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A Conversation with Outgoing RPI Board Member Rita Maehling

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Tuesday, January 2, 2018
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The New Year will bring changes, as Minnesota-based Rita Maehling is leaving the RPI board – but certainly not leaving the world of recognition professionals – after serving a term-plus. We had a conversation with her about her time with RPI and the industry’s changes over the past nearly two decades.

Tell us a little about when and why you got involved with RPI.

I joined RPI in 2002 when I became an independent consultant. I had a passion around recognition and had actually co-authored a book on the topic in 1990. I wanted to share my experience and continue to work with others, so I was thrilled to find a bevy of like-minded practitioners and service-providers with whom I could learn and contribute.

Initially I was a member at large and then in 2004 I got involved in setting up the certification process. I was a member of the education committee and we presented a proposal to the board which was accepted, to embark on what we now call the Certified Recognition Professional® certification program.

CRP is one of the hallmarks of your time with RPI. How did that start?

I became the instructional designer for the original four courses. That was a paid position that I bid on and was selected. We started with CRP 1 in 2006, then launched CRP 2 in the fall of that year. In 2007 we launched CRP 3 and 4. We selected instructors and continued doing training both at the conference and on-site.

We had lots of opportunity to work with some great people at Rideau and trained 60 of their staff members, which was a huge undertaking for them. We worked with lots of great organizations to bring CRP into their workplaces. It’s been an honor to watch that grow and expand.

Making CRP available online has been a big change. What was your role in that transition?

I served as the project manager on the first conversion of CRP 1 to an online format. Subsequently I worked on all of the online conversions.

It allows people from the comfort of their own home or from their workplace to do self-paced learning and become a Certified Recognition Professional® within probably a third the time of the classroom program.

When did your role on the RPI board start?

I joined the board around 2012 and stayed on for one term, then I filled in for someone who had to roll off the board, so I’ve served for around four years.

I retired from working last year, so I’m kind of scaling down my professional organizational role somewhat. I still plan to remain a member and attend the conference, participating with the education team. I won’t have a leadership role any longer, but I am sure I will be a sideline coach moving forward. From a legacy standpoint, everything is in pretty good shape and people can build on the foundation we started in 2006.

How has the industry changed most significantly during your career?

The technology has been the biggest change, for sure. Everything was paper-based when I started and things were more laborious from an administrative standpoint. The technology has added speed, efficiency and the capability for social media recognition. We’re finding new and great ways to recognize people like internal Facebook pages, for example. Tracking and even fulfillment have changed greatly due to technology. It’s really streamlined and added much ease and capability to the industry.

What are the plusses of serving on the RPI board?

If people are considering a board position, even longer term, I think it’s the best was to leverage your membership, by getting involved in the strategy of the organization. There is such a wealth of knowledge within the board and within the organization itself from myriad perspectives. You have huge organizations like Wells Fargo and Cargill down to the little fish in the big pond. You’ve got government and healthcare and business providers, so everyone brings a different perspective and it really is the melting pot and the pushes all those organizations forward.

From a resume-builder standpoint it looks good to say you’ve been on the board of directors, and it’s great from a professional development standpoint. There are many great benefits to getting more involved.

Tags:  CRP  recognition strategies  RPI board 

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Revamped CRP 1 Now Live for On-Line Learners

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Thursday, December 21, 2017
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The world of employee recognition is constantly changing and evolving, so it makes sense that the renowned education program designed with employee recognition in mind – the popular Certified Recognition Professional® courses – are changing with the times.

It’s that need to be up-to-date and relevant which led to a major revamp of all of the courses in the past year and the final changes to CRP 1 are now complete. Hargrove was part of the team that set to work over the summer remaking CRP 1 – the first of the program’s four sections – and their efforts are now live, having been completed in the late fall.

CRP 1 was the program’s first course, designed to introduce the principles and best practices of recognition. It had gone online several years ago, and after they had revamped CRP 2, 3 and 4, a team led by Rita Maehling and including Hargrove and Dee Hansford felt in order to reflect the new information and new materials included in the newly-developed on-line portion of the program, revisions were needed.

CRP 1 is the foundation for the certification courses. It is an overview method that introduces the entire process. So the revisions ensure that participants are getting the most current thinking in the recognition area.

