RPI, Microsoft and Basics for Successful Global Recognition

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Recognition Professionals International (RPI) 11th Annual Conference in California. Mary Kennett, Amgen’s senior manager of human resources, presented with me on how the Fortune 500 biotech company orchestrated the successful conception, development, implementation and global launch of its strategic employee recognition program. Mary will co-host a webinar with us on June 11 (join us by pre-registering here).
I also had the opportunity to attend several sessions at the RPI conference as well. I particularly enjoyed the presentation “Big Company Love: Basics for Planning Global Recognition in the Enterprise” given by Michael Norried, an agent engagement manager at Microsoft.

I couldn’t agree more with the basics Michael presented:

1) Culture is always first – Michael very emphatically discussed the importance of the company being dedicated to a recognition culture, “beginning at the executive level, through the management level, down to the last person hired,” and then ensuring executives and senior management become evangelists of the program with a clear understanding of the impact on the bottom line.

2) Build something innovative – Tips Michael offered included defining recognition goals, keeping the platform flexible, including options for team and group recognition as well as individual recognition, being sensitive to diverse groups and cultures, considering offline workers, setting a budget for recognition, and making sure to have visibility into total spend and spend patterns.

3) Leave no one out. Period. – Again, Michael is spot on with recommendations to include even low performers in the recognition program to encourage them to become top performers, and that any company with international locations cannot be focused solely on the country where headquarters are based.

4) Listen to others (tips I have learned) – Michael offers several additional tips such as “don’t have a million dollar platform and give out stress balls.” It’s critical to give people the reward of choice with meaningful, memorable, and culturally appropriate rewards. And “don’t embarrassed when asking for large, non-traditional budgets.” Best practice shows 1-2% of payroll is the minimum for fully effective programs. WorldatWork’s recent Trends in Employee Recognition survey reported a budget of 2.7% of payroll for recognition as the average.

What tips have you learned that we could all benefit from knowing?

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