by Tonda Ferguson, CRP | September 30, 2013
Tonda Ferguson_Ask_the_Experts
Tonda Ferguson

Every week, we feature a piece of expert advice from a certified recognition professional (CRP) from Recognition Professionals International, an industry association dedicated solely to understanding, improving, and advancing employee recognition & rewards in the workplace.

Q: Do you think it’s important for a company to brand their internal rewards and recognition efforts?

A: Working for Southwest Airlines, our company has a very strong external brand. Being associated with Recognition Professionals International (RPI) and having the opportunity to learn from so many great companies associated with this organization, I have learned how important it is to brand your internal recognition programs. 

If you don’t put all of your programs under one umbrella, it could start to feel like a “flavor-of-the-day” approach. When you brand all of your programs onto one platform, it’s much easier for your employees to see the multitude of your efforts. Recognition no longer lives in various silos (departments) with limited visibility. Instead, employees have visibility to all the ways the company appreciates, recognizes, and celebrates their achievements.

About Our Expert: Tonda Ferguson, CRP, serves on the Board of Directors for Recognition Professionals International and is the senior director of employee engagement and travel at Southwest Airlines, a company known for putting its employees first. Ferguson began her Southwest career 30 years ago and launched the airline’s Employee Communications Department. She is an original member of Southwest’s Culture Committee, which Southwest Airlines President Emeritus Colleen Barrett began in 1991 to ensure that the airline’s corporate culture was enhanced, enriched, and nurtured. Southwest’s corporate culture has been studied by companies all over the world: In 1991, a business book titled NUTS! was written about it. Ferguson also serves on Southwest’s “Best Place to Work” committee and was part of the team that was named the Top Communications Department in the nation by PRWeek. She’s also an IABC Gold Quill recipient. In 2007, she received the Founder’s Award, the highest honor at Southwest Airlines.