Employee Recognition

Why employees love social recognition


Employee recognition is a struggle.

Yes. I said it.

The problem is that while many organisations know they need it, not many know how to commit and implement a successful employee recognition program.

Research from Deloitte found that; “companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover rate.”


93% percent of employees hope to be recognised on a quarterly basis, if not more!

“Flatter me, and I may not believe you, Criticise me, and I may not like you, Ignore me, and I may not forgive you, Encourage me, and I may not forget you.” - William Arthur Ward

In this blog post, I will define employee recognition, where social recognition comes from, why social recognition has become such an important part of employee wellness and what the benefits of engaging in social recognition activities are as well as providing you with some tools and techniques that you can begin to use within your organisation.

So let’s dive in:

Defining Employee Recognition 

First, let me clarify what recognition is not before we begin;

It is not an incentive, which is usually measured over a specific time, with a specific measurable goal attached to it. It is not a reward, which is an object, normally in the form of a gift, a voucher or money.

So what is it then?

Employee recognition is the active recognition of an accomplishment, through this you are reinforcing behaviours and outcomes that you would like to see repeated by employees within your organisation.

Kerwin Rae, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker says this; “Acknowledge the effort and not the outcome.” Recognising your employee's efforts at every opportunity is something they will remember. Through this, they will be encouraged to keep pushing the boundaries for your organisation and be an actively engaged workforce.


Where does this notion of social recognition stem from?

The key to understanding where social recognition stems from is first to understand how employee engagement has influenced the need for improved engagement strategies.

This is something Google is crushing with 73% of their employees say that they find their work meaningful. They engage and motivate their employees through a multitude of engagement strategies, from office massages, yoga to table tennis tables to incentivised holidays.

Employee engagement activities include positive two-way communication between manager and employer, an understanding of one’s role within the organisation, the pride that comes with this understanding; it can innovate toward the achievement of the organisations' goals and objectives. It is the creation of employee unity around the organisation's overall values and purpose.

The challenge?


In a 2016 study done by Gallup, only 29% of millennials were found to be actively engaged in the workplace, and 55% of millennials are currently not engaged in the workplace.

This is staggering!

They are said to be the least engaged generation. While they love being a part of an idea’s brainstorm and happy to communicate fantastic and often innovative ideas, there is usually very little follow through for the completion of a task.

So how do we increase this level of engagement?

Social recognition!

An employee engagement strategy that takes into consideration the rise of millennials in today’s workforce.

They are loosely defined as social beings that love constant social interaction and digital connection through a variety of social media channels like Instagram and Facebook which fuels this need for constant recognition through likes.

So what is social recognition?

The public recognition of an employee that has accomplished a particular task well and a task that is in line with your organisational values.

The very public nature of this moment, while it benefits the employee directly, also has a positive effect on other employees. The intrinsic human need for recognition can be a driving force to increased levels of engagement.

The CEO of SnackNation likes to celebrate his employees birthdays or work anniversaries through handwritten notes, that tend to highlight some of your employees achievements throughout that year. When 82% of employees think it’s better to receive praise than receive a gift, this is a pretty big step toward achieving greater levels of employee engagement.


3 Social Recognition Techniques You Can Implement Today

So the stats have piqued your interest, but you’re not too sure how this actually works out.

Don’t fret;

We have some easy tools and techniques that if you are intent on implementing correctly, will work perfectly for you.

So let’s dive in:

  1. Personally and publicly thank an employee for a job well done. This needs to be done as close to the event as possible. You will need your employee to still be experiencing the feeling of accomplishment when you publicly acknowledge their achievement.
  2. Peer-to-peer recognition. This allows you the opportunity to create a culture of positive reinforcement; it creates a culture where every opinion is deemed valuable. This can be implemented by enabling employees to send cards of congratulations or thanks digitally to their colleague for a job well done. Google is a fan of adopting peer-to-peer recognition enabling their employees to acknowledge their peers for a job well done, no matter how big or small.Did you know that by successfully implementing peer-to-peer recognition there is a 37.7% likelihood for it to have a positive bearing on your financial results?
  3. Social media recognition - taking a picture with your employee and posting it to your organisation’s social profiles says a 1000 words. As the millennial workforce is always engaged in social media, this would have a significant impact on your employee engagement levels.
    This strategy has also been proven to drive greater traffic to your social profiles as happy employees are 50% more likely to post about their work to their social media profiles, making your organisation one to be at.

SnackNation lists 33 different ways that you can go about recognising and appreciating your employees for the work that they do, take a look at some of their ideas and then explore some ways that you think will be of benefit to your employees.


But What About Technology?

Technology is currently a driving force behind the successful implementation of social recognition and employee engagement programs.

Why you ask?

Consider this; Today, there are 2.3 billion people currently active on social media!

As more millennials are entering the workforce with a need to be constantly digitally and socially connected.

You may consider a social platform that engages your employees in a centralised place with the ability for peer-to-peer recognition, public thanks and celebration can be experienced through a multitude of likes and comments as well as the ability to track employee achievements.

This kind of employee engagement software can increase levels of engagement through the very technology millennials find so appealing.


What Are The Benefits Of Social Recognition For Your Organisation?

A successfully implemented social recognition program can have growth benefits for your brand, here is why you should consider one today;

  1. It increases employee engagement and motivation. The staggering engagement statistics should be a driving force behind adopting an engagement program.
  2. It encourages and increases collaboration and teamwork. It promotes an organisational culture of positive reinforcement, an environment of encouragement and upliftment.
  3. It retains top talent. A successfully implemented recognition program has a proven increase in employee retention. A motivated and encouraged, challenged workforce means there is no reason to leave.


Key Takeaways

An engaged employee workforce, need not be another challenge that you face, let it align with your organisation’s core values and allow your company a bit of creativity in how you will approach and implement a social recognition program.

**TIP** Create a survey and put the varying ideas to your employees - let them tell you what they would like to see implemented.

All of the abovementioned ideas are relatively inexpensive to implement, the only thing you do absolutely need, is your full commitment to the successful implementation of a social recognition program and you will be well on your way to a more engaged workforce.

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