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Jan 5, 2016

The A – Z of Social Recognition

Social Recognition is the new kid on the block for many people – and is proving to be a much more effective and relevant recognition tool than traditional employee recognition programmes for today’s workforce. So what is Social Recognition all about and how can it help to make your organisation a Great Place to Work?

Social Recognition is the new kid on the block for many people – and is proving to be a much more effective and relevant recognition tool than traditional employee recognition programmes for today’s workforce. So what is Social Recognition all about and how can it help to make your organisation a Great Place to Work?

This  A – Z of Social Recognition offers the reader an insight into its most important features.

A is for Appreciation. The sincerity of our appreciation is heard in our words and actions. Social Recognition can help to build a culture of daily appreciation as it encourages all colleagues to articulate their appreciation – their ‘Thanks’, to colleagues for a job well done, aligned to your vision.

B is for Behaviours. In his ‘Top 9 Leadership Behaviors that Drive Employee Commitment‘, Joe Folkman comments: ‘some organisations are all push (drive for results) and no pull (inspiration), which ultimately reduces motivation.’ A balance needs to be created between the two behaviours. As Social Recognition makes employees’ recognition more visible to all, it inspires others to replicate those behaviours.

C is for Culture. How do you build your organisation’s culture and how do you connect new colleagues to that culture? A Social Recognition platform can be used to mirror your desired culture to all of your colleagues. Is 2016 the time to undertake a cultural re-assessment, to put your finger on your organisation’s pulse? Your culture is a living organism, which grows under the influence of many factors. Is it growing in the direction which benefits your organisation?

D is for Design. A Social Recognition programme requires large dollops of good design – something we all expect today. It also requires a clear, intuitive interface, which is easily customised by the user (and administrator). The programme design  should be able to include, for example, company newsletters and events as well as employee birthdays and work anniversaries. All of these make it an attractive and function-rich recognition tool – especially for a younger workforce.

E is for Engagement. Employee Recognition is the best and easiest strategy to engage your employees. It is a strategy which also builds an engaged, collaborative work environment. Social Recognition provides managers and employees with a tool, which can support organisational goals and increase employee engagement levels.

F is for Frequent, Fun and Funky. Employees want their workplace to be fun and funky. Social Recognition can bring the funk into your organisation. It gives employees permission to communicate and socialise with one another and to thank one another frequently. As a bonus, they are simultaneously building your organisation’s culture.

G is for Genuine. Employees are not stupid: they can recognise a genuine ‘Thank you’! Social Recognition allows employees to give genuine Peer-to-Peer and Spot Recognition, when it matters most – immediately after that behaviour is witnessed. In traditional programmes this moment has typically long passed.

H is for Human Resources. HR are the enablers of employee recognition. It is not their task to build an organisation’s culture – something central to any organisation’s identity. Human Resources are part of the team that builds the organisation and therefore its culture, but it is not wholly their responsibility. HR can assist in setting out the ‘cultural foundations’ and then employ a Social Recognition tool to organically build cultural appreciation from within.

I is for Instant recognition. It is not surprising that many traditional recognition programmes are not valued by employees. The feedback we receive is that they are cumbersome and lack transparency: nominations are submitted to a committee, reviewed monthly/quarterly and only then an award is permitted to be made. The moment for genuine recognition has passed: INSTANT is best!

J is for a Job well done! While I can be satisfied in knowing that I have done a good job, knowing that someone else knows, and has said so publicly, is a great boost to me. It encourages my future, marginal effort and also singles me out as an employee who my organisation wants to keep – and possibly promote. With Millennials fast becoming 50% of the workforce, the ability to say a speedy and meaningful ‘Well Done’ will become more critical for all organisations.

K is for Kind. Is being kind unbusinesslike? To some, yes, to others, emphatically no! You need kind colleagues, who are good-natured and benevolently disposed. They remember birthdays, organise cake and send ‘Get Well’ cards. They are the secret glue holding your organisation together. Their kindness encourages the development of collaboration, communication and creativity, some of the soft skills that many US senior executives identify as missing from their workforce. Recognise them and you build an empathic culture, a collaborative and creative organisation, which values good lines of communication; the importance of emotional intelligence (and cake!) – and enabled to recognise a job well done!

L is for Leverage.  A Social Recognition platform allows you to leverage all your company initiatives and activities around employee engagement. Events, photos and videos are posted to the platform which encourages employees to get involved! An example is posting voluntary work done by employees for the organisation’s chosen charity. Company celebrations can also be leveraged using social recognition by posting messages and images of special milestone such as employee Service Awards. 

M is for Mobile. In a mobile world you need a recognition solution which moves with you and your colleagues. It should be available on smartphones, tablets and computers. We use mobile devices to communicate outside of work: why not use the same mobile technology to engage and communicate with colleagues in work? At the beginning of 2016 make a resolution to speak to Gift Innovations about our Kudos mobile Social Recognition solution that can be used on multiple platforms.

