Planning Guides

Spot Recognition Planning Guide ft. Medidata

Best practices from Medidata for motivating and recognizing top talent

Spot recognition is a powerful tool for building employee motivation and productivity rates. It's the opportunity for your company to formally outline what great work looks like, creating a shared standard of excellence. And from there, a tool for inspiring employees to exceed those expectations, leveraging a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

Beyond their ability to create clear guidelines, we also love that spot recognition programs are inherently social. They offer a platform for celebrating the great work of those top performers across the organization through ceremonies and communications, spotlighting their above and beyond actions, milestones or achievements. Socialized recognition programs not only create a ripple effect across the organization inspiring others to model similar behaviors, but also confirm that leadership believes in seeing and valuing the hard work of individuals across the org.

A successful spot recognition program has the ability to lift behavior across the entire organization, improving productivity rates and building a more positive culture of celebration and support of each others' achievements.

This all sounds great, but how do I actually build a successful program? We sat down with Carrie Theisen, VP Global Total Rewards at Medidata, to unpack the process she took when planning her spot recognition program.


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How we built this: Medidata's story

Medidata Solutions is an American technology company with 2,000+ employees headquartered in NYC, that develops and markets software as a service for clinical trials. It was 2018, and Carrie Theisen, VP Global Total Rewards, had been overseeing a multi-year recognition program but realized with changing employee interests, lifestyles and needs, the recognition program was in need of a refresh to better motivate employees towards shared goals and behaviors.

She began by building a business case, rooted in data and deep insights. Her first focus was around retention: Medidata was growing fast, and the talent market was heating up. According to Payscale, 66% of leading organizations agree that retention is a growing concern. But as a rewards professional, she had to ask herself:

"As a total rewards professional, what am I doing to ensure that my rewards programs will retain (top talent)?"

The first thing Carrie started with was really understanding her employee population, to better understand their core values, and primary interests when it came to benefits. Two priority needs surfaced from the employee data: good work-life balance, and excellent compensation and benefits. Carrie went out to create a competitive total rewards package with a flexible and personalized recognition program at its core.

Enter Blueboard. Carrie wanted to make sure that employees had the power of choice. So she partnered with our team at Blueboard to offer employees their choice of a meaningful and memorable experience or adventure, brought to life with ease through our celebrated Concierge service.

Grab a copy of Carrie's full story above and we'll look forward to staying in touch along the way!


"When managers can give the employee their choice of an experience, it creates a memory. And that memory is always tied to your company. Giving them a spot bonus will probably pay for a bill, and they're not going to remember that in a year, versus an experience that will last for their lifetime."
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