Does Having a Recognition Strategy Make a Difference?
Posted by Cathleen Urdi on Mon, Mar 13, 2023 @ 01:00 PM

Many CHROs ask how a recognition strategy would affect their organization. Putting a plan in place requires a lot of work and effort, but does it make a difference in the employee experience? According to our 2022 Job Seeker Survey Report*, 20% of employees seek employment elsewhere due to a lack of recognition, appreciation and respect. To help you decide whether your organization needs one, we’ve shared why we believe it is important in greater detail. 

Benefits of a Recognition Strategy

We have always appreciated a solid recognition strategy’s alignment with organizational culture, business, and people strategies. This document spells out the purpose of recognition and its driving force on an organization and all strategic initiatives.

A well-articulated recognition strategy shows the direction an organization wants to go in with employee recognition and a careful plan with objectives to achieve success. It addresses the interpersonal recognition practices and the need for substantial participation in online and administered recognition programs.

A recognition strategy provides you with overall objectives to reach, the areas you want to improve and the goals for how to do this. With the areas of focus identified, you will know how to enhance essential areas and gaps needed to make employee recognition successful.

A written recognition strategy is also the best way to get recognition practices and programs discussed at the executive leadership team table. A recognition strategy will elevate the importance of recognition in the eyes of senior leaders.

Use as an Operational Guide

Your recognition strategy and plan will become an operational guide for running and improving recognition practices and programs. It can guide you to perform your responsibilities, align recognition with your organization’s people and business strategies, and make the desired progress you need with your recognition programs.

All you need to do is take the areas of focus identified in the gap analysis and prioritize them in your recognition plan. These will have identified goals that will help achieve the overall strategic objective.

You can use the focus areas as a priority list if you work independently and do not have access to other people as resources. You can tackle each area of focus one at a time as best as possible, and it could take over a year to complete.

The focus area topic might identify when you need access to resources, such as communications or learning development. Then you can assign teams of volunteer employees to work in that focus area. This allows you to work on different areas of focus simultaneously and accomplish your plan within one year.

We usually recommend that focus area teams set up 90-day action plans. These teams will do their best to work on assignments within their typical work responsibilities. Expect each team to submit a report with their goal progress every 30-days. At the 90-day mark, they should submit a one-page progress report on what they have done. Use this information from each team to create your quarterly report to your executive sponsor.

Your recognition strategy becomes the perfect blueprint for making recognition a great success in your organization.

When You Don’t Have a Recognition Strategy

All right, so what happens when you don’t have a recognition strategy?

WorldatWork revealed that only 49 percent of organizations had a written recognition strategy. That’s not a stellar report. Yet, 94 percent of those organizations are aligned with their people and business strategies.

Here’s what we have seen with organizations without a written recognition strategy:

  • There is a lack of clarity by leaders, managers, and employees as to the purpose of recognition practices and programs.
  • No direction to take recognition practices and programs or where to focus your efforts.
  • Not enough managers see the value or need for employee recognition.
  • As you can expect, too many employees do not feel valued and appreciated for their contributions to the job.
  • You lack the linkage of recognition with the organization’s strategy and goals.
  • Likely not have an executive leadership team member who will go to bat for the cause of recognition.
  • You won’t have an action plan to lead recognition and make needed improvements.
  • A lack of recognition programs in each of the everyday, informal, and formal recognition levels.
  • Little or no evaluation and accountability for recognition in the organization.

There are minimal downsides to having a recognition strategy and plan. A small investment in time is required to conduct the gap analysis first. Then you can facilitate and wordsmith recognition purpose and philosophy statements, along with creating a concrete recognition plan to address the strengths and weaknesses of current recognition practices and programs.

*The 2023 Job Seeker Survey Report will be released later this year. Be on the lookout for it! 

Topics: employee recognition

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