January 28, 2016

Guest Post by Andre Janus

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Business leaders know that employee recognition is valuable. They calculate the ROI of recognition and identify praise-worthy behaviors. They praise publicly, and they invest money in recognition products. They spend time finding new ways to highlight stellar performers.

What is it, though, that makes recognition a truly satisfying experience for employees?

Yes, there is satisfaction in knowing that someone is paying attention to what they’re doing and cares, but isn’t there a strong social component too? Many of your employees enjoy the bragging rights they earn when they’re recognized by organization leaders. Whether it’s in the form of a handwritten thank you or formal award, it’s social currency.

If your organization wants to get greater value out of its recognition program, it’s time to leverage what social currency is about and take it online. Whether through your company’s enterprise network or an open social network, add digital strategies to your recognition portfolio. By leveraging the social value that’s already inherent in recognition, your organization can create a stronger, more collaborative workplace culture.

Going Social with Recognition: Practices That Matter

There’s nothing wrong with reposting links or photos that highlight an employee‘s achievement that’s already been recognized, but you can’t end the social recognition campaign there. It’s essential that what you do to recognize employees on social media is unique and timely. After all, the digital world has a short attention span. Effective social recognition is done in a way that makes it seem in the moment.

That doesn’t mean that you have to structure your social recognition plan around spur-of-the-moment praise. Some of that is fine, but your organization needs sustainable strategies and policies.

A social recognition program should:

• Adopt the same high recognition standards as your other programs
• Enable executives and employees to connect
• Allow peer-to-peer praise and recognition
• Connect directly to organization goals
• Utilize fresh approaches on a regular basis.

Mixing things up can be the hardest of those goals to accomplish. Draw inspiration from these strategies to make your social recognition program diverse and compelling.

Make a boast-worthy post to announce an award

Make connections to offline recognition meaningful by asking other employees to get in on the game. Create a special post where you ask everyone in your organization to share a word or phrase that encapsulates the person you’re recognizing. It’s like signing a congratulations card, but everyone in the recipient’s wider social network will be able to see it too.

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Pop in on employee posts

If your organization uses an enterprise network or asks employees to post on other social networks, it’s essential that someone in the top echelons of your company is paying attention to what’s said there. Even more, it’s important that leaders comment on posts with particularly promising ideas or helpful comments. It’s about getting behind employees you value, and it’s the digital equivalent of hopping on someone’s bandwagon. Remember not to come on too strong. Employees want to know that you care what they think, but they don’t want to feel like you’re watching them all the time.

Put a face to your praise

One of the drawbacks of recognition in the digital world is that it can feel depersonalized. Combat the impression that it’s really the HR manager who’s writing the recognition you post by taking a photo of yourself with a cue card. On the card, write what you want to say about an employee and add a relevant hashtag. This is a great way to make recognition more shareable.

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Break out the hard, cold facts

Post actual data that allows employees to see how their achievements are having a positive impact on your organization. Make sure that you point out specific employees and what they’ve done to help your organization. The employees that you’re recognizing get an extra boost, and everyone else knows what types of behaