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Recognition in The Real World
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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.

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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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    The Pygmalion Effect: Transforming Your Company Culture

    Posted By David Layman, Friday, October 28, 2016

    You probably know the story of Pygmalion; or if not, then perhaps the musical My Fair Lady. In the story, the haughty professor Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can transform the Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady who can pass for a duchess.

    The play and musical are more or less based on story from Greek mythology. Pygmalion, a sculptor, creates a marble statue of a woman so beautiful that he falls in love with it and it comes to life.

    That the story has been a popular one for thousands of years illustrates how we as humans are intrigued with the idea of using our influence in one way or another to create the ideal.

    How does this relate to workplace and culture? In much the same way, many business leaders understand that an environment where employees are happy and satisfied, and relate to the goals and vision of the company they work for, can thrive and help transform a business into a vibrant, productive and profitable organization.

    These enlightened leaders therefore strive to sculpt the perfect company culture to bring their organization to life. And much of this comes down to how employers treat their employees.

    As Eliza Doolittle explains: “You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she’s treated.” 

    The Pygmalion Effect

    Studies in education in the 1960s conducted by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson showed that if teachers expected superior performance from students, then their performance improved. It also concluded that expectations could either positively or negatively affect performance, based on others’ expectations, and that reality could actually be impacted, creating self-fulfilling prophecies.

    The results of this study have been called the Pygmalion effect, or the Rosenthal effect, in which higher expectations lead to an increase in performance

    This happens much the same way in the workplace –higher expectations from an employer often results in higher success and optimal results. By extension, creating a workplace culture in which employees are encouraged and expected to be successful produces an environment where employees are successful.

    By the way, the opposite is also true. Low expectations bring about low performance. (This is called The Golem Effect).

    Tony Hsieh: Modern Pygmalion

    In the past several years, you can’t read about workplace culture without hearing about Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Hsieh has created an amazing, if unconventional, company culture using techniques that many, if not most, find quite radical.

    A few years back, Hsieh instituted the use of “Holacracy” at Zappos, in which titles and managers are eliminated and power is distributed to everyone in the company. Zappos employees were informed of the change, and were given the option to leave with three months severance pay if they didn’t want to adapt to the new company structure.

    You could say that he was chiseling away the marble in order to create the sculpture, or the type of company, that was his ideal.

    While radical, few can argue with the results and success he has achieved.

    USMotivation President Tina Weede recently visited the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas.

    “What Tony Hsieh has been able to create along with his 1,500 associates is amazing and it’s wonderful to see because it’s a very solid culture – very individualized but very unique common culture,” she said. “What they defined as their core values, why they work there, the culture that they’ve created is very vibrant. Some people would look at it and say, ‘wow, that’s just a really crazy culture – that would be so much fun.’ It looks like it’s just a fun place.

    Weede said what is remarkable about the company is that all the employees there “march in the same direction,” but it all comes down to having a very detailed plan in place.

    “I think that is what we learned with RPI – you cannot have a culture based on core values, based on mutual respect, on recognition if you don’t follow a plan and you have to follow it each and every time,” she said. “And when I look at what Tony Hsieh has created, it’s an environment that looks like a lot of fun – their customers love it. They have such a great relationship with their customers. And really, that’s their purpose and that’s their goal – they come to work every day for that reason.”  

    Creating a Cultural Work of Art

    In order to create an ideal work culture depends first on the vision, planning and hard work of leadership. Leaders have to create an atmosphere where employees are expected to do their best work. And employees have to believe in the vision. Recognition of each employee’s inherent skills and abilities will result in more engagement.

    The difference in creating a great workplace culture is really in how employees are treated. Make a plan for an ideal culture and it will come to life.

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    Successful Recognition with RPI’s Best Practice Standards

    Posted By David Layman, Monday, October 10, 2016

    Using RPI’s 7 Best Practices is a roadmap for great recognition programs.
    RPI’s Best Practice Standards® really are what set the organization apart and enable it to help members achieve success in implementing great recognition programs and develop a recognition culture within their companies.

    The Best Practices are based on years of academic research and professional experiences in developing successful recognition programs. They are designed to help create new recognition programs, as well as evaluate existing programs in public and private sectors, large and small organizations and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

    RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards at a glance.
    Standard 1: Recognition Strategy
    Standard 2: Management Responsibility
    Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement
    Standard 4: Communication Plan
    Standard 5: Recognition Training
    Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations
    Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility

    One Company’s success with RPI and the 7 Best Practice Standards.
    For Tina Weede, president of USMotivation, RPI’s Best Practice Standards, was the reason the company chose to join and participate with RPI – closely followed by RPI’s education and certification programs. USMotivation is a recognition, incentive and meetings/events company based in Atlanta. Tina has also served as president of RPI and as a member of the RPI board of directors.

