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Recognition in The Real World
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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.
 
Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®
Register for upcoming webinars here: https://www.recognition.org/events/event_list.asp 
 


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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5 Components for Recognition Training Plans

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Recognition Plan Training

Standard 5 of RPI's Best Practices®, Recognition Training, is essential in creating a culture of appreciation. All employees, especially managers and leaders, need to understand the importance of meaningful recognition and how to give it. The organization's Recognition Training Plan should document how training is designed and administered for managers and employees at all levels, including the training objectives, methods, audience, frequency and measures. The following training plan components are crucial to the success of the recognition training plan.

  1. Identify Recognition Program related topics (how to use program and/or skill building)?

  2. Select target audience for each recognition topic?

  3. Choose training topic delivery methods appropriate for each audience?

  4. Determine frequency of training (one-time, on-going, periodic)?

  5. Measure how effective the training was applied on the job?

Tips

  1. A framework is used to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate what training is needed. Recognition topics are included in general training such as safety, leadership, and job specific.
  2. Training includes targeted and specific audiences. All levels of employees receive recognition training and apply what they learn
  3. The plan includes a variety of delivery methods based on the geographic, cultural, and specific needs of the targeted audience.
  4. The plan spells out when training is offered.
  5. Reaction and application evaluation are checked to determine changes needed to make the training more effective. Results-

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® here: https:// www.recognition.org/page/ best_practice

Tags:  employee recognition  employee recognition program  recognition training  RPI 7 Best Practices 

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5 Communication Plan Components

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 22, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Standard 4 of RPI's Best Practices® is the Recognition Program Communication Plan, which aids in the presentation of the organizations recognition program. The organization should establish and maintain a strategic communication plan that communicates all aspects of the recognition strategy, including program objectives, recognition processes, events, celebrations, tools, and a contact person. The following components can be used develop your organizations communication plan.

Does your recognition communication plan:

  1. Develop a message related to each of the Recognition Program components?

  2. Identify the audience for each of the messages?

  3. Designate the communication method for each message?

  4. Assign who is responsible for delivering the message and frequency of message?

  5. Include measures to determine how well the message was delivered and understood?

Tips

  1. Specific messages are developed to promote recognition activities.
  2. Target audiences are identified for each of the messages.
  3. Each target audience has a communication method(s) identified that is accessible for those persons.
  4. Leaders have specific messages assigned. Additional persons also are identified to deliver messages to specific target audiences.
  5. Part of the communication plan includes measurements to determine if the messages were delivered and if the messages were understood. Review of these measurements by the leadership determine what additional communication may be necessary and by what method and messenger.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® here: https:// www.recognition.org/page/ best_practice

Tags:  Communication strategy  Recognition Program Communication Plan  recognition strategy 

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Five Key Program Measurement Guidelines

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Standard 3 of RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®, Program Measurement, evaluates the effectiveness of its formal and informal programs using measures that are statistically reliable and valid and substantive in nature. Ideally, the organization should have data that evaluates how well its programs are implemented and their impact on attitudes and productivity. Historical data that demonstrate effectiveness should be presented for a minimum period of at least one year. The following guidelines will help ensure effective program measurement standards.

Do you:

  1. Select measures for the Recogintion Program Objectives and frequency for collection?

  2. Establish a baseline assessment to determine the current state of the Recognition Program?

  3. Ensure there is a balance of quantitative and qualitative measures?

  4. Identify benchmarking sources from internal departments, external organizations and RPI Best Practice organizations?

  5. Use the measurements to determine the effectiveness of the recognition program?

Tips

  1. Each program objective has at least one measure with a plan on how to collect the data.
  2. Before beginning the recognition program, baseline assessments are taken to determine where the measurements begin.
  3. When selecting the measures for the objectives, it is important to ensure there is a balance of quantitative measures to provide objective data and qualitative measures to understand social issues.
  4. Develop types of data to be collected from benchmarking, where it will be collected and how/who will collect it. Strive to capture data that can be directly compared to your data.
  5. On a regular basis, the measurements are used as part of the program review. A summary report is prepared and presented both to leaders and employees.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® here: https:// www.recognition.org/page/ best_practice

Tags:  7 Best Practices  measurement  program measurement  recognition 

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Five Key Management Responsibilities for Recognition

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 9, 2019

Standard 2 of RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards®, Management Responsibility, discusses the active role senior leaders and management should have in their recognition programs. The following five behaviors can be used to reflect on management responsibilities in your recognition program.

Management Responsibilities

Senior leaders and management actively endorse and are held accountable for
planning, supporting, reviewing, and participating in the recognition program.

Do your leaders support employee recognition with the following behaviors:

  1. Define the overall recognition strategy (policies, procedures, and program objectives that reflect commitment to recognition?

