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Recognition in The Real World
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Recognition Success Story: RBC’s Social Recognition Program a Sound Investment

Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

RBC Royal Bank has continued to find ways to be in the forefront of social recognition, and their efforts are paying dividends.

RBC uses a standard online, internet-based system for the company’s recognition efforts, making for a very successful recognition and engagement program for its more than 75,000 employees around the world.

"There’s no secret that using social engagement works, and that engagement ties to results. It has certainly been an amazing journey for us," said Steve Richardson, CRP, Manager, Recognition Programs for Royal Bank of Canada.

With employees being so busy with their daily tasks, Richardson said the social recognition platform they use allows managers and employees to give more frequent and timely recognition for a job well done, large or small.

“You need more frequency and things that will literally take seconds, whether it’s daily recognition or peer-to-peer recognition,” he said. “Our employees like the quickness of it. You can log in and give recognition in 20 to 30 seconds. They can leave the screen open on their computer and come in and quickly give recognition. They can get in and get out.”

According to a Gallup study, 49% of employees say they would leave their current position to move to a company that recognizes employees for their work. As expected, the more frequent the recognition, the more successful recognition programs will be.

Another key to the success of RBC’s program is that they regularly train managers on the importance of recognition, and how to do it. Having worked for years in the banking business, Richardson learned all about the particulars of that business, but no one trained him on the particulars of recognition. Now, he knows how important it is to train managers on how to do recognition.

“We spend a lot of time coaching our managers about what recognition is – the philosophy behind employee recognition – what you say to the employee and how that ties back to engagement, as well as what is meaningful recognition. What do they want to hear?”

And they are looking at ways to embellish their training and how they can get their social recognition tools into the hands of managers, as well as how they can use the data to manage people better and engage employees.

Richardson stressed the importance of manager participation, adding that once a manager “gets it” and ups their game in terms of recognition, more and more people begin using it.

While RBC’s social recognition does use a point-based reward program, Richardson added it’s not so much about getting “stuff”, like prizes and other items, necessarily.

“It’s about how that manager makes you feel – that you feel appreciated,” he said.

One of the challenges for RBC has been how to grow its recognition program as the company has expanded into other parts of the world. The company has grown from a small bank in Canada to countries around the world and they have had to take other languages and cultures into consideration.

“Social recognition is different depending on what part of the world you’re in,” he said. “But generally the notion of social recognition is sound everywhere. We speak to our local counterparts to see what we need to do – here’s what we want to do, now coach us on how to do it.”

One area he sees the company expanding is in using data to better gauge their investment in recognition.

“That’s the new frontier,” he said. “We are looking for more tools managers can use to be effective. We’ve been successful, we are very happy with our numbers. Now the next phase is tie in financial data to see how it relates back to our spend. Sometimes ROI is hard to answer. We’re definitely looking forward to that as the next chapter.”

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Explainer – Social Recognition

Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why Social Recognition leads to a better organization.

Want to engage employees in your corporate culture.

Consider social recognition. Social Recognition is an outstanding tool for employee engagement. Greater employee engagement leads to increased productivity, better retention of high performing employees and a more profitable business.

Social Recognition works by creating an environment and providing tools for employees to interact with each other in a positive way, and for managers to give positive reinforcement to their team members. So, why is it important? Because it helps employees connect to their peers, their managers and to their company. It is not just important, it’s critical for employees to feel appreciated for their work. This type of connection directly affects their productivity, as well as their desire to perform at a higher level and to stay a part of the company for the long term.

Business owners or executives who are only looking at success in terms of dollars are doing so at their peril. Sure, the expectation and need of the employer is still for the employee to be productive. But it’s foolish to think “isn’t a paycheck enough?” The key is that employees want to know that they are appreciated for a job well done.

Happier = Productive.

Both studies and anecdotes confirm that people work for people they like. The old adage says “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” By the same logic, people leave managers they don’t like.

Studies have also shown that appreciation leads to greater productivity.

A 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study by Towers Perrin surveyed 90,000 employees in 18 countries on engagement. Comparing the survey results with the companies’ financial data, those organizations with high employee engagement had a 19% increase in operating income and a 28% increase in earnings per share over a 12-month period.

RPI Standards on Recognition.

If you are new to recognition, and to the recognition industry (wait, there’s an industry?), it might be a little overwhelming to figure out where to start.

RPI has set out a list of Best Practice Standards® that gives an overview for setting up a successful recognition program. At the top of the list is a standard for recognition strategy which relates directly to doing social recognition.

This first standard points out that a recognition program should have a Three Dimensional Approach, which includes Day-to-Day Recognition, Informal Recognition and Formal Recognition. Social recognition programs and platforms can be used in all three, but especially in performing Day-to-Day recognition, as it facilitates frequent and ongoing recognition with quick notes or posts from managers or peers for a job well done. These posts can be private or public and can have reward points attached to them.

These social recognition platforms are most effective with executive level buy-in. Encouragement from the CEO or C-Suite for managers and employees to consistently use the social recognition platform ensures greater participation across the company and greater success.

Social recognition is only one part of a successful company recognition program, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular parts, as well as one of the easiest to use and administer. To learn more about Social Recognition strategy, you can start with RPI's Best Practice Standards® and contact RPI with any additional questions.

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Social Recognition by the Numbers

Posted By David Layman, Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Using Social Recognition Can Make a Positive Impact on your Organization

Hard statistics have shown that social recognition is a difference maker. These studies and real business practices should be convincing reasons why your organization needs to learn more and take action on the use of social recognition.

So, what is the impact of social recognition? And more importantly, what is the impact of failing to enact, support and participate in social recognition in your workplace?

Even if you said the impact is big – well, it’s bigger than that. But when you boil it down, the premise is fairly simple. People like to be appreciated and they like to be told so.

According to Lynn Learning Labs, 88 percent of employees surveyed cited lack of acknowledgement as their No. 1 issue at work. The survey doesn’t mention the other 12 percent, but it’s probably pretty high on their list as well.

This makes the case for the emotional side of why recognition works, but studies also back this up with numbers that affect your company’s bottom line. It is estimated that replacement of an employee leaving the company generally costs around six to nine months of that employee’s salary. You do the math from there – it can add up quickly. Many companies go to great lengths to save a dollar in expenses or add new business but fail to see the return they can realize on their investment in employee retention through an engagement program.

Organizations with the most sophisticated recognition practices are 12 times more likely to have strong business outcomes. (Bersin by Deloitte, The State of Employee Recognition, 2012)

Make Social Recognition Work for your Organization

There’s nothing as powerful or that works as well to engage employees, and thereby decrease turnover rates, as social recognition.

The type of social recognition you use can vary from points-based incentives, peer-to-peer recognition, notes from managers or formal recognition at organization events. The key is to make it easy and make it frequent.

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, while another study from McKinsey found that praise from managers was the top motivator, rating higher than noncash or financial incentives by roughly two-thirds of workers.

But not only does recognition lead to engaged employees, it is a great tool to use in recruiting the best candidates to work for your company.

A 2004 survey by Towers Perrin Recognition found that recognition was one of the top five drivers for attraction of candidates in the UK and was tied as the top attraction in the EU. According to SHRM, “Social recognition capitalizes on employees’ behavioral habits and new social technologies to give more people a voice in saying ‘thanks,’ adding an important tool to an organization’s rewards strategy.”

RPI offers a great forum for learning more about the effectiveness of social recognition and what types of platforms you can use or steps you can take to get started. As a member you have access to the best and brightest in the world of employee recognition and engagement, as well as the opportunity to become an expert yourself through the Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) certification.

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OSHA Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines

Posted By RPI, Monday, May 16, 2016

In November 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") issued a revised draft of OSHA Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines (the "Draft Guidelines"). On page 8 of the Draft Guidelines, it states in a note that, "Incentive programs for workers or managers that tie performance evaluations, compensation, or rewards to low injury and illness rates can discourage injury and illness reporting. Point systems that penalize workers for reporting injuries, illnesses, or other safety or health concerns have the same effect, as can mandatory drug testing after reporting injuries. Effective safety and health programs recognize positive safety and health activities, such as reporting hazardous conditions or suggesting safer work procedures."

Read more here.

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The RPI Board Library

Posted By Jason Thomson, CRP, Instigator, Jigsaw, Monday, May 16, 2016

How do you set up, nurture and defend a “culture of recognition” within your organization? RPI’s Board of Directors recently shared the resources they use to do exactly that.


12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter

How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton

The 5 Languages of Appreciation at Work, by Dr. Paul White

People Artistry at Work: The Ennoblement Imperative by Peter Hart and David Zinger

Return to Civility: A Speed of Laughter Project by John Sweeney

Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships by Ken Blanchard

Winning with a Culture of Recognition by Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine

The Wow Workplace: How to build an employee recognition culture that engages your people and produces big results for your Organization by Mike Byam.


Employee Recognition Wasn't Built in a Day by Sarah Payne

Inspiring Others, Smarter Communication by Chris Loping

Why Free is Best: The Employee Recognition Paradox by Cindy Ventrice

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Formal Recognition Strategies Help Drive Company Purpose and Culture

Posted By Jennifer Corbett, CRP Account Manager, Maritz Motivation Solutions, Monday, May 16, 2016

Building a great culture should be simple. It can be effective when you engage employees in shaping it. When everyone is connected by their belief in the organization’s purpose, great things can happen. Service, growth, innovation and results will occur if your employee’s feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts.