    “When we first became engaged with RPI, I was very intrigued with their mission, and when I really started looking at their certification program – there were other certification programs out there, but I really liked the structure of this program,” Weede said.

    “You can use the seven tenets (Best Practices) not only for recognition but also for incentives. They really go hand in hand, even though there’s a different need for incentives and a different need for recognition,” she said.

    The company received RPI’s Overall Best Practices Award in 2013 based on its ability to successfully incorporate all seven best practices.

    “We were very proud of the accomplishment because we knew it was a big one within our industry – one of the biggest ones, and we’re very proud of that,” she said. “We also learned a lot after the submission. Our business has changed a lot over the last three years – our culture has continued to grow. I think we’re in a better place and I think our rewards programs are growing.”

    Recognition certification helps companies to better implement Best Practices.
    In addition to RPI’s Best Practices, Weede was also impressed by the organization’s education and certification programs, as well as the opportunities RPI provides to network and interact with other recognition professionals.

    Being able to use the Best Practice Standards interchangeably led to USMotivation having 30 percent of its employees complete RPI’s Certified Recognition Professionals (CRP) training.

    “From an education standpoint I have not found another association in this sector that provides as rich of a certification program and education component as RPI,” she said. “That’s why I chose it originally to do the certification for our associates.
    “Making that commitment also allowed us to better follow the tenets not only how to create great recognition and incentive programs for our clients, but also how to do that internally,” Weede said.  “I think it’s what makes our recognition and incentive programs at USM even stronger.”

    She also believes that with the CRP course soon to be available online, that will be a game changer with how many people within RPI member organizations can become certified and learn more about recognition and “what is a true recognition strategy can look like, how you implement it and what the best practices are.

    “Having the online courses is going to change the environment with how people are certified and provide greater opportunities to have more people certified,” she said.

    Creating the Foundation for Recognition Culture.
    While implementing any of the Best Practices is an excellent start, putting all seven together is vitally important in a recognition program reaching its full potential.

    “You have to have the foundation. If you follow the best practices you’re going to build that solid foundation where you really can create an amazing culture based on recognition, based on your core values,” Weede said. “You may be able to have one or two and have some success but if you don’t have the overarching strategy and don’t have management buy-in, I don’t think you get all you can from your program.

    “You really can’t just follow one of them.  For example, if you want to just have great parties and great celebrations – well that’s good, but they’re probably without meaning or purpose.”
    Weede said among the most difficult standards to put in place are measurement and training, followed closely by communication.

    “If we were to see people consistently who fall down in recognition or incentive strategy – it’s always tied back to that,” she said. “Training and measurement are usually the two that are most difficult. Like with anything it takes attention and it takes care to make sure that the program grows and it matures, it’s meaningful and it provides purpose.
    Taking an overall approach and focusing on all seven Best Practices is the best way to a successful recognition program.

    “The best practices provide you with the roadmap to have the best rewards and recognition – and the best culture within your company,” Weede said.

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    What Are RPI’s 7 Recognition Best Practices? A step by step guide to how to do Recognition right

    Posted By David Layman, Monday, September 26, 2016

    High performing, engaged employees are vital to an organization’s success. Years of research has proven that employee performance is greatly impacted by employee recognition. Recognition drives engagement and results in more productivity, higher retention and creates a culture where your people support the organization’s goals, mission and vision. It also affects your organization’s ability to attract and recruit the best prospects. Through research, RPI has developed Best Practice Standards that help set up and implement a recognition program that gets results. These best practices work together. Here is an overview of the 7 Best Practice Standards and how they work.

    Standard 1: Recognition Strategy

    This is the foundation of your recognition program. This standard is about explaining your goals, vision and philosophy behind what your program should accomplish. It also serves to create buy-in for the program, and how it fits with your company’s goals, culture and mission statement. It also sets out how day-to-day, informal and formal recognition will encourage and reward the behaviors that will drive success.

    Standard 2: Management Responsibility

    This standard establishes who will lead the program, and ensures buy-in from senior leadership and that managers understand the ideas behind recognition, what the outcomes should be and encourage participation. A recognition program is doomed without senior and manager level support. It works best for these leaders to set the example so that all employees recognize the importance of participating in the program. For this reason, senior leaders should also participate in setting up how the program works in terms of policies, procedures and measurement of the program.

    Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement

    Constant and consistent measurement of recognition programs is essential to find out if what you are doing is effective. You should measure how well the program is being implemented, what is the level of participation, has the program impacted the level of employee satisfaction and how has the program affected employee productivity and effectiveness.

    Standard 4: Recognition Program Communication Plan

    You can have the best recognition program in the world, but it will never be successful without a well-planned communications strategy. The communications plan should cover all parts of your recognition strategy, including goals, promotions, events, celebrations and key contacts for the recognition program. The plan should also spell out what tools you will use to communicate program information to participants (employees). These will certainly include emails, videos and other web content, for example on a company intranet site. They also could include more traditional communications such as bulletin boards, posters, letters, flyers, brochures, manager tool kits and employee handbooks.

    Standard 5: Recognition Training

    To make a recognition program effective, employees need to understand the value and importance of recognition. They also need to know how to give recognition. This is especially important for managers and leadership. Helpful recognition training opportunities could include individual learning, web-based learning modules, e-learning, manager tool kits, printed materials, video presentations and new-employee orientation training. RPI members can participate in Recognition Fundamentals training or take the Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) training. RPI’s Recognition Fundamentals is an overview course of Recognition Best Practices developed from years of implementation and research. This course will help you create awareness and better understand the important role of recognition in the workforce. This online course is an hour long and includes a new Learning Guide for you to implement tools and strategies today. Register here.

    Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations

    Events and celebrations are not only great opportunities to formally recognize employees, they also help create excitement about your recognition program. These should be fun, unique and meaningful experiences that draw the interest of employees and create a buzz. A great celebration year after year can generate excitement and anticipation before the event and also create an afterglow after the event has passed.

    Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility

    Change is the only thing that is constant. Times change, employees change, trends come and go. Every recognition program must have the flexibility to institute changes to maintain effectiveness. Programs can become stale and lose their excitement if they stay the same year in and year out. As you continue to measure and evaluate your program over time, you will find some things that work and others that don’t. Maybe portions of your program need tweaking or some may need to be eliminated entirely.

    Organizations also change over time. Make sure your program continues to reflect your company’s culture, values, objectives, needs and goals. Senior leaders should regularly review recognition programs and activities to make sure they still align with the company’s culture and objectives.

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    RPI’s Building Blocks to Recognition Success

    Posted By David Layman, Monday, September 19, 2016

    Use RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards to transform your organization.

    RPI’s 7 Best Practice Standards are at the very core of RPI’s Mission to enhance organizational performance through employee recognition. RPI does this by providing access to RPI Best Practice Standards®, education, research and the exchange of ideas.

    RPI also fulfills its mission by creating opportunities for members to grow professionally as well as advocating recognition and engagement strategies to promote organizational excellence.

    Organizational excellence includes many things – higher productivity, better employee retention, a superior work environment and culture and, of course, increasing the bottom line.

    Recognition and engagement have been shown to improve all these areas. For example:

    • Studies have shown that non-financial motivators such as praise from a manager or recognition from leadership have a larger impact on engagement than pay raises or other financial incentives.
    • A study by Bersin & Associates showed companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover.
    • Another study found that 78% of workers say being recognized motivates them in their jobs, and 69% say they would work harder if their efforts were better appreciated.

    The bottom line is a good recognition program can improve all areas of an organization.

    Drive organizational excellence with RPI’s Best Practice Standards.
    RPI’s Best Practice Standards are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs.

    They are effective for creating, operating and evaluating recognition programs for all types of organizations including public and private sectors, large and small organizations and organizations with single or multiple locations or functions.

    Learn more about Recognition.
    Not only has RPI come up with these Best Practices to serve as a guide for recognition programs; the organization also offers opportunities to learn how to put all seven standards in place and to better understand how each best practice fits into a successful program. RPI members can participate in Recognition Fundamentals training or take the Certified Recognition Professional (CRP) training.

    Recognition for Recognition Excellence.
    RPI also walks the walk in recognizing its member recognition experts. Every year, RPI presents the RPI Best Practice Standards Award to organizations that have been particularly successful in implementing one of the RPI Best Practice Standards. The Best Overall Recognition Program Award goes to organizations that have been highly successful putting all seven Best Practices in place. The Recognition Champion Award honors individuals who have shown leadership, passion and dedication in promoting the principles of recognition and serve as a role model for recognition practices. (Nominations are currently open – for complete information, click here.)

    For more information about the 7 Recognition Best Practices, go here.

