Social Recognition: What, Why, and How

Your employees are your greatest asset. If they’re happy and engaged, your organization is set up for success. If they’re dissatisfied and unmotivated, it will show up in your bottom line.

Social recognition is one of the best — and least expensive — ways to keep employee morale and engagement high. According to a study by Aptitude Research Partners, there’s nothing that has a greater positive impact on engagement, and it can boost employee productivity by close to 40%.

Getting the most out of social recognition isn’t easy, though. You need to move beyond years-of-service awards and start recognizing positive behavior in real time. If you’d like to truly understand social recognition and the tools you need to make it a core part of your organization’s culture, read on. 

What is social recognition?

Social recognition is any form of appreciation that doesn’t involve a monetary component, from a simple “thank you” in the hallway to a callout at the weekly staff meeting. Practicing social recognition allows workers of all levels to feel valued for their contributions to your organization. 

Our new normal has led to rapid growth in the remote workforce, but that’s no reason to stop providing social recognition. An email that highlights employee accomplishments and thanks them for their effort, a “great job” on a video conference call, or a “thumbs up” emoji in a chat conversation are all great ways to show appreciation on a daily basis.

Why is social recognition important?

Social recognition can completely transform your company and boost key metrics like employee engagement, retention, and the performance of both employees and your organization as a whole.

Discover how to build a business case for social recognition.

Employee engagement

The passion and dedication of engaged employees has an impact across your organization. Organizations that rate their culture of recognition highly are more than twice as likely to see improved employee engagement. And with social recognition, that improvement can rise as high as 55%. Just ask Ricoh, a company renowned for technological innovation — it saw an increase in its engagement score from 6.7 to 7.3 in little more than a year after adopting a recognition platform that enabled them to realize the intrinsic benefits of social recognition.

Employee retention

Retaining talented employees is a key part of every organization’s success, and social recognition makes it much more likely you’ll do so. In fact, organizations that practice social recognition see a 40% improvement in retention compared to those that don’t. Coborn’s, a retail and grocery chain that employs 9,200 people across the U.S. Midwest, found that employees who receive at least 3 or more recognitions each month are six times less likely to leave.

Business impact

Social recognition has a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. Companies that provide social recognition are four times more likely to improve stock prices, twice as likely to improve NPS scores, and twice as likely to see improved employee performance. So if you’re looking for a low cost way to make a serious impact, you’ve found it.

What about monetary recognition?

While employees value financial incentives, as shown above, social recognition can be even more impactful. And according to a survey by MetLife, nine out of ten people would choose a company that supports them over one that pays more. You should practice both social and monetary recognition — preferably through a rewards and recognition (R&R) platform that integrates them.

Hands holding phone looking at Achievers recognition platform

How to practice social recognition

If you’re new to social recognition or haven’t implemented a strategy for it, there are several best practices you should follow. Here’s a brief overview of the most important ones.

Provide it frequently

Social recognition should be performed on a regular basis. Organizations that provide recognition to employees multiple times per month are 41% more likely to see increased employee retention and 34% more likely to see employee engagement. And 28% of employees want to be recognized as frequently as every week or even every day. When employees are appreciated frequently, they always feel valued and know where they stand.

Provide it in real time

Providing recognition in real time makes it easy to link it to specific positive behaviors — and what gets recognized gets repeated. A staggering 92% of employees state that when they’re recognized for a specific action, they’re more likely to take it again in the future. This is especially valuable when those behaviors exemplify company values so you can build the culture you want to see.

Image from Achievers recognition platform

Include everyone

Your social recognition program must be inclusive so that everyone, from entry-level employees to leadership, can participate. Beyond implementing a recognition platform that everyone can use easily, you should also make it easy to publicize recognition to encourage participation. You may do so via a company-wide newsfeed or an email that highlights accomplished employees. Some platforms even let you showcase the names and photos of the sender and recipient of each individual recognition for an additional spotlight.

Make it engaging

Look for a platform that lets employees customize their recognitions with fun gifs or photos and where they can like or comment on recognitions as well. And letting them “boost” recognitions they find especially meaningful by providing additional reward points is a great way to make showing appreciation engaging as well.

Mobile image of Achievers recognition platform

You can even implement exciting year round campaigns that promote and encourage social recognition.

Encourage leaders to set an example

It’s important that leadership is intentional about providing social recognition and encouraging others to follow. After all, the majority of employees — 58% — believe more recognition would improve their relationship with their manager, and 44% of employees value recognition from leaders above the manager level. To ensure your leaders serve as the backbone of your social recognition program, train them on its value and best practices.

Find out the ROI of investing in social recognition technology.

Tools for social recognition

If you’re serious about weaving social recognition into your workplace culture, investing in recognition software is invaluable. With an intuitive platform, you’ll see the amount of social recognition at your organization skyrocket. After adopting a recognition solution, Olympus, a company that crafts innovative optical and digital solutions, saw a 100% increase in total points-based recognition given, a 102% increase in total recognition activity, a 103% increase in total eCards sent, and a 189% increase in the number of people giving recognition.

The platform you select must allow everyone at your company to offer recognition in a fun, engaging way. That means the ability to engage with recognitions through liking, commenting on, or boosting them, as well as integrating a points-based rewards system with social recognition. It should also fit seamlessly into their daily workflow and let them access it on the device of their choosing at any time. 

Real-time reporting is another must. You should be able to surface valuable insights at the click of a button so you always know how many recognitions have been delivered and where you are budget-wise. There won’t be any confusion as to how your program is doing and whether or not you need to make any changes.

Help your team practice social recognition today

Looking for the best R&R platform on the market today? You’ve found it in the award-winning Achievers Recognize. Its robust mobile capabilities and exceptional user experience make providing social recognition simple and fun. Achievers Recognize supports monetary recognition as well through a point-based rewards system. It recently landed a spot as a top provider in the latest HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Survey for Recognition.

It’s no surprise that brands like McDonalds, Discover, and General Motors (GM) rely on it every day to promote social recognition and create a culture their employees love. GM’s program achieved an incredible 97% activation rate, and every employee receives at least one monthly recognition on average.

Interested in using Achievers Recognize to follow in GM’s footsteps and realize the benefits of social recognition? Schedule a free demo today!

Profile image of author: Achievers
Achievers Employee Success Platform delivers proven employee recognition, continuous listening tools and timely coaching tips for organizations to give their people ownership of the employee experience and to drive organizational success. To learn more, visit www.achievers.com.

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