“We divided and conquered. Dee took the actual on-line slide and I did the learning guide,” Hargrove said of the lengthy and thorough revision project. “She pulled in some existing slides, some slides from the other courses and she also worked with the narration to get the voice talent. Once she had identified the slides’ content, I went through and developed a learning guide to accompany the course.”

The idea was to create a new CRP 1 learning guide that a person can download and use as a reference while they are going through the course and after the course as well. The team included general things like a glossary, references and places where participants can find additional information so that it will be useful beyond just going through the on-line course. It was a necessary change.

“It was not in alignment with the other three courses, and since CRP 1 is the prerequisite for 2, 3 and 4, we wanted to make sure that the information was current and aligned with the new information in 2, 3 and 4,” Hargrove said. “The RPI 7 Best Practices® didn’t change. That’s the standard. But the supporting information and the content that was included in the new 2, 3 and 4 had changed, so we wanted to make sure we were bringing in as current information as we could.”

For example, there are several surveys that different organizations do on an annual and bi-annual basis. They referred to those studies and offered a reference so that people can go back each year and get the newest study information.

And by having the course on-line, people can learn at their own pace, although Hargrove admits there are advantages to both on-line and classroom learning.

“From a participant perspective, on-line courses are certainly more convenient in that you can do it in your own time. The pros are the time commitment, because you can come back to the course, finish a little bit and come back to do more, and you can go over things as many times as you like,” Hargrove said. “In a facilitator-led course you have the advantage of other people who are in a similar position as you, being able to discuss different challenges and how other people handle those challenges.”

She added that the team of Rita, Dee and Vicki did great work together.

“It’s always enjoyable to work with them and get a project done,” Hargrove said. “We hope it will be of value to the participants who are going through CRP. Even if they just take CRP 1 I think it will give them a good foundation of how to organize their own recognition program or how to modify an existing recognition program.”

For more information about the CRP program, please visit www.recognition.org/crp_certification. CRP 2 and 3 will be offered at the RPI Conference in Nashville in April, 2018.

Tags:  7 Best Practices  Certification  CRP  education  online learning 

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CRP Success Story: Jami Young, Asurion

Posted By By Jess Myers, RPI, Wednesday, October 18, 2017
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The mantra of life-long learning is alive and well in Jami Young, CRP. A senior manager of customer solutions engagement at Nashville-based Asurion, Young completed her CRP certification nearly a decade ago. But through the many resources available in the employee recognition world, her skills are in a state of constant updating.

If you own an insurance policy on your smartphone, there’s a good chance you’re an Asurion customer. The company, with around 10,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada, offers technology insurance policies. Young handles rewards and recognition for their call center operations and had been there for two years.

“I was able to come in and implement a system of measurements and involve our executive leadership in recognition,” Young said. “I needed to make sure we’re able to change as the business changes. I had training that was very conceptual, and now that I’m in it I see the importance of the structure involved in the recognition strategy model. When you’re in this role it’s such a collaborative effort and you have to able to show value at every step. I feel like CRP training was a huge driver  in that.”

Her CRP journey began nine years ago in Texas as Inspirus, where she worked with Theresa Harkins.

“Because Theresa was a certified trainer, we actually got to do CRP certification on site, which was really cool,” Young recalled. “That was my first jump into CRP training and I loved it. I feel it taught me a lot about why my customers were the practitioners of recognition, why it was important, how you show value to the rest of your organization and then how you start from scratch.”

Nearly a decade later, Young uses what she learned in the CRP program regularly.

“If I get in a rut, I have all of my CRP notebooks on hand and I’ll pull them out,” she said. “If I have to create a communications plan or a training program, I’ll pull out my CRP notebooks to see what the industry says and what my training says about the best practices in those areas.”

And the information available from RPI is an additional wealth of continuing education.

“I go to the RPI website all the time. There are really great whitepapers and presentations that you can review to see what other teams have done,” she said. “When it comes to this industry there are a lot of different ways of doing things. I’m not a HR professional, I’m an employee engagement professional. I’ve been on the operation support side of things, but I can get a lot of great information about what other companies do to drive recognition from the RPI website.”

A regular attendee at the RPI conference, Young said that with experience comes a propensity to tell colleagues about CRP certification and what a benefit it’s been in her career successes.

