Getting Sr. Management to Buy into an Employee Recognition Program

September 18, 2017 Kleon Van

Whether you are starting a new employee recogniton program or managing an existing program, getting senior management buy-in is essential.

Without backing from the top, engagement cannot truly thrive because it lacks legitimacy.  Senior management support extends program life and encourages employee participation at every level of your organization.

So what is the best way to approach senior management about an employee engagement program? Here are five considerations that will strengthen your presentation.


Explain the numbers.

Studies show that executives need to know of a program’s impact on company performance or else they won’t see it as important. The analytics on employee engagement and how it benefits the bottom line. Use these numbers to support your argument. For example, ~70% of the U.S. working population is “disengaged,” costing the US about $450B-550B each year in lost productivity (Gallup).

Be sure to also include the costs associated with the change or continuation and the expected return on investment.

Adjust your pitch.

When communicating your idea to other people, you want to do it in a way that resonates with the audience. Management typically wants to know how an employee engagement program will affect your organization’s business objectives. Explain how your employee engagement plan will help move the company forward and reinforce desired employee behaviors. Consider mapping engagement tactics to specific behaviors that drive your company’s specific business success.

Survey employees and present results.

A view of current employee engagement at the company will make your argument more relevant to upper management. Get an “emotional baseline” with an employee engagement survey, asking questions such as, “Do you feel valued for what you do?” or “Does your  manager show appreciation for your efforts?” There are many paid and free survey tools you can use such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. A quick internet search will supply you with questions to use as a guide.

Give insight into competitors.

Sometimes, you have to take a look at your competition and present what they’re doing to really hit home with management. You can often see how your competition is doing by going to their site and checking how they present their employee culture. Take a look at their social media pages or reviews on to find mentions of an employee engagement program. Showing how an employee engagement program is benefiting other companies will go a long way toward making your case.

Show best practices.

Include best practices to show employee engagement tactics that are proven to produce positive effects for organizations. Show how you will tailor these tactics to your company and the expected results. For example, a communications strategy is considered a best practice for employee engagement programs. Explain how you will communicate the program to staff and keep everyone updated on the program’s successes


Showing the value of an employee recognition  program to the decision makers in your office may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really just a matter of preparation. The advantage of employee engagement will speak for itself when you present the “what’s in it for me” factor backed up by numbers; an analysis of your company’s current employee engagement status and a view into how competitors benefit from employee engagement; and a plan for including best practices.


About the Author

Kleon Van

Kleon Van is a Marketing Team Lead at Perks Worldwide.

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