produce measurable benefits for their organizations. For more, go to

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Creating Recognition Champions: The Benefits of Recognition Training

Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, November 30, 2016

No matter where your organization currently stands in terms of a recognition program – whether it is an existing program or in the planning stages – for it to be effective you need recognition champions who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable and can help support the program and help make it work.

Training and education in employee recognition and engagement is vital if you are truly interested in building a recognition culture. And why wouldn’t you be? Recognition is tied to greater engagement and productivity, as well as better employee retention. In fact, companies in the top 20 percent for “recognition-rich culture” have over a 30 percent lower voluntary turnover rate, according to a Bersin by Deloitte study.

Employees who receive training in recognition become company ambassadors and evangelists, and help cultivate recognition in the organization. They serve not only as examples of how it is done but also resources to help educate others around them about recognition.

RPI offers several ways to increase your knowledge about recognition, including the online Recognition Fundamentals program which offers a basic overview of recognition, and the more in-depth four-module Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) training.

There are many ways you can benefit from participating in recognition training:

  • You will become an in-house resource for your company or help breathe new life into an existing program by learning and passing on knowledge about recognition programs and how/why they work.
  • You can help make sure your recognition program aligns with your company culture, and evaluate changes that can be made to that will work best within your organization.
  • You’ll be a go-to a resource for managers and other employees about Best Practices for recognition and how it drives employee engagement.
  • You will be up-to-date about trends in recognition, including social recognition, technology, gamification, service awards, celebrations and incentive programs and other ways to drive employee engagement.

Above all, you will see how recognition can transform your business by making employees more engaged and more productive – where you’ll attract the best employees and keep them. Find out more about RPI’s Certified Recognition Professional courses by going to

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Knowledge is Power: Recognition Training Sets the Foundation for Recognition Programs That Work

Posted By David Layman, Friday, November 18, 2016
Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016

Perhaps you’ve seen the statistics about the value of employee recognition. The statistics speak for themselves, but they only tell part of the story. For a more thorough understanding, you have to dig a little deeper.

  • According to Lynn Learning Labs, 88 percent of employees surveyed cited lack of acknowledgement as their No. 1 issue at work. Why do they think that?

  • Organizations with the most sophisticated recognition practices are 12 times more likely to have strong business outcomes, according to Bersin by Deloitte.Why is that the case?

  • A 2012 study from SHRM and Globoforce showed that peer-to-peer recognition is over 35 percent more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition. How does that happen?

  • Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy up to $550 billion per year. A full 70 percent of American workers are “disengaged” or “actively disengaged,” How can employee recognition fix that?

These are just a few hard statistics backed up by thorough studies that show the importance of employee recognition and engagement to an organization’s overall success. To make a recognition program more effective it is important to understand the “why” and “how” beyond the statistics. That’s where recognition training comes in.

Recognition Training: One of RPI’s 7 Best Practices

It’s no accident that RPI included Recognition Training as one of its 7 Recognition Best Practices, because without a proper knowledge and understanding of the principles and philosophies behind recognition and employee engagement, programs lack the foundation that helps make them really work.

Leaders and employees – especially those who head up or are involved in an organization’s recognition program – need to understand the value and importance of recognition and why it works. They also need to know how to give recognition in order to do it better and become champions for the program.

RPI Training Opportunities

RPI members have access to the best employee recognition and engagement training courses available, from the basics in Recognition Fundamentals to expert certification through the Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) certification.
It couldn’t be easier to participate in RPI’s all-new Recognition Fundamentals, which is now available online. Find out more by going to:

For more in depth recognition training, start your Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) curriculum with Structuring Recognition Programs for Success (CRP I), which is now also offered online. The curriculum has been refreshed based on input from past participants and the 7 Best Practice Standards, and offers valuable content with Building a Recognition Blueprint (formerly CRP II), Designing and Implementing Recognition Programs (Formerly CRP III) and Creating a Recognition Culture (formerly CRP IV). These three additional CRP courses are available at the RPI Annual Conference.  