There are some key strategies you can follow to incorporate engagement into your organization’s culture:

  1. Understand that you have a multi-generational workforce who have different goals and recognition preferences. Managers should seek to understand individual work styles and how people like to be recognized for accomplishments.
  2. Enable personal growth and work/life balance. Millennials have requested flexibility, but work/life balance is something enjoyed by everyone. Empower your teams to develop their personal and professional skills by embracing remote work schedules, encouraging team celebrations or sponsoring professional training.
  3. Develop employee strengths through a mentorship program. Start a reverse mentorship program in which each employee is both a mentor and a mentee (two relationships). This will provide additional perspective and will push your employees to gain an understanding or establish empathy for other company roles and goals. Collaboration, engagement and learning improve dramatically as a result.
  4. Invest in online platforms that promote community and collaboration where employees can quickly and easily share success. These online tools provide trackable methods of recognition which can publically be shared across the organization through newsfeeds, ebulletins or shared email notifications.

Executive Leadership Should Drive Engagement and It Should Be Celebrated
Engagement needs to be shared from the top down, and senior management should be communicating clear goals of the company. This can be shared with the organization by providing a short check list or list of accomplishments set for a specific time period. Communication is key and should be executed via an email campaign and management involvement. Managers should be meeting with key leadership to provide feedback and support from the field. And they should be sharing key learnings and requests back to their teams to establish trust and clarity.

Once goals are met along the way, celebrating the accomplishments are key to promote the behaviors that are required to meet and exceed the established goals. Team building events can also be arranged to center a group around a common purpose or project. HR Leaders should also be involved and understand their employees’ strengths and needs. Management teams need to structure plans and execute each step to position engagement related goals along with other business goals. This will demonstrate the importance of engaging employees and ensure focus is balanced between engagement and business accomplishments.

Research shows a clear connection between employee engagement and economic drivers like reduced operational costs, increased customer loyalty, and improved productivity. Leaders and managers genuinely want employees to be engaged and happy at work, and they should support the desire for purpose at work. Formalizing recognition strategies and promoting those strategies form the top down will ensure a positive work culture within your organization.

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Engaged Company Stock Index (ESCI)

Posted By Ira Ozer, CRP, CPIM with permission by Bruce Bolger, ED of the EEA, Monday, May 16, 2016

Research from virtually all of the employee engagement research companies, including Gallup, Hay Group, Sirota and others, indicates that a top cause of employee disengagement is that employees do not feel recognized for their work or above and beyond contributions to help their companies succeed.

Naturally, most recognition and engagement consultants, authors, trainers and agencies conclude from the research and from their experience, that having a “culture of recognition” with the proper platform and programs is essential to improving engagement. And to support this conclusion, RPI, the Recognition Professionals International Association, has created a curriculum and certification program based on the best practices of leading corporations with a culture of recognition. But there is a challenge – to convince the CEO of any company to make employee recognition a cornerstone of their corporate mission, vision and values and then prioritize it with day-to-day focus and time, while investing approx. $100 per employee per year to fund it – requires a proven Return-on-Investment (ROI). And although the research, experts, practical experience and even common sense indicates that recognizing employees for great work is beneficial for the company, it is still often considered a “soft” initiative impossible to conclusively prove…until now.

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance (EEA), an organization comprised of leading companies and associations across the spectrum of engagement, has worked with McBassi & Company, a human data analytics firm to create the “Engaged Company Stock Index” (ECSI). The ESCI tracks the long-term results of companies with high levels of customer, employee, and community engagement, known as “Good Companies,” determined by independent data sources as compared with S&P 500 companies in general and the results are amazing!

Since the ECSI started on October 1, 2012 until the most recent stock market results on March 31, 2016, “Good” companies outperformed S&P 500 companies in general by 21.3 percent.

According to Bruce Bolger, Founder and Executive Director of the EEA, The Good Company portfolio includes 43 companies with combined high scores as employers, sellers, and stewards of the community and environment. The composition of the portfolio is periodically updated (most recently on January 31st, 2016), based on new data from the Good Company Index. These Engaged Companies include:

Agilent Technologies
Applied Materials
Boston Scientific
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Campbell Soup
CenterPoint Energy
Cisco Systems
Cognizant Technical Solutions
Dominion Resources
DTE Energy
Eli Lilly
Estee Lauder
General Mills
Johnson & Johnson
L Brands
Marriott International
Principal Financial
Prudential Financial
Rockwell Automation
Southwest Airlines
Whole Foods Market

Consistent with other stock indices, the EEA Engaged Company Stock Index provides a cumulative score that can be easily compared over time with other indices. McBassi’s Engaged Company Index uses the metrics outlined in the book, Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era, which gives companies letter grades, with the best companies getting an A, and poor companies getting Ds and Fs. To study the impact on stock market performance, McBassi examined pairs of companies in the same industry in the Fortune 100 in which the companies’ Engaged Company grades differed by one or more full grade levels (for example, a grade of B versus a grade of C) over a two-year period.

