I am often asked and I lead frequent workshops on how to create successful strategic employee recognition programs. Programs that deliver the bottom-line results the CEO expects, the appreciation and acknowledgment the employees deserve, and the simplicity of use managers need. Our formula is proven and successful at any number of Fortune 500 multinational companies. While I don’t have any plans to change it, I’m always on the lookout for how to make it better.

I recently found excellent advice in, of all places, an article on gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The author offers this list of the best ways to derail gender inclusion:

1. Decide not to do an assessment, build a plan, set goals, or establish benchmarks.
2. Task a small group of committed, passionate people with designing and implementing a change initiative—and expect them to succeed without a clear mandate, significant resources, intelligent guidance, or visible support from above.
3. Start implementation without the support of key people.
4. Refuse to assign supervisors specific responsibilities; fail to reward those who follow through.
5. Keep quiet about the initiative, allowing it to be perceived as low-priority or to be ignored altogether.
6. Let negative talk or obstructive behaviors pass without comment or notice.
7. Assume that efforts that are well received in one part of the organization (a mentorship program, employee resource group, or set of educational workshops) will translate seamlessly to other parts of the organization.
8. Do the same things again and again, although they haven’t resulted in the hoped-for outcomes.

If you want to derail a successful strategic employee recognition program, that’s the list you want to follow, too. If you’re putting out an RFP for recognition, but you decide to stick with catalog merchandise because that’s what you’ve always done, you won’t see any change; you won’t achieve your hoped for outcomes.

So what should you do? What’s the best way launch a strategic recognition program? Or restart efforts you may have slowed or stopped during the recession? We recently published the results of research on how companies changed their employee recognition approach in response to the recession and how they are now adapting their recognition programs during the economic recovery. The paper also offers seven recommendations to properly calibrate your program for the recovery. To find out the details, download “Restarting Recognition: Tap into the Power of Recognition during the Recovery.”

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