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RPI Best Practice Standards® Award
Recognition Champion Award
Harkins Education Award
Spotlight Awards

RPI Best Practice Standards® Program and Award

The mission of Recognition Professional International (RPI) is to enhance organizational performance through employee recognition by:

  • providing access to best practice standards, education, research, and the exchange of ideas,
  • creating opportunities for our diverse membership to grow professionally, and
  • advocating recognition and engagement strategies as a means to promote organizational excellence.

We believe that employee performance is the key to success for any organization. We know, based on extensive research, that employee performance is enhanced by systematic employee recognition, which is defined as the acknowledgement of individual and team behavior that supports an organization’s goals and values.

The purposes of the RPI Best Practice Standards® program are to:

  • Establish objective standards for evaluating employee recognition programs;
  • Recognize organizations that successfully implement recognition programs; and,
  • Provide illustrations of recognition RPI Best Practice Standards® with RPI’s membership.

The RPI Best Practice Standards® Awards honors organizations who implement the RPI Best Practice Standards®, which are based on knowledge gained from academic literature, professional conferences, and shared experiences in developing successful recognition programs. Standards 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.

There are 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

The RPI "Best Overall Recognition Program” award recognizes programs that are outstanding overall.

Recognition Champion

Pamela SabinRecognition Professionals International (RPI) is accepting nominations for the Recognition Champion Award in honor of Pamela Sabin. Pamela Sabin was a founding member of RPI, a charter member of the Board of Directors, and a true champion of employee recognition. The award will be presented at the RPI Annual Conference. The Recognition Champion nominees will be profiled in RPI’s newsletter and featured on the RPI website. Award recipients are encouraged to take an active role in promoting recognition through RPI leadership opportunities.

If you or someone you know exemplifies the qualities listed below, please complete the Recognition Champion Nomination Form and submit it to the RPI office by the specified deadline. Include the individual's name, a description of the organization/company, a list of the recognition program(s) initiated by the nominee, and a description of the obstacles the nominee overcame to implement these initiatives.

Include details about the outcome of the recognition initiatives. For example, indicate the percentage of total employees that participated; note if the organization realized its intended goals as a result of the initiative(s); note if the initiative(s) has/have become a part of the organization’s culture. Detail a specific recognition initiative that this person is especially proud to have developed.

This award is presented at the RPI Annual Conference. Award recipients are asked to register and attend the conference to be recognize for their contributions to the recognition industry.

The Recognition Champion Award in honor of Pamela Sabin honors people who exemplify the qualities of a recognition champion by the following criteria:

  • Display leadership in taking the initiative to spread the message throughout their organization.
  • Exhibit passion in promoting the principles of recognition by addressing and/or overcoming obstacles.
  • The organization's program and/or initiative demonstrates an on-going commitment to recognition practices including measurement.
  • The nominee demonstrates a commitment and serves as a role model for recognition practices in word and delivery.

Criteria of a true recognition champion is an individual who:

  • Passionately believes in the principles of recognition.
  • Has designed and implemented recognition systems within their organization.
  • Communicates, demonstrates and delivers recognition throughout the organization.
  • Overcomes management & employee indifference to the recognition strategy.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the importance of measurement/tracking in the on-going success of any recognition strategy.
  • Has outcomes to demonstrate the successful implementation and maintenance of their organization's recognition initiative.

Eligibility Guidelines:

  1. Nominations of RPI members and member self-nominations are encouraged.
  2. Nominee must be a RPI professional practitioner member for a period of one year prior to submitting a Recognition Champion nomination form.
  3. Recognition Champion Award winners are lifetime award winners and cannot be considered multiple times.
  4. Past and present RPI Board of Directors members are eligible to be awarded the Recognition Champion Award.

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Harkins Education Award

This award is given by the RPI Board of Directors to recognize members who have provided leadership and commitment to RPI’ education initiatives.

Past Winners

2019: Cori Champagne, MIT

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Spotlight Awards

The RPI Board of Director members nominate individuals for this award and vote on who receives these awards. The award is given for above and beyond behavior to those who continuously add value to the Association and whose dedication toward Recognition Professionals International is exemplary.

Past Winners

2019: Kathie Pugaczewski

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Thanks to our wonderful Awards Committee for their work:

Best Practices (BP) Judges

  • Shelley Judges
  • Roy Saunderson
  • Dee Hansford
  • David Cherrington ex officio

Awards Committee

  • Barbara Ruddy
  • Rita Maehling
  • Tonda Ferguson
  • Karey Stanley Boyd
  • Theresa Harkins
  • Carole Erken