  2. Support the recognition program by communicating support to all employees, and is personally involved in the program?

  3. Identify and provide adequate resources to manage and maintain the recognition program?

  4. Make recognition part of performance reviews and meeting agendas?

  5. Review the effectiveness of the recognition program?

Tips

  1. Senior leaders define the recognition behaviors needed to advance the organization’s goals. There is agreement to what policies, procedures, and objectives are needed to improve the behaviors.
  2. Senior leaders commit to deliver and reinforce any recognition messages, and personally actively support the recognition programs.
  3. Senior leaders provide a budget appropriate for the needed recognition activities. These resources include financial as well as non-financial.
  4. Senior leaders ensure the supporting recognition behaviors are incorporated into performance expectations. Recognition opportunities are consciously included into leadership and management agendas. All managers are held accountable for providing employees appreciation for their contributions.
  5. Senior leaders review measurements for recognition programs to determine how effective they are in promoting those needed behaviors. They make decisions as to the what happens to current programs and recommendations for needed changes.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® here: https:// www.recognition.org/page/ best_practice

Tags:  7 Best Practice Standards  Management responsibility  recognition strategy 

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5 Key Recognition Strategy Components

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 7, 2019

RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® are designed to aid in 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, The Recognition Strategy, provides purpose for how employee recognition encourages the organization’s goals and objectives. The following five components can be used to evaluate your organizations recognition strategy.

Recognition Strategy

The organization has a written recognition strategy that articulates the philosophy and objectives for all recognition practices, including day-to-day, informal, and formal recognition programs. The recognition strategy provides purpose and direction for how employee recognition encourages and rewards specific employee behaviors that advance the organization’s goals and objectives. All recognition activities are aligned with the mission and culture of the organization. Does your recognition strategy:

  1. Link to the organizational vision, mission, and values?

  2. Provide day-to-day, informal and formal recognition activities?

  3. Have documented procedures?

  4. Include specific and actionable objectives?

  5. Utilize continuous improvement through feedback and measurement?

Tips

  1. There is a formal, written recognition strategy that supports the organization’s strategic goals. Behaviors are identified with recognition program and practices and employees are rewarded for demonstrating those behaviors.
  2. The Recognition Program has day-to-day, informal and formal recognition activities. Actions are specific, timely and meaningful for all.
  3. Recognition related procedures (dimensions, nominations, award selections, taxes, event planning, budgeting, tracking, team, evaluation, etc.) are documented and available across the organization. These procedures are regularly reviewed and revised as needed.
  4. Leaders are involved in setting the recognition strategic objectives which are directly linked to the organization’s strategic goals. There is a regular review of the actions and the impact on the strategy.
  5. The Recognition Strategy includes how the effectiveness will be evaluated and in what timeframe. The Recognition Life Cycle is used to determine what action needs to be taken based on the feedback and measurement.

Read more about RPI's 7 Best Practice Standards® here: https:// www.recognition.org/page/ best_practice

Tags:  organizational development  Recognition Strategy  RPI  RPI Best Practices 

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Recognizing Employees Everyday: 4 Tips for Maximizing Recognition

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019

Recognizing Employees Everyday: 4 Tips for Maximizing Recognition

When thinking about employee recognition, the first thing that comes to mind might be an extravagant event or a ‘years of service’ award. While annual and scheduled activities are both important formal ways to celebrate the contributions of employees, one that is equally as important is informal everyday recognition.

Before diving into everyday recognition, the question needs to be asked: why should organizations recognize employees in the first place? The answer is easy: everyday recognition is a great way to encourage employee engagement and show appreciation for their hard work without a large cost. Furthermore, author and industry expert Josh Bersin notes that “Organizations that give regular ‘thanks to their employees’ far outperform those that do not”. When it comes down to it, everyday recognition seems like a simple way to support employees, while simultaneously benefiting the organization.

And it is. Everyday (or day-to-day) recognition is simple. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it is cheap, and it encourages everyone in the organization to participate. And most importantly, everyday recognition is sustainable because it makes it easy for managers and employees to keep the recognition program ongoing.

Based on RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards, successful recognition programs are balanced -- they incorporate day-to-day, informal, and formal recognition. Want to make your employee recognition program a success? Here are four effective and meaningful ways to recognize employees everyday:

  1. Verbal
  2. It seems obvious, but verbal recognition is one of the easiest and most meaningful ways to incorporate recognition every single day. Even a simple and specific “thank you” in the moment is powerful and can make someone’s day.

  3. Emails and notes
  4. Even the busiest workers can make time to recognize employees. Emails and notes are another simple, quick, and meaningful way to recognize individuals, even if you work remotely or are on the go.

  5. Encourage peer to peer recognition
  6. Managers aren’t the only people who can provide recognition. Letting everyone participate not only fosters relationships between coworkers, but also creates a positive work environment.

  7. Calls, instant messaging, and social media
  8. Most people have access to a mobile or work phone throughout the day, making it easy to give recognition via instant messaging or on the organization’s intranet and open social media channels. While it may not be the most popular option, never underestimate the power of even a brief phone call.

When it comes to recognition, the payoff is not something tangible. It is in the act itself. Maximize your time, money, and employee potential by incorporating everyday recognition into your organization’s program.

Recognition strategy is just one of RPI’s Seven Best Practice Standards. Learn about the other standards here.

Want to go deeper? Check out Recognition Fundamentals to expand your knowledge, excel in your job and maximize your recognition program.

Tags:  7 Best Practice Standards  Recognition  Recognition Strategy 

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