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The Dow Chemical corporate-wide objective was to devise a reward and recognition initiative
designed to motivate Dow’s 45,000 person, international workforce while maintaining program
consistency on a global scale. Dow needed to address complex economic and cultural issues
that included standardizing communications in different languages and accounting for differences
between global currencies and the standard of living in each country.
Recognition@Dow was implemented in January 2005 to recognize people at Dow that exhibit
high performance – behaviors, actions and results – that contributes to the achievements of
personal, business function and company goals. All employees of Dow, including those
employed at subsidiaries and joint ventures that are 50% or more Dow owned, are eligible to
participate in the Recognition@Dow program. They may nominate fellow employees as well as
receive recognition awards, themselves.
Recognition@Dow guidelines outline the criteria for recognition that are grounded in Dow’s
Strategic Plan – encouraging employees to focus their efforts by familiarizing themselves with
Dow's corporate goals and recognizing what's important to the company as a whole. Nominators
follow the guidelines to decide on appropriate recognition levels, identifying specific employee
behaviors and performance that advance the company’s Strategic Plan. In addition to delivering
timely and meaningful recognition in the form of awards, Dow also encourages managers to
personally recognize outstanding employees or team members at team meetings.
Nominators have access to a nomination site where, at any time, they can nominate colleagues
to receive awards, regardless of geographic boundaries. This site is geared to peer-to-peer
nomination as well as manager-to-subordinate programs that require approval loops to be
created, so pre-assigned “Approvers” can view a nomination order and decide to either “approve”
or “disapprove” a nomination. Nominators are asked to use the "award wizard" (which is built into
the Globoforce platform) to help determine the appropriate award level for the level of
contribution. Based on the nominator's responses to questions Dow developed, the tool
assesses a nominee's behaviors and recommends an award level appropriate for the behaviors
and results. The tool helps make the process easy and removes barriers where the employee
and leader might work in different locations by enabling peers or local leaders to submit
nominations when they see deserving contributions.
With a diverse, global workforce, Recognition@Dow allows for flexibility and accommodates
cultural differences by offering personal choice. Language, currencies, and local "shopping" are
addressed within the Globoforce platform. By using local gift certificates, employees can shop in
their local market place for their local brands.
To assure the program’s success, Dow developed a comprehensive communications plan to
raise awareness of Recognition@Dow, increase participation, boost performance, and most
importantly, help to build an appreciation culture. The majority of the launch activities focused on
generating content and communicating program messages through existing communications
channels such as the Dow Intranet, corporate newsletter and HR website. In addition, training
workshops were developed for leaders (managers) to generate program awareness and
The first 11 months demonstrated on target usage for the program, with over 93,000 recognition
events passing through the system. Dow saw 100% of eligible participants participate in the
Dow conducted a Leader Satisfaction Survey, which, in Q3 of 2005, found over 80% of leaders
to be “extremely pleased” or “very pleased” with the Recognition@Dow program. These results
align with the customer satisfaction goals Dow set when the program was launched.