    The seven RPI Best Practice Standards are:
    Standard 1: Recognition Strategy
    Standard 2: Management Responsibility
    Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement
    Standard 4: Communication Plan
    Standard 5: Recognition Training
    Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations
    Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility

    Recognition Fundamentals is now available online and is all NEW!
    Learn vital information with practical examples and tools for everyday use. Recognition Fundamentals is an overview course of Recognition Best Practices developed from years of implementation and research. This course will help you create awareness and better understand the important role of recognition in the workforce. This online course is an hour long and includes a new Learning Guide for you to implement tools and strategies today. Register here.

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    RPI’s Recognition Best Practices: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Recognition

    Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Hit all seven of these principles and you’ll have a top notch recognition program

    In 1990, Stephen Covey published his bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Since its publication, it has become the benchmark for how to achieve personal success and enhance performance in both in business and everyday life. Everywhere you look, you will find highly effective and successful people who trace their achievements to the principles of Covey’s book.

    RPI’s 7 Best Practices for recognition serve pretty much the same purpose for organizations and business professionals who want to achieve the best in employee recognition and engagement. Following the premises set out in RPI’s best practices can help propel a recognition culture in your organization that can have long lasting effects on company culture, improving morale, boosting productivity, driving engagement, increasing retention of high performing employees – all of which translates into ROI to increase your bottom line.

    So, why seven – can’t I just get away with doing two or three of the seven recognition best practices? Well, let’s take Covey’s habits again as an example. As you may know, they are: Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand – Then to be Understood, Synergize, Sharpen the Saw.

    Obviously, if you just read the first of the seven, Be Proactive, and put that habit to work in your life or business and then put the book down, you will certainly achieve some success. But as you work through the next habit and then the next, you will find that each one builds on the other and brings you even greater success.

    RPI’s Best Practice Standards are the building blocks to recognition success

    The same is true with RPI’s 7 Best Practices. Individually, they are important but taken as a whole they are transformative

    If you implement Best Practice No. 1 – Recognition Strategy – that’s a great start. Using Day-to-Day, Informal and Formal recognition will set you on the road to a great recognition program. If you add Best Practice No. 2 – Management Responsibility – you will certainly travel farther on that road. But adding the remaining five will help create a recognition program that will produce greater success for your company for years to come.

    RPI’s RPI Best Practice Standards are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. These standards have been amended periodically to reflect the lessons learned from previous program cycles, including suggestions from RPI Best Practice Standards judges and award recipients. 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.

    Here are the seven RPI Best Practice Standards®:

    Standard 1: Recognition Strategy
    Standard 2: Management Responsibility
    Standard 3: Recognition Program Measurement
    Standard 4: Communication Plan
    Standard 5: Recognition Training
    Standard 6: Recognition Events and Celebrations
    Standard 7: Program Change and Flexibility

    Click here for more information on the seven RPI Best Practice Standards.

    RPI is a great source of information about how to create a culture of engagement in your company. RPI offers a forum for learning more about the effectiveness of recognition and 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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    Creating Successful Recognition Marketing with Influencers

    Posted By David Layman, Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    How to Generate Excitement and Develop Recognition Champions for your Recognition Program

    A great communication plan is usually a major part of every great recognition program. But have you spent enough time and attention on communication’s rowdy cousin, marketing?

    What is the difference between the two? Isn’t communication part of marketing, and vice versa? Well, sort of, but there are some big differences that require careful planning for each.

    Amy Hurley, Program Director, Faculty and Staff Recognition for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says that maybe marketing should be receiving more attention in implementing and operating recognition programs. “Communication is getting information to people. Marketing comes with those influencers and champions who are taking that communication out and advocating for the program for you,” Hurley said. “Marketing is making it look enticing, making it look fun, raising the curiosity.”

    And for those programs that have been in place for many years, Hurley said marketing is all about “keeping things fresh and interesting.”

    So, whether putting together a marketing program for a new program or breathing new life into an existing one, where do you start? Hurley says the first thing to do is take a step back to figure out what types of tools are available within an organization.

    "This would be things like the influencers – the champions – the people you know are going to use it and take off and have great experiences and have enthusiasm," she said. “And then you need to know what communication tools you have internally that will be helpful to you – if there’s an intranet, a weekly email or a daily communication; also, if there’s something that’s goes out to managers and leaders, or other key parts of the organization.” Also look at other ways people get information in your workplace, like manager meetings or other types of meetings or events. However, she said, you can’t always use all these for every communication or marketing message or you may lose credibility, “or it will become invisible to people.”