CRP certification helps guide participants through this Best Practice process and produce measurable benefits for their organizations. Find out more at


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Five Reasons Non Monetary Recognition is Better than Cash

Posted By TemboSocial, Monday, November 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Give a chicken a kernel of corn and it will play the piano. That was the premise of an old carnival game - where a trained chicken pecks on toy piano keys after a coin is dropped in the slot. The trick works pretty well but you can’t say that the chicken is engaged in the performance. The bird will not continue practicing its scales once the anticipated reward has been delivered.
People can also be trained to respond to a system of rewards. Bonuses, cash prizes, extra vacation days can all be used to get employees to grind out a few extra hours each week. But like the chicken, as soon as the prize has been delivered people will stop performing.

Non monetary recognition, on the other hand, does not affect employee behavior the same way that monetary rewards do. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Recognition Brings Status
    Recognition, when it’s done well, is public. You can praise an employee on the front page of the corporate intranet. This can help elevate an employee’s status among her peers. Cash rewards, on the other hand, need to be kept private. There’s a strong taboo about discussing pay scales in the workplace, meaning that you can’t post an employee’s bonus payments in public. Yes an employee with a fat bonus can put a payment down on a new Lexus, but that brings us to point #2.

  2. Recognition is Guilt-Free
    Monetary rewards feel good for a moment. But once the money is in the bank many employees become conflicted. Is the money still a reward for good work? Or does it really need to go to roof repairs, paying down a credit card or get tucked away for the kids’ college funds?

    Recognition, on the other hand, can be enjoyed by employees with no strings attached. It goes straight into their emotional expense accounts and doesn’t have to be used to repay past debts.

  3. Recognition Goes Above and Beyond
    Cash is expected. It is part of the contract you make when you hire an employee. If you offer bonuses for performance, those also become expected. It’s just part of the salary package. Something that you owe your employees.

    Recognition, on the other hand, can be perceived as a gift, something that you give an employee for significant reasons beyond just showing up and clocking in.

  4. Recognition Creates Meaning
    Doing meaningful work is deeply important to most people. Cash payouts don’t create meaning. In fact if an employee gets a bonus when he knows he only contributed 50% of his best effort it can make the workplace feel capricious. “They don’t know what they’re doing here - and look how much they pay me to do it!”

    Recognition, on the other hand, is all about meaning. It says “I saw how much work you put into the Jones account, and that means a lot to me.”

  5. Recognition is Human
    People don’t want to spend their whole lives cranking widgets, even if that’s their job. They want to be part of a bigger social enterprise. When you recognize their contributions, when you thank Sally for her 99.9% widget success rate, you are building a personal connection with an employee. She is now a vital part of your team and your tribe.

    Cash, on the other hand, can be dehumanizing. Just like the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry gave Elaine a stack of bills for her birthday, cash can leave employees feeling used. It can leave a lingering sense of “sure, they pay me. But they don’t really know me.”

When it’s working as it should, recognition transforms your company’s culture. People bond to each other, and watch each other’s backs. They get engaged and look for new ways to contribute.

To learn more visit

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3 Common Employee Recognition Mistakes to Avoid

Posted By TemboSocial, Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There have been a few studies making the rounds over the years that suggest too much praise can be harmful to children. Most of this research centers on early childhood development but it got me wondering if there are any lessons here to be learned in the working world?

There is plenty of evidence that praise from peers and managers can turbocharge engagement in the workplace.  I’ve also cautioned that carpet-bombing employees with praise can backfire. In order to be effective, your recognition efforts must be sincere and meaningful.

One of the things that stands out to me from the early childhood research is that praise seems to be most effective when it focuses on the process rather than the person. “Wow, you really put a lot of effort into that presentation,” recognizes a person’s intentions and accomplishments. This kind of praise communicates to people that their hard work was noticed.

