by Roy Saunderson | June 17, 2019

Human-resources professionals or administrative assistants plan most corporate-recognition events in small to medium-sized organizations. This is a part-time role with a huge responsibility to ensure each event is a big success. To plan such an event without the expertise of a professional meeting planner, consider these top 10 tips.

1. Define the overall purpose of your recognition meeting. Why are you having this recognition event? Write down and communicate the purpose so everyone will know. Answer the "why" question on people's minds.

2. Determine the specific objectives you want to accomplish. What do you want to achieve from this recognition event? Plan out what you want to have happen before the event happens, during the event and afterward.

3. Think how you want your audience to feel. Consider how do you want attendees to react during and immediately following the recognition meeting. Recognition is a felt experience, and you need to orchestrate emotions here. 

4. Choose the absolute success criteria you must achieve. How will you know that your recognition meeting was a success? Determine metrics and articulate  your objectives and key results so success can be guaranteed.

5. Find out what your executive sponsor or CEO expects from this meeting. What do your C-suite leaders want to have happen? Remember: Your leaders are another audience you need to please. Rub shoulders with them and learn.

6. Decide on the right meeting venue. What will the best setting or site location be for this recognition event? Go back to your objectives and what you want to achieve. What fits best? What does your budget permit?

7. Get assigned help or volunteers to make the event happen. Who will work with you on the planning, design, marketing, communications and technology needs? Recognition events are much bigger than you think.

8. Figure out the best use of monies assigned to you. How should you best allocate the budget you've been given? Go back to your goals and what you want to achieve, then prioritize these factors and attach monetary numbers.

9. Align your recognition event with strategic objectives. How will this recognition event mesh with organizational objectives? Coordinate your event plans with your corporate values and business goals.

10. Don't forget the return on investment. What business impact or ROI was obtained from this recognition event? Video-record and capture attendee stories, gain feedback and measure how you did.

Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and is the chief learning officer of Rideau's Recognition Management Institute, a consulting and training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected] Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.