How companies can harness the power of social recognition

Research suggests that non-financial rewards drive 55% of employee engagement.

Bang! Bang! Bang!?The school bell rang to call it a day. Students ran for their homes, and in no time, the streets around the local senior secondary school were bustling with students. ‘The end of school’ bell always creates excitement in students. And why not? It’s time to go home! Like all others, Disha also had that similar rush to leave. But not for home.

She comes from a humble background. Her parents were seasoned wage earners, and she was the only child. At 16, she worked part-time at a nearby supermarket to help her family make ends meet. For the last six months, Disha has been serving an evening shift of six hours at this supermarket which begins straight after school. On her way to the store, Disha decided to check a new internal app on her phone, which her employer newly introduced. It was implemented for better internal communication and recognition of employees. As Disha was scribbling through the internal feed page which the app provided, she came across something that totally surprised her. It was an ‘Employee Recognition’ post shared by her manager. It featured her. She was recognized as a hard-working employee by her manager.

The post had a picture of her serving customers and a touching message about how she was trying to financially support her family and give her best at her studies too. Her colleagues were sending their heartfelt congratulations and words of encouragement by commenting on the post. This simple gesture of social recognition filled Disha with joy, and her happiness was visible when she served the customers at the store that day with extra enthusiasm. She was happy!

This is the power of social recognition.

Social Recognition

An act of peer-to-peer recognition is known as social recognition. But technology has taken this to another level. Just like the above example, sharing a simple post of recognition on the intra-social platform of the company attracts praise not only from your colleagues who work with you but others who are working out of different locations. Such gestures can bring an instant smile to an employee’s face, and they will put in their 100% at work.

Like Disha’s employer, many other companies run social recognition programs in their organization which helps keep their employees engaged and bring a sense of belonging, purpose, and achievement throughout their workforce.

The Hershey Company, a global chocolate manufacturing firm, started a social recognition program called SMILEs. It celebrates the company’s values and identifies those willing to go above and beyond to achieve their objectives. Employees at Hershey can use mobile-specific recognition applications to recognize their peers’ commendable efforts and achievements worldwide. The program was received quite well by employees as 14000 recognition moments occurred in the first three months after the launch of the program. Moreover, 40% of employees participated in this initiative in the first 90 days of the program.

Similarly, one large technology firm also implemented a dedicated recognition program where employees can appreciate their peers through small notes, emails and nominate their colleagues for a spot bonus.

Non-monetary or non-financial rewards are the backbone of any employee recognition or engagement strategy.?Experts?have found that non-financial rewards drive 55% of employee engagement. So, organizations need to incorporate social or peer-to-peer recognition as part of their employee engagement strategy to yield higher productivity from their people further.

Types of Social Recognition

There are many ways employees and peers can appreciate and recognize each other. But for making peer-to-peer recognition a part of the culture, it is essential to create a platform for employees where employees can freely execute this behavior. In today’s time, apart from offline best practices, companies can also use online and digital tools for social recognition.

Offline tools

The traditional ‘Employee of the Month’ reward for commendable performance can be a great example of promoting social recognition. However, more than just giving this reward, employers can display this recognition on a ‘Wall of Fame’ for an entire month. This can grab some attention, and colleagues would be encouraged to share their words of encouragement and appreciation with the recipient.

Any spot award celebrating a personal milestone or workplace achievement with a monetary or non-monetary reward is a form of social recognition. One can celebrate such moments of recognition by sending ‘thank you’ cards, appreciative emails, or any other form of gift that can create a sense of value for the other person.?Leaders can encourage peer-to-peer recognition by displaying the same behavior as themselves.

Digital Tools

Intra-communication platform

Many organizations use platforms such as Slack for internal communication. Companies can use such tools to encourage peer-to-peer recognition. The advantage of an intra-communication platform is that it can instantly connect employees worldwide and become a common link.

Digital recognition solutions

Digital recognition solutions come with features where peer-to-peer recognition is possible through digital means. Employees can appreciate each other through digital badges and moving images such as GIFs and videos. Digital recognition platforms also come with a feed wall where all the updates about ‘who is rewarding who’ is visible, and others can react or comment on these events on the feed.

Social media

With Social media platforms, it is easy for companies to recognize their employees and share their achievements. This way, other colleagues and connections of the recipient also learn of this achievement, which helps create much more buzz.

To get positive results from social recognition, companies will have to drive and encourage employees to embed peer-to-peer recognition as part of the company culture. To make this possible, senior leaders in the organization must set an example and reward their peers for good performance. Moreover, constant communication to nudge and encourage employees to appreciate each other must be an effort to make social recognition successful in your firm.