Using Social Recognition to Build Stronger Companies

Posted by Dan Kelly

So much of our lives take place online today. With the dramatic surge of smartphones and tablets, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the cornerstone of our personal communications.

But it’s not only our personal interactions that have made this shift; businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that online social interaction can offer. New channels are being utilized for office communications such as Slack and HipChat and can act as yet another route for motivating your workforce known as ‘social recognition.’

For those already implementing social recognition activities, the positive effects are becoming increasingly obvious and can be seen from top to bottom across the organization.

Examples of this include improved staff morale, increased productivity, a reduction in staff turnover and an enhanced team spirit. Sounds pretty good, right? Here’s how you can begin to implement social recognition in your workplace.

How does social recognition work?

Social communication at work can have a genuine impact on employees and specific teams by providing a direct route. Individuals can easily make their voices heard, which leads to their feeling more empowered and closer to their fellow teammates.

Staff now have a method of easily and instantly providing input, requesting advice and sharing experiences…as well as having a little fun by sharing the occasional (safe-for-work) meme.

When it comes to motivation, online social activity really stands out as a winner. It’s possible to respond quickly to successes and achievements with instant praise and nominations for recognition.

Personal achievements are much less likely to go unnoticed when the opportunity to recognize them is so quick and easy. This results in widespread good feelings, raises profiles of the right people and creates a positive culture of support and comradery across the organization.

This also means that senior management can easily recognize staff at no cost to the business and in almost no time at all. Given that the praise is appreciated (almost) as much as financial rewards, this can only result in a happier and more engaged workforce.

Social recognition also helps put the power in the employees’ hands, which makes it extremely inclusive. Applications like peer-to-peer nominations invite everyone to get involved and demonstrate that every opinion matters to the company.

Social channels are available and easy to access so staff can be involved in processes from start to finish rather than simply being on the receiving end. Having the ability to contribute in a meaningful way makes company life infinitely more engaging.

Putting it into practice

Companies are often reluctant to change processes or introduce new ones, as it can require training, costs or new ways of working. When it comes to social recognition initiatives, all of these obstacles become null and void.

On a personal, level social channels are already so widespread that staff is already very familiar with how and why to operate them. The shift to implementing social interaction at work is a simple one for most, so it’s straightforward to get it up and running.

State your objectives from the start

To make sure your social recognition program is successful it’s vital to communicate its launch and objectives to all. Ensure that your program doesn’t operate hierarchically, but enables all employees to contribute regardless of seniority and then make sure that everyone knows this.

It’s best to actively encourage input from all departments to be sure of interaction and participation. Senior members need to encourage their teams to get involved, and serve as examples, so employees know that their views are welcome, sought-after, valued and respected.

Equality and measurability

Ensure that your social activity reflects existing company processes in terms of culture and execution. Most businesses have existing values and targets and these should be translated into any social communications.

For example, if you measure recognition against company values then this needs to be implemented in your newest channel just as it is in your established activities. This way everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them putting everyone on a level playing field. It also means that recognition can be assessed and awarded in the same way that it always has been, regardless of what channel the nomination or communication has been submitted through.

This will boost staff morale and motivate people to strive for recognition and rewards.  Engaged staff are far less likely to leave, so staff retention will improve and employees will be more engaged with each other, which means team spirit will also benefit as success stories and praise are shared internally from peer to peer.

All of these outcomes unite to create a welcoming and enjoyable workplace that people want to be involved in.

If you’d like more information about social recognition options and how they can support your business, please feel free to drop us a line or give us a call.

As a founding partner of CR Worldwide in 2002, Dan helped develop the company from a start-up business into the multi-million global brand it is today.