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Topic: Appreciation

HR Director to HR Director

Six things to think about before implementing an employee recognition program

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From one HR leader to another: I know how tricky it can be to implement new employee programs. While something like employee recognition seems like a simple enough initiative, there are important nuances to keep in mind. Recognition can be a powerful force in improving workplace culture and helping people thrive at work, but if your recognition program misses the mark, you may miss out on cultural impact as well.

Here are six things you should think about before implementing a new recognition program. Whether you do it yourself, or partner with an experienced provider, how you design, implement, and support your solution will make all the difference.

#1: Define the “why” of recognition.

Whether you are trying to convince senior leaders to invest dollars and resources, training managers on the importance of recognition, or getting employee buy-in on a new program, the “why” of recognition is the most important thing to communicate. Why is recognition important, and what impact can it have on your organization? Think about the goals and dreams you have for your new initiative. Are you trying to improve the daily employee experience? Increase engagement? Be a more attractive place to work? Improve retention? Show employees they are valued? Whatever the reason for recognition, make sure it’s clear, specific, and aligned with your organization’s purpose. It is essential everyone knows there is a reason to recognize great work beyond the recognition itself.

#2: Keep all the nuances in mind when designing a recognition solution.

Many companies try to create their own home-grown recognition programs and fail because they don’t understand the nuances around creating a formal process for recognition. You’ll want to get specific about what kind of programs and tools your program needs. Think about things like:

• What are you trying to achieve with recognition?

• What behaviors do you want to recognize?

• How do you tie recognition to your company values and goals?

• What is the difference between a recognition program and an incentive program?

• What types of monetary vs non-monetary recognition should you include?

• What are the appropriate levels of awards?

• What types of awards do you want to have?

• How do you allocate available budgets?

• What approvals will you have (also known as the approval path)?

• How should recognition be presented, given, and publicized?

• How do you make your program successful?

If it seems daunting to do it all yourself, consider partnering with an expert to help guide you through recognition strategy and design.

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