Meeting on Employee Recognition

Ask Madison: Who's in Charge of the Rewards and Recognition Program?

May 1, 2021
| ByJudd Weisgal
  • Is it HR? What type of experience should the program manager have? AskMadison looks at the skill sets needed by the employees who create and manage the program designed to spread appreciation, cheer, and goodwill to the whole organization. And it's important to note they are NOT simply "the party planning committee."

Where does the responsibility lie for creating and managing a company-wide employee rewards and recognition program?

Historically speaking, employee rewards and recognition programs often live under the Human Resources umbrella. Of course, depending on the size of the organization and the breadth of the program you create, you may find that a segment of the HR department should very well be carved out and dedicated to this task.

After all, where better than to park a program with the people who know the people?

But make no mistake - launching and maintaining a program that is a critical component to the foundation of your culture is no small feat. It would be unfair and unwise to relegate this as "just another project" to an already-busy and inundated HR team member. Instead, your R&R program should be treated as an entity, intertwined throughout the organization and spearheaded by a passionate, detail-oriented, trained human resource professional who embodies the culture you want to create. 

Then, you build a support team around them to ensure a truly successful program for your team, who deserves it more than ever.

Setting up a program for success starting with leadership

As we noted earlier in our blog series on how to make your business case for an R&R program, the HR team member who serves as the owner of this program must secure an executive leadership sponsor to support and champion the program to the employee base and other executive members.  

Statistics show that employees increasingly appreciate the recognition from managers and will further engage with the program if the initiative is championed starting at the top. It reinforces its value and solidifies its importance as part of your corporate culture.

As part of your R&R management team, the program owner should have proven project management skills to be able to keep all the moving parts aligned. This professional will understand your organization's HR function and have a direct connection to the employees. They will be visionary for how your R&R program can underscore the type of organization you strive to be and have a detail-oriented eye for the different nuances of the program and strong interpersonal skills for listening to and drawing feedback from employees about their expectations. They may also need the assistance of a coordinator who can traffic information and support the role.

The success of an Employee Rewards and Recognition program doesn't stop at HR.

To uncover and implement the many facets of a truly robust program, you will need assistance from other departments in the organization, like:

  • Accounting and Finance
    For obvious reasons, of course, since reward and recognition programs require spending. These team members can also help recommend where the dollars are best spent and project how the program costs can actually have a cyclical effect in demonstrating gains in productivity, employee retention, and more (it's those important numbers again!).
  • IT
    Your technology team will play an essential role in integrating your current employee programs with any online platforms you incorporate for R&R, especially social recognition components and online redemption storefronts. It is necessary that your employees can access the new program through a seamless experience with an intuitive design. Training for the program managers is critical to delivering the program to the employee base in the simplest way possible.
  • Marketing, Communications, and Sales
    You've built an incredible program that celebrates the people who comprise your organizational success. Make sure they know about it, how to use it, and let the world know you have it, too! Your marketing and communications team will be invaluable in disseminating the information about your R&R program and generating message points to excite your team and entice them to engage. From internal communications pieces and social media promotions to in-house kick-off events, the marketing arm of your organization will spread the word.

Plus, they will help develop internal education tools for training and rolling out the program to show your team how to use it. They work very closely with Sales, who are often the recipients of many rewards and incentive programs that could fall under the program umbrella. And consequently, Sales will be a voice to the outside world in letting potential partners and business prospects about your company culture: one that values their employees and generates actions and processes to show it.

  • Industry Expert
    Finally, while stakeholder buy-in, HR oversight, and cross-departmental assistance are necessary for a program to flourish, a partnership with a strong employee reward and recognition provider will take your program to a new level. Experts, such as our team at Madison, offer proven and established solutions. Innovative technology platforms like
    MAESTRO that integrate social recognition, anniversary and milestone celebrations, performance-based management, along with global reward and redemption storefronts, incentive travel rewards, and more, will provide a comprehensive and robust system of celebration that feels personalized to your employees while establishing your corporate brand as a sought-after place to work. Industry leaders have built these programs based on listening to what customers truly want and are available to guide eager companies in planning, implementing, and supporting the solution that works best for them.

Employee Rewards and Recognition is a company-wide initiative

As we pass the year mark after such a profound event like the global Pandemic, we recognize that showing support and value within the walls of work should be a hallmark of a forward-thinking company that will thrive. Setting up your R&R program with exemplary leadership who believes in its mission and surrounding them with a cast of supporting teammates vested in its success is your first step to building a solution that will adapt and grow against almost any challenge that we are faced with in the future.

At Madison, it’s not business as usual, but instead, we are focused on support. Supporting our invaluable customers by maintaining business continuity, sharing advice about new working models and providing an opportunity to connect with others. 

While you adjust to your new working routine – whether it be at home or part of an essential service - please join the conversation. Ask Madison is an opportunity to share ideas, ask questions and help create our ‘new normal’, together. We believe that employee recognition is an essential business function and that, now more than ever, it is our responsibility to celebrate each other, recognize every milestone and collaborate together—even though we may be sitting apart.

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