N is for Nominate. Traditional recognition programmes in which employees are nominated for awards are often ineffective. Companies often report the following concerns:

  • Inconsistent participation across the company and low transparency

  • High-value, low frequency and limited awards – given to few recipients

  • Delay between contribution and recognition – cumbersome processes!

Social Recognition eliminates many of these concerns by opening up the nomination process, making it transparent and instant. Employees don’t have to wait for their recognition, and the clear visibility of recognition (within a Social Recognition platform) reduces levels of cynicism often associated with traditional nomination processes.

O is for On-boarding. How confident are you in your organisation’s on-boarding process? As your organisation welcomes your new colleague it should have a plan in place to support them over the following six months. (Note to self: Millennials make decisions about whether to stay or to go in the first six months of employment). Wouldn’t the on-boarding process be helped if your organisation’s Social Recognition platform was flexible enough to help out?

P is for Profile. In larger organisations you may know someone’s face but can you put a name to the face? There’s a challenge … but one that can be addressed by implementing a suitable Social Recognition platform. To the employee, it affords the ability to develop their profile and include a picture and some editable, personal details. Members of large organisations i.e. 50+ employees, will experience difficulties when bringing someone’s name to mind (see: Communications in Organisations, Cambridge University, 183). At any point in an organisation’s growth it is really beneficial to bring a name and a face together.

Q is for Quality Rewards. Quality work requires quality rewards! You can create a catalogue of custom rewards focused on products, services and experiences that matter to your employees. This can range from prepaid credit cards or vouchers to a range of gifts. Why not include non-taxable benefits, such as time off or company branded gifts, too? It is refreshing how, for example, Kudos Social Recognition allows you to switch rewards on or off, which helps to make it a recognition-first solution. It also allows you to offer customised and flexible rewards.

R is for Reports. Social Recognition programmes  produce on-demand, intelligible reports, which indicate engagement levels throughout an organisation – across departments and locations. The reports let you know who is giving and receiving recognition, which is linked to organisational core values. This information is useful as it measures the ongoing and successful implementation of your recognition programme, something difficult to do with traditional recognition solutions.

S is for Scalable and Secure. Social Recognition solutions such as Kudos are scalable. This means you can introduce your recognition solution gradually – by users, by location and by country. As it is cloud-based, it requires no costly installation fees or infrastructure management – you just download the app to your smartphone, tablet or computer. Every security measure, protocol and technology is implemented to guard your information.

T is for Tax. The good news is that Revenue have increased their Small Benefit Allowance to 500 Euro per year per employee – as of Budget 2015. A Social Recognition platform that allows you to give recognition linked to a ‘points system’, redeemed yearly, gives your organisation a tax-compliant, traceable means to reward employees for their hard work while availing of this tax allowance.

U is for Uniform. A Social Recognition platform should offer uniform coverage of your organisation: it should be available to the janitor, the CEO, the line managers and the intern. It should be available on a desktop computer, on a smartphone and even in kiosk mode on the production floor. This uniform approach encourages recognition to be given to every colleague by every colleague, in a timely manner. Social Recognition offers you a unified strategy, cohesive goals and measurable, reportable metrics.

V is for Vision and Values. Imagine a platform that can present your vision and values to your workforce, using a familiar ‘social media’ format. Presenting your vision and values in such a manner will assist employees to relate organisational values and recognise those values in their actions and the actions of others. Furthermore, this will help to build your organisation’s vision. When employees perform well, your organisation benefits from having some means of recognising this and shouting about it – loudly and clearly! As we begin a new year, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your organisation’s vision and values?

  • If you know them, do others?

  • If not, how will you bring them to the attention of colleagues in 2016? 

W is for Win-Win. Social Recognition provides a win-win scenario for your organisation. It promulgates and then supports your organisation’s values while allowing the transparent recognition and reward of all colleagues based on those values. The win-win result of effective employee recognition leads to greater profitability and growth.

X is for eXcellence! A Social Recognition solution which encourages colleagues to excel and one which promotes organisational values will help to promote standards of excellence. The transparent nature of social recognition also helps to identify those individuals that are consistently impressive, and those hidden gems, great brand ambassadors who are ripe for future promotion.

Y is for You. Look for ways that You can recognise colleagues on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. If your current recognition system is too inflexible to deliver this goal, ditch it in 2016 and join the Social Recognition revolution! You are welcome to discuss all of your recognition needs for the coming year with  Gift Innovations.

Z is for Zest … because a good and supportive Social Recognition solution will get you out of bed every morning with extra zest, zip and with zero latency. Giving and receiving recognition provides the oxygen of publicity to your values and vision – if people know them they can hold them!

Ann Lyons

Ann Lyons is the founder and CEO of Gift Innovations, in Limerick, Ireland. Gift Innovations is an innovative rewards and recognition company serving leading national and multinational companies. Ann’s goals are to continue to offer her clients contemporary recognition solutions, memorable rewards, and best practice guidelines for a changing workforce.

Other posts by:
Ann Lyons

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