Across the twelve pairs of companies that met this criterion, the stock price of the company with the higher grade outperformed that of its competitor with the lower grade by an average of 30.2 percentage points over the two-year period following the assignment of Engaged Company grades (an average annualized outperformance of over 14 percentage points).

Those companies with higher Engaged Company grades significantly outperformed in the first year and then further extended that outperformance in the second year. In addition, in 83 percent of the pairs (10 of 12), the higher-ranked company outperformed the other over the 24-month period.

For example, the stock value of IBM (Engaged Company grade of B+) increased by a cumulative 58.4 percent during the two-year period, compared to a decrease of 53.4 percent in Hewlett Packard (grade of C) over the same time, for a 111.8 percentage point outperformance for IBM. Similarly, Verizon (grade of C+) outperformed AT&T (grade of D+) by 21.7 percentage points during that period, 76.5 percent to 54.8 percent.

The Engaged Company Stock Index only tracks companies with high engagement, because there have been too many mergers, acquisitions, and other changes among the companies with low engagement scores to provide a predictive base of companies to track. Here is a link to all of the information:

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6 Reasons Every Organization Needs a Recognition Program

Posted By Jason Thomson, Instigator, Jigsaw, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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The RPI Board Library

Posted By Jason Thomson, Instigator, Jigsaw, Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We asked RPI Board members where they went for resources on recognition and engagement. Here’s what everyone should be reading:

Widgets – The 12 New Rules for Managing

Widgets – The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As if They’re Real People
Rodd Wagner
"Your people are not your greatest asset. They’re not yours and they’re not assets.”

Team of Teams – New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World
General Stanley McChrystal
This link offers an intriguing review of the book that shows how to lead  n a world that craves engagement.

12: The Elements of Great Managing
Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter
What are the 12 elements that contribute to high performance? This book describes fascinating insight into the study.

1001 Ways to Energize Employees
Bob Nelson
The classic book describes ways to engage your employees.

Death by Meeting
Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni produces some of the best business writing around – this business "fable” is a standout on leadership.


Engagement Still Keeping HR Awake
Human Resource Executive

10 Essential Pillars of Employee Engagement Office Vibe


The Employee Engagement Network
David Zinger’s passionate community is considered to be one of the world’s very best resources for engagement.

Jon Gordon Blog A celebrated business author with great strategies for leadership and success.

Wylie Communications
Drive engagement with your writing – Wylie Communications has a number of excellent resources to improving your writing.

LinkedIn Employee Engagement Group


Service Award Enterprise Administrator

My Network:

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The Economics of Recognition

Posted By Jason Thomson, Instigator, Jigsaw, Monday, March 7, 2016
Updated: Monday, March 14, 2016

What to consider with your program.

One of the challenges many companies encounter when either launching or refreshing an employee recognition program is justifying the costs to senior management. This can be tricky since many times, programs will not generate tangible ROI. However, when viewing things in a greater perspective, a well-run program has a dramatic impact on a company’s bottom line.

When it comes to an employee recognition programs there are two major objectives to consider. First, a program must drive and/or reinforce the behaviors a company has determined. This is vital to their overall success because it not only gives defined objectives to employees but also contributes to the company’s overall culture. Secondly, it’s crucial to create a culture that employees want to be a part of and share with others. How employees feel is a reflection on you and the company culture you’ve established. So, if we take each matter and view it in terms of ROI, the justification becomes abundantly easier to recognize.

According to the Workplace Research Foundation, highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity. Additionally, the study noted, increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year, and that’s just the start of the ROI an engaged workforce can create. Let’s consider the ripple effect an engaged workforce creates a higher level of service, which creates higher customer satisfaction, which increases sales which ultimately leads to higher levels of profits.

Now, let’s consider the effect it has on retention. The number-one reason most Americans leave their jobs is that they don’t feel appreciated. According to the Department of Labor, 22% of new hires will leave their job within 45 days of being hired, couple that with the average cost to replace an employee making $50,000/year is just under $10,000 and you can see how retention can have a dramatic influence on a company’s bottom line. Organizations with recognition programs, which are highly effective at enabling employee engagement, had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organizations with ineffective recognition programs.

As you can see in the two examples above, the economics of a recognition program may not be something that fits into the cell of a spreadsheet. But, a well-run program featuring desirable rewards, should not only be self-liquidating but will ultimately have long-term effect on a company’s overall profitability and success.

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