“It’s always going to be a part of what I do,” Young said. “I drank the Kool-Aid about recognition a long time ago so any chance I get I’ll push the certification to help people think about how they provide value. I think of CRP as a great way of helping strengthen our team. I want others to drink the Kool-Aid as well and I think RPI is a great way to do that.

 

Tags:  7 Best Practices  CRP  employee engagement 

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CRP Graduates Tout The Certification’s Value

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Friday, August 11, 2017

Since its launch a decade ago, recognition professionals from every corner of North America have learned the value of certification to their career and their organization’s employee engagement success. Recognition Professionals International made all of its Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) courses available online in February, to grow our graduate community.

In recent weeks, several recognition professionals have offered their testimonials about CRP, and the value it provides in the profession:

“Since becoming a Certified Recognition Professional nine years ago, I have used the knowledge, expertise and industry best practices I gained to help my clients structure award-winning, sustainable programs.  Each year RPI offers opportunities for professional development that allow CRPs to remain on the cutting edge of this dynamic industry and I am grateful to be a part of this thriving community.” – Dee Hansford, CRP, Dee Hansford Consulting.

“I have found the CRP certification to be valuable not only to my professional growth, but most importantly a great benefit to the clients that I support. The certification has given me the confidence to guide clients to best practice recognition solutions. This is critical for building a culture of appreciation and the long-term success of their recognition initiatives.” – Kelli Johnson, CRP, Launch Manager, O.C. Tanner Company.

“Having worked in and out of the recognition industry for the past 15 years, it wasn’t until I went through the certification process that I fully understood the systematic methods and strategies of recognition and incentives. Obtaining my CRP and going through recertification has provided a fundamental foundation as well as competencies required for implementing and assessing programs/campaigns.  If you are thinking about pursuing your certification, just GO FOR IT!”  – Lori Rains, MA, CRP, Senior Program Manager, Spear One.

“Obtaining my CRP was the icing on the cake when I was called to write a reward and recognition program for over 10,000 employees. Having the resources and materials to reflect on my learning ensured that we had a quality recognition program using the best poractice standards.  I encourage anyone who has a passion or their job supports reward and recognition to take the RPI CRP program.  The networking and information is invaluable!  Thanks RPI.” – Carole Erken, CRP, Director of Human Resources, Kaiser Permanente.

“Going through the RPI certification was certainly a turning point in my career. As a solutions provider, it was extremely beneficial to learn more in depth about the science behind recognition and study the countless examples of what drives success. There were many ‘A-ha’ moments throughout. The focus on seven best practices and why they are crucial to a successful recognition program forms the basis of what RPI is all about. Amazing organization, I’d highly recommend the CRP courses they have certainly helped in my career, by influencing our internal strategy for recognition as well as how we deliver for our clients.” – Mark A. Prine, CRP, Vice President, National Accounts, EGR International Inc.

Goals of the CRP program include:

  • To raise the professional standards of those engaged in employee recognition.
  • To encourage continuing education for professional development.
  • To encourage self-development by offering guidelines for achievement in the employee recognition profession.
  • To identify and award special recognition to those persons who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of those principles and practices of employee recognition and also laws governing and affecting employee recognition.

CRP designation consists of four courses and exams. All CRP candidates receive the comprehensive learning guide which includes valuable templates, worksheets and case studies that can be utilized to implement a recognition program based on RPI’s Seven Best Practices. Each course is $595 for practitioner premium/business partner members; $750 for basic RPI members and $795 for non-members. Until October 1, 2017, participants can save $75 on each course by using the promo code “Recognition17” when registering.

CRP designation demonstrates to leaders, peers and clients a commitment to continuing education and excellence in the discipline of workforce recognition. RPI’s program is renowned as the most comprehensive, authoritative resource for individuals seeking to develop and test their skills and knowledge within this field.

RPI offers a webinar featuring additional testimonials from several CRP graduates. For more information, please visit the official RPI website, www.rec

 

Tags:  certification  CRP  employee engagement  recognition strategies 

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Business Case Data Shows Employee Recognition Value

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Monday, June 5, 2017
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There are many recent studies that show the impact of highly-engaged employees to the organization, and the impact recognition has to increasing engagement. You need this data when building your business case for recognition.

