Recognition schemes

I posted a while ago about employee awards, how to link explicitly with values. I’m also interested in what sort of recognition schemes other organsiations have in place. I’m really interested in any ideas on how to recognise and celebrate colleagues’ contributions to the organisation’s success. We’re reviewing our values which may result in changes. Whether they’re new or refreshed, I want to ‘launch’ our recognition approach alongside the values.

All ideas welcome!!

Hi Georgina - one of the companies that we have met is - who focus specifically on this. I’m sure they would have a load of ideas and expertise in this area. Happy to make an introduction if you like!

1 Like

Hi Georgina. I recently spoke with an organisation who reflects how employees live their company values on their annual bonuses. Ie. 100% of their bonus decision is based on how well each employee lives the company values on a daily basis. To make sure they are making a fair decision, their plan for 2020 is to design their measurement 360s in a way that will be only taking their company values into consideration. The percentage of bonus awarded to each individual will be decided based on a weighting system they will put in place.

1 Like

Thanks @nick I’ll check out their site and let you know if I’d like an intro. As a not for profit org, we struggle a bit with the balance between cost and no cost solutions!!!

Hi @Ale_Masetti That’s an interesting move. Do you know how they ‘measure’ how well someone is living the values through their performance? Were there deliverables? Is there guidance that helps a manager to make that judgement?

@Georgina, it’s not me doing it. I had a conversation with someone who does so I wouldn’t know the in-depth details of how they are doing it. However from our conversation, in every performance review touch point (they do it twice a year) their managers will request feedback from a number of each individual’s colleagues (360s). They are designing their 360s in a way only company values will reflect on the questions, managers then can make a more informed and fairer decision on whether that individual is eligible for bonus or not. As they are also using the responses from the 360s to decide the percentage of bonus recommended, I believe there is a framework to inform managers on scoring criteria.

1 Like

Thank you @Ale_Masetti!

Some excellent input thus far. The important thing is not to conflate recognition with reward. Colleagues invariably do - so you need to be sure which you’re looking at (and acting upon) otherwise a recognition scheme ends up being a reward scheme (which might be the plan - but make sure it is before you get too far down the road).


Yes, @markwalton. The two are often conflated which ends up being totally counterproductive. We are focussing on recognition, so it’s about valuing their contribution rather than offering incentives for reaching a target. It’s not easy finding the right balance!

In my experience the hardest part can be providing your people with examples of what ‘it looks like’ for them to be living/demonstrating the values. This can be integral for when you then want to recognize people for this. Sharing stories of people who have lived/demonstrated the values can be great for people to gain a better understanding and it can be inspiring for others.
I was involved with a recognition program that started at the bottom of the pyramid with peer to peer recognition (e.g. eCards), next level up was recognition from leaders with a small discretionary gift attached and then the next level up was company wide recognition (once a year). All based around the values. The annual recognition of ‘living the values’ was a formal nomination process that then went through a panel.


Thanks @katmckay. I really like the three levels and how it builds up to an annual and formal org-wide ‘event’. You’re right, being clear on what living the values looks like with real examples is so important. It’s something that hasn’t been done well but we’ve got a good opportunity as we’re refreshing our values and linking it with a five year strategy.

Definitely agree on differentiating between rewards / recognition!

On recognition, one of our offices has a monthly all-staff meeting with 5 minutes of values shout-outs at the beginning. At each meeting they choose one value and send an email in advance defining the behaviors associated with the value and asking staff to write a shout-out related to that value for one person on a sticky or index card. Then we do a popcorn/lightning round where people read theirs, and at the end everyone gives the card to the staff they shouted out (even if they didn’t get a chance to say publicly).

We also have annual values (we call them cultural tenets) awards where people vote on who exemplifies each tenet – that comes with a small cash prize.

And yes, regardless of recognition I think it is super important that your values have well-defined behaviors associated with them (and sometimes which behaviors are NOT those values) to make them meaningful.


Thank you @elana. That’s a lovely way to recognise colleagues. I also like the way you use cultural tenet rather than values. Sometimes words become overused which makes them (almost) meaningless. Rather than relying on ‘values’ using other ways to describe them can make them more meaningful. The behaviours are also essential for bringing them to life so they feel real.