Focusing praise instead on the person - for instance saying “you’re a good presenter,” doesn’t really recognize a person’s effort or motivation. This type of praise tends to suggest to people that their efforts don’t necessarily matter as much as natural ability. This sends the signal that they are naturally good no matter how much or how little effort went into the project.
Three common employee recognition mistakes to avoid:

  1. Trying to use praise to “fix” poor performance can breed resentment and de-motivation. Be candid when an employee isn’t meeting expectations so that your praise is meaningful when he does hit the mark.
  1. Recognizing only success.Employees who are praised for good decision-making turn out to be more likely to make bad decisions. Be mindful to also recognize employees for how they recover from missteps.
  1. Using praise only to get results. Praise, when it appears to the “praisee” as a means to an end, can feel like a form of control. Here I like to make the distinction that recognition and acknowledgement can be more effective than a gold star or verbal reward.

Make no mistake, praise can be a powerful tool. Just be sure to apply it thoughtfully and meaningfully.

To learn more visit

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Resources for Improving Workplace Culture and Employee Recognition

Posted By David Layman, Thursday, November 3, 2016
2015 Annual Learning Networking Sponsor/Exhibitor

More than ever creating the right culture in your organization is vital and affects all aspects of your company from engagement and productivity to retention and recruitment of high performing employees.

As Deloitte University points out (link to article below), “Culture and engagement is the most important issue companies face around the world. 87 percent of organizations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges, and 50 percent call the problem “very important.”

Below are some resources – 10 articles and 10 books – for learning more about trends and philosophy behind creating a great culture for your organization.


  1. How Company Culture Shapes Employee Motivation – Harvard Business Review

  2. Culture: Why it’s the Hottest Topic in Business Today – Forbes

  3. Majority of U.S. Employees Not Engaged Despite Gains in 2014 – Gallup

  4. Building a True Recognition Culture in the Workplace – WorldatWork

  5. Building a Culture of Employee Appreciation – Inc. Magazine

  6. Create a Culture of Engagement With These 7 Measures – Entrepreneur

  7. Culture and Engagement: The Naked Organization – Deloitte University

  8. Creating a Culture of Engagement - BlessingWhite

  9. 5 Workplace Culture Trends You Can’t Ignore - Forbes

  10. Manage Your Emotional Culture – Harvard Business Review


  • The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People - by Gary Chapman and Paul White
    The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, by Gary Chapman and Paul White, applies the love language concept to the workplace. This book helps supervisors and managers effectively communicate appreciation and encouragement to their employees, resulting in higher levels of job satisfaction, healthier relationships between managers and employees, and decreased cases of burnout.”

  • Sync or Swim: A Fable About Workplace Communication and Coming Together in a Crisis – by Gary Chapman, Paul E. White and Harold Myra 
    Sync or Swim is a small tale with enormous insight on ways you can empower, engage, and energize employees or volunteers facing discouragement or cynicism.”

  • An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization – by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey From “In most organizations nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for—namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people’s impressions of them. There may be no greater waste of a company’s resources. The ultimate cost: neither the organization nor its people are able to realize their full potential.” 

  • The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace – by Ron Friedman, PhD
    From “Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically-proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation, and stronger performance. Brimming with counterintuitive insights and actionable recommendations, The Best Place to Work offers employees and executives alike game-changing advice for working smarter and turning any organization—regardless of its size, budgets, or ambitions—into an extraordinary workplace.”

  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Kindle Edition – By Tony Hsieh From The visionary CEO of Zappos explains how an emphasis on corporate culture can lead to unprecedented success. Pay new employees $2000 to quit. Make customer service the entire company, not just a department. Focus on company culture as the #1 priority. Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business. Help employees grow both personally and professionally. Seek to change the world. Oh, and make money too. Sound crazy? It's all standard operating procedure at, the online retailer that's doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales every year.”

  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't Hardcover – by Jim Collins
    From Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider.”

  • Change Your Space, Change Your Culture: How Engaging Workspaces Lead to Transformation and Growth Hardcover – By Rex Miller, Mabel Casey and Mark Konchar
    From “Change Your Space, Change Your Culture is a guide to transforming business by rethinking the workplace. Written by a team of trail-blazing leaders, this book reveals the secrets of companies that discovered the power of culture and space. This insightful guide reveals what companies lose by viewing office space as something to manage or minimize. With practical tips and implementation details, the book helps the reader see that the workspace is, in fact, a crucial driver of productivity and morale.”