Here are a few examples:

Gallup Employee Engagement Study – July 2015

  • “Gallup categorizes workers as ‘engaged’ based on their ratings of key workplace elements that predict important organizational performance outcomes. Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work.”
  • “Employee engagement is directly influenced by their managers’ engagement.”
  • “The percentage of U.S. workers engaged in their job continued to hold steady at 31.9%...but is higher than it was in 2011-13.”

Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For shows over two times better stock returns than the general market.

The Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition by Achievers

  • Engaged employees perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave their organization.
  • Organizations with high engagement rates are 78% more productive and 40% more profitable than those organizations with low levels of engagement.
  • 80% of employees stated recognition is a strong motivator of work performance and 70% stated they would work harder with continuous recognition.

Internal Business Case

Obviously there are numerous studies supporting the value of recognition to the bottom line. Sometimes, it is even more powerful to have a study inside your organization.

If you measure employee engagement, or some other type of assessment that looks at how willing an employee is to spend extra time and effort, if they speak positively about the organization and if they say good things about your organization, you can use that as a beginning point.

Approach:

  • Results-neutral…take an unbiased view of the outcome. Understand the relevance of the engagement measure.
  • “So what?”…identify practical steps to improve business performance through behaviors measured on the survey.
  • Scientific approach…control for as many of the variables that affect both engagement and measures of business performance.
    • To accomplish this, select one business or department;
    • Work with the production and finance teams to gather clean, accurate performance data for the analysis;
    • Keep the data collection confined to one specific region to avoid the culture bias;
    • Ensure the business is big enough to give a large enough snapshot;
    • Assure the metrics used are rigorous and consistent.

Compare locations of the business units that score above a certain score and below a certain score on the employee engagement type assessment by such things as turnover, efficiency, shrink (product loss), return on investment (or other overall financial measure), safety and customer loyalty/satisfaction.


The business data case studies and internal survey samples are included in the course materials in the Certified Recognition Professional program. For more information on CRP certification, please visit http://www.recognition.org/?page=crp_certification. To view a webinar on CRP, click here.

Tags:  CRP  engagement  recognition business case  ROI on recognition strategy 

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RPI Certified Recognition Professional® Courses Now Available Online

Posted By Jess Myers, RPI, Friday, February 10, 2017

You don’t think of February as back to school time. But in the world of employee recognition, it’s that time to sharpen your pencils and meet your new teacher.

That’s our excited way of announcing that all of the Recognition Professionals International Certified Recognition Professional® (CRP) courses are now available online. The news went out via a world-wide press release.

“This is an exciting time for RPI and for the many world-wide employee recognition professionals seeking to become certified in the trade, with all of our valuable courses now available in both online formats as well as in-person at RPI’s annual conference,” said Rita Maehling, CRP, RPI board member and chair of RPI’s Learning Action Team. “We know all effective recognition programs involve assessment, strategy, implementation and review. The CRP program is designed to be a guide through this process, for the benefit of organizations and also business providers everywhere.”

The goals of the CRP program are straightforward, and include:

  • To raise the professional standards of those engaged in employee recognition.
  • To encourage continuing education for professional development.
  • To encourage self-development by offering guidelines for achievement in the employee recognition profession.
  • To identify and award special recognition to those persons who have demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of those principles and practices of employee recognition and also laws governing and affecting employee recognition.

It’s an extensive educational experience. CRP designation consists of four courses and exams that can either all be taken online, at the 2017 RPI Annual Conference (April 30-May 2 in Fort Lauderdale, FL), or a combination of both. All CRP candidates receive the comprehensive learning guide which includes valuable templates, worksheets and case studies that can be utilized to implement a recognition program based on RPI’s Seven Best Practices. Each course is $595 for practitioner premium/business partner members; $750 for basic RPI members and $795 for non-members.

The driving idea behind CRP designation is to demonstrate to leaders, peers and clients a commitment to continuing education and excellence in the discipline of workforce recognition. RPI’s program is renowned as the most comprehensive, authoritative resource for individuals seeking to develop and test their skills and knowledge within this field.

RPI offers a webinar featuring testimonials from several CRP graduates with plenty more information. And of course, details are available on the RPI web site.

So listen closely – the school bell is ringing in the world of employee recognition.

Tags:  CRP  recognition 

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