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When you get good at recognising those who do their job well or go above and beyond their role, employees (and your business) benefit in many ways. Strategic recognition helps create the environment for more engagement because people are getting what they crave. So, how do you recognise strategically?

Strategic recognition is when you show appreciation for a success that helped improve the employee or customer experience that can be tied to your company’s values, purpose or objectives.

Think about how adding a little bit more beyond the “thank you” can turn a nice message into one that has a meaningful impact on your team and your company as a whole. To truly see the strategic impact of employee recognition, it’s key to embed it in your company culture with these three steps:

Step one: Tell the action
Step two: Connect to an area of focus or company value
Step three: Explain the impact

As more people get on board with making recognition a habit – a part of your work culture (or, the “way we do things around here”) – the ripple effect spreads throughout the organisation. The value of employee recognition is unmatched and your team’s (or company’s) goals and objectives will benefit.

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Let’s take a look at a real-life example to see how this impacts business results. NAHL Group is an umbrella group of four separate organisations who work across three different divisions and four geographically spread-out offices. At that time, each organisation under the umbrella operated separately and shared a number of central office amenities, including NAHL’s previous recognition offering and a Reward Gateway benefits platform – “SourceIt!”.

NAHL saw recognition as an important part of its people strategy to build a better sense of togetherness and bring its business entities closer together.

Unfortunately, NAHL’s incumbent recognition offering was financially-driven and didn’t strategically recognise good behaviours or reinforce company values. Working with Reward Gateway to implement a strategic recognition programme, NAHL also embedded a social recognition wall onto the platform to increase the visibility of recognition moments being sent across the Group by allowing colleagues to share in each other’s successes with likes and comments.

This was key for NAHL as it meant that recognition was no longer seen as a secret act, but in fact it was more strategic and provided employees with a fun, public and easy to use platform to both recognise one another and engage with each other’s recognition.


Overhauling its recognition strategy and offering allowed the Group to provide employees with a tangible benefit which directly improved its Employee Value Proposition – seen by overall engagement across NAHL improving from 60% in 2017 to 81% in 2018.

Strategic employee recognition goes beyond saying thank you – it’s about connecting your people to a bigger purpose every day and living your values in everything you do to truly impact your people and your business results. What next step will you take towards strategically recognising your employees?

Alexandra Powell

Alexandra Powell, Director of Client Cultural Insights, not only knows American Sign Language, but uses it to secretly communicate with her husband and kids at parties. Alex is a highly experienced employee engagement consultant, trainer and speaker. For over 20 years she has helped HR and business leaders implement strategies that drive true culture change.

Director of Client Cultural Insights

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