  • The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work Hardcover – by Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine
    From Building a fully engaged, energized workforce is the key to business success. The Power of Thanksreveals how leading companies like Intuit, JetBlue Airways, IHG, Symantec, ConAgra Foods, and The Hershey Company empower employees through social recognition, in which the practice of mutual appreciation and trust directs and rewards higher performance. Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine, executives at the world-renowned employee recognition firm Globoforce, explain why social recognition is so powerful and how you can apply it in your company. Mosley and Irvine provide practical advice and proven examples for devising a powerful, growth-generating strategy that modernizes employee recognition for today's social, global, multi-generational and 24x7 wired workforce.”

  • The Culture Engine: A Framework for Driving Results, Inspiring Your Employees, and transforming Your Workplace Kindle Edition – By S. Chris Edmonds
    From “The Culture Engine shows leaders how to create a high performing, values aligned culture through the creation of an organizational constitution. With practical step-by-step guidance, readers learn how to define their organization's culture, delineate the behaviors that contribute to greater performance and greater engagement, and draft a document that codifies those behaviors into a constitution that guides behavior towards an ideal: a safe, inspiring workplace. The discussion focuses on people, including who should be involved at the outset and how to engage employees from start to finish, while examples of effective constitutions provide guidance toward drafting a document that can actualize an organization's potential.”

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    Do You Have Culture? Include Recognition as you Plan for Your Company Culture

    Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, November 2, 2016
    Updated: Friday, October 28, 2016

    How would you describe your company culture? Does it truly represent what your organization is about, and above all is it a culture that encourages productivity, engagement and success? Is it a culture your employees are proud to be a part of?

    Here’s a great definition of culture: “Culture is the character and personality of your organization. It's what makes your organization unique and is the sum of its values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviors, and attitudes.” (ERC HR Insights blog).

    Your organization’s culture is its lifeblood pumping through all the parts of your organization. A great culture strengthens your company, and invigorates and inspires your employees. The benefits of a great company culture are obvious. Employees enjoy coming to work and do their best work. People are waiting in line to join your organization and no one wants to leave. Your people buy in to the company’s mission and will do everything they can to ensure its success.

    On the other hand, a negative culture can have the opposite effect – adversely affecting or poisoning the way your company operates.  Turnover is high and productivity is low. Morale is even lower and communication is non-existent.

    An excellent workplace culture must be carefully planned, implemented and cultivated, because if you are not intentional and don’t actively work towards this, you create a cultural void. In this void, a culture will be created for you – and it probably won’t be the one you want.

    Recognition is vital to culture

    In the recognition world, we speak of creating a “recognition culture.”  In this type of environment, people throughout the organization feel appreciated for the work they do, and even more so when they go the extra mile. In this type of workplace, engagement and productivity grow exponentially because they are more likely to have the desire to go above and beyond because they know they are valued and because they are helping the pump the cultural lifeblood of the organization.

    Statistics show that recognition can have a tremendous effect on your company’s overall culture:

    • The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. (Gallup)
    • Organizations with recognition programs which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs. (Bersin by Deloitte)
    • 60% of Best-in-Class organizations stated that employee recognition is extremely valuable in driving individual performance. (Aberdeen Group)
    • Companies with strategic recognition reported a mean employee turnover rate that is 23.4% lower than retention at companies without any recognition program. (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012)
    • Praise and commendation from managers was rated the top motivator for performance, beating out other noncash and financial incentives, by a majority of workers (67%) (McKinsey Motivating People)
    • When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.  (SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 2012)

    How would you describe your company culture? How would your employees describe it? Is it aligned with your company mission and goals? Is it working? Is there a void waiting to be filled? What changes can be made to create the type of culture you want? If it’s not working, it’s time to step back and assess and make some corrections. Take action and make a plan – and for the best results, make sure to include recognition as a major part of creating a culture that works. 

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