    “You need to not only know what your tools are, but also look to those people who own some of the marketing communication tools and talk to them about where can my placement be, or how can I maybe have one of the three pictures you allow in this publication,” she said. “But if you have some credibility with how often you ask for placement you can say ‘I don’t always want the top spot, but for this one it makes sense.’

    “Everybody’s fighting for space on these communication tools and you want to make them as meaningful as possible.”

    Identifying your Recognition Influencers.

    As for how to find influencers for a program within your organization, she says the best way is to look around and identify the people who are excited about the program. Hurley has also used a company-wide communication asking for people who would like to volunteer as part of the organization’s recognition activities.

    “We find out who are our biggest supporters,” she said. “It’s like our own internal speakers bureau. They go and talk to other groups, go to staff meetings or help take charge of certain activities.

    “We also go to meetings and talk with our leadership, show them stats and things that are going on. We ask for their input and try to incorporate it somehow so they feel like they are vested in the programming. And we have some individual talks to get individual commitments and ask for help.”

    Putting it all together.

    In terms of planning marketing and communications for the year, Hurley said they use a 12-month calendar which identifies the focus of each part of the program and lists all the tools that can be used in each week or month of the program. They also have a communications calendar and an annual strategic plan mapping out what they want to accomplish in the coming year and the marketing tactics are laid out within that plan, she said.

    Hurley’s team markets an ongoing, nomination-based award three or four times a year. She is always impressed by the number of nominations for these awards, so they not only make sure to honor those who win the awards but also the people who submitted nominations.

    “One of the things we have incorporated into our programming is we when we do a celebration for our recipients, all the nominators are invited – they’re an active part of it, because we wouldn’t have a program without those people,” she said.

    Hurley has seen that the stories of award winners have made an impact on other employees. Recipients are acknowledged with awards and by telling their stories throughout the medical center and on social media.

    “We really make sure these people feel special, and they are special for what they do,” she said. “When managers and coworkers thank you for a job well done, and tell you you’re doing things well, that means more than a good parking spot, an increase in salary, a promotion – that’s the main reason they want to stay, that they feel valued.”

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    6 Tips to Supercharge Recognition Marketing with Short Term Promotional Campaigns

    Posted By David Layman, Tuesday, August 30, 2016

    A fun, well-planned short term promotion can energize (or re-energize) your recognition program.

    Whether you’re in the planning stage for a new recognition program or trying to bring back the excitement for an existing one, marketing, promoting and communicating is the spark for your program to catch fire with your employees.

    While having a well thought-out communication plan is one of the key elements of a successful program, it is also just as important to constantly and consistently market the program to the people you want to use it – your employees.

    This is where a short term promotion can be a huge help. Short term promotions can be critical to re-engage employees, drive usage or elevate program awareness. This short spike can be the foundation on which you can grow your entire program over the long term.

    Here are some ideas for where to start in creating a promotional campaign:

    1. Set specific goals and objectives.
      What are you trying to achieve and how will you define success? How will you measure an increase in participation? Promotions are designed to reach something real, measurable and specific.
    2. Make a finite plan.
      The most important question – how long will the promotion last? What is the budget? Who will be the champion for the promotion? (This should be a key influencer within your organization).

      What will your messaging look like and how frequent will it be? You should always use your program’s branding to give it a consistent look.
    3. Choose your team.
      Who will be on your promotion team? It’s a good idea to have a good mix of people from different departments in your organization, as well as managers who have influence and are empowered to implement the plan. Upper management buy-in is critical.
    4. Think strategies and tactics.
      Program elements. What tools will you use to drive the campaign? Create a theme. Create a message. You may want to use a combination of social media, printed materials, contests, celebrations, formal and informal company-wide events and promotional giveaways of program-branded items and swag. If possible, create a video to build excitement about your promotion. Then plan a formal and fun kickoff event.
    5. Think measurement.
      Measure and analyze as frequently as you can. Do they match your initial goals to see if it was successful. What worked, and what should be done differently next time. A survey of your employees can give you a lot of constructive feedback.
    6. Keep it going.
      Your promotion may have only lasted a couple weeks or a month, but you may look at using regular monthly or bi-monthly marketing through communications or events to continue to keep the recognition program top of mind. Keep monitoring and measuring participation. It may make sense to increase marketing periodically throughout the year.

      In planning your promotion activities, remember that the overarching purpose of a recognition program to create and perpetuate a culture in which employees feel appreciated and engaged. Great marketing and promotions activities will help drive greater participation and excitement about the program, which will in turn lead to greater employee retention and productivity, making your company a better place to work.

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