Skip to Content

Amping up your employee recognition program to be best-in-class

Written by: John O'Brien, Vice President, Employee Performance Group
(View Author Bio)

A culture of recognition is inspiring, resulting in a high level of engaged and loyal employees. Making employee inspiration integral to your workplace culture can be achieved through meaningful and intentional practices.

Employee recognition has long been a cornerstone of effective management. But today, as the workplace is becoming more dynamic, the ways organizations show they value their employees has become more important than ever.


What are Best in Class Standards?

A consistent and sustainable level of employee performance is vital to the success of any organization.

The establishment and maintenance of a positive workplace culture is an effective way to generate the level of employee engagement required to increase production and output.

Decades of extensive research has proven that regular and systematic recognition of improved performance, achievements, attitudes or behaviors (in other words, the creation of a recognition-rich culture) can add quantifiable value to an organization.

In order to fully understand “Best in Class” standards for recognition and reward programs, it is helpful to frame them in relation to the work of Recognition Professionals International.

On their website, RPI describes themselves as follows:

Recognition Professionals International (RPI) is the leader of workforce recognition through its focus on education, CRP certification and the RPI Best Practice Standards®. For over 20 years, RPI, a 501(6) nonprofit, has been driving employee engagement and culture through recognition. With organizations from all sectors, our members are building and sustaining successful employee engagement, talent development and retention practices.

RPI has its own, carefully researched set of seven Best Practice Standards that have evolved over the years as more research is conducted and more data is available.

These standards provide excellent guidelines to determine the quality and efficacy of recognition programs for all types and sizes of organizations.


1. Recognition strategy

There should be a clearly defined, written recognition strategy outlining the program’s philosophy and objectives.


2. Management responsibility

Management is held accountable for overseeing and actively participating in recognition programs.


3. Recognition program measurement

There will be regular evaluations of the effectiveness of the programs using proven, reliable metrics.


4. Recognition program communication plan

The organization establishes and maintains a strategic, transparent communication plan relating to all aspects of the program.


5. Recognition training

There will be documentation on how recognition training is designed and administered for managers and employees at all levels.


6. Recognition events and celebrations

Creative celebrations and award ceremonies will be effectively used to recognize the organization’s employees.


7. Recognition change and flexibility

Programs are consistently reviewed for possible modifications and restructuring of goals, objectives and employee recognition needs.


Whatever type or scale of recognition program you determine best fits your organization, it should adhere to the seven Best Practice Standards as determined by Recognition Professionals International.

Most importantly, the goal of any program should always be to acknowledge performance, achievements and behavior that reflect your organization’s culture.


At BIW we leverage the best practice standards to support our design methodology. Our customers benefit from not only having best-in-class design but also best in class results. Strategic recognition will not only support your company’s mission, vision and values, it will also create an emotional connection that reinforces culture and enhances your results-based recognition to drive business impacts.


Save or share Amping up your employee recognition program Download

The best way to get started is to get in touch.

Send us a message

Contact BI WORLDWIDE Engagement Agency
John O'Brien

John O'Brien

Vice President
Employee Performance Group

As Vice President of BI WORLDWIDE’s Employee Performance Group, John O’Brien’s primary focus is to develop employee engagement strategies and solutions that change the behaviors of employees to align with customers’ business objectives. An expert in Employee Recognition Strategy, he educates HR professionals around the world on how to best engage their employees through employee engagement strategies, solutions and best practices.