Traditional tenure-based reward systems — earn a pin for five years of service or a watch for 10! — may still be common practice for a lot of employers, but a growing number are taking a social, 360-degree approach to recognition. Top-down recognition will always be appreciated by employees, but a peer’s praise, particularly when it’s shared with all, can have an even greater impact.
As both large and small companies compete for employee attraction and retention, the recognition program is “becoming a critical point in their human capital strategy,” says Claire Bissot, HR consulting manager at CBIZ, provider of employee benefits and other services.
Private social media networks allow for frequent recognition that’s easily doled out by managers and peers alike.
Take the virtual break room at recruitment firm Decision Toolbox (DT), for example. DT’s 100+ employees, who all work remotely, can instant-message on any topic and often pass along kudos, says CEO Kim Shepherd. “DT teammates love to ‘catch’ colleagues in the act of doing something great.” They can also submit compliments for the weekly News Flash e-letter.
Then there are third-party recognition programs such as those offered by O.C. Tanner. Its approach includes a Facebook-like social wall plus fun tools such as eCards and eButtons, which are especially appropriate for everyday thanks. In 2013 Cicero Group research, one in five said they believed being recognized for work performance at least weekly is ideal.
Here’s how providing social recognition opportunities benefits the employer:
More Effective Employees
Consistent performers of “great work” are 19 percent more likely to work at organizations that have excellent recognition practices, Cicero research has found. In a 2015 Cicero survey, recognition was named the most important thing a manager/company could do to cause great work. More than one-third reported using recognition to motivate peers. In addition, employees who receive strong recognition generate two times as many ideas per month as their peers.
Peer-to-peer recognition, found a 2012 SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, is more likely to have a positive impact on financial results compared to manager-only recognition.
Being able to share enthusiasm for great work creates chemistry between team members and leaders, O.C. Tanner has found. Social recognition also builds trust with employees, particularly millennials who use social tools throughout every day. In fact, not providing chances to share praise socially at work could ultimately push them out the door.
More than 4 in 10 companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction, found the 2012 SHRM/Globoforce survey.
Decision Toolbox leaders have seen it happen. On its website is a large section of testimonials, with “90 percent of them directed at people rather than process,” says Shepherd. “Our reputation for excellence and integrity is a result of the people who comprise the company.”
In a 2011 Trends in Employee Recognition report from WorldatWork, 14 percent of employees said their organizations feature recognition programs regularly in recruitment.
Leeyen Rogers, vice president of marketing JotForm, which offers online form-builder tools and has a social recognition program, says recruiters should toot the horn of companies that promote social recognition. “People want to be part of a supportive team and network,” she says. And they will “gravitate toward these organizations who care about giving credit where credit is due.”
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