Recognize's Employee Recognition Program Maturity Model

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To assist in the discovery phase of implementing a new recognition program or platform at your organization, our team has created the Employee Recognition Program Maturity Model. This model is intended to help organizations determine their starting point with employee recognition, and to provide a framework for identifying major program milestones.

Being able to identify your company’s current phase in the journey is crucial to creating appropriate and attainable goals and KPIs over time. This way, you’ll be able to scale your programs and attain the level of maturity you’re aspiring to. Below, you will find a summary of each of the phases of maturity, as well as a list of key identifiers and attributes for each phase. Feel free to save a copy of this model or bookmark this article to refer back to as you meet milestones with your recognition programs!

Phase 1 - Ad-Hoc

  • Company values are not clearly defined
  • Yearly company goals are not broadly communicated to employees
  • There isn’t a dedicated team to oversee employee recognition efforts
  • Existing programs may lack leadership buy-in, consistency or formal structure
  • Lack of access to data/information is siloed
  • No standards have been set for recognizing employees

Phase 2 - Emerging

  • Little to no alignment between company values, business goals, and employee recognition
  • One or two people oversee recognition programs for the organization
  • Existing programs have some structure, but much of the process is manual and lacks consistency
  • Leaders expected to recognize employees, but may not have the tools to do so efficiently

Phase 3 - Established

  • Well-rounded, formal recognition program in place
  • Strong alignment between company values, business goals, and employee recognition
  • Leadership is bought in and setting the example
  • Criteria clearly defined

Phase 4 - Advanced

  • Fully integrated recognition program exists and employees are bought in
  • Recognition is a part of company culture, and training exists for new employees
  • Recognition components and programs are branded and feel like they are part of the company’s identity

Phase 5 - Exemplary

  • The recognition program is a key differentiator for the company
  • The recognition program sets a standard for other organizations and is recognized as best practice in the industry


If you’re unsure where your company stands, you can take our Program Maturity Assessment, which will also provide you with an assigned action plan for moving to the next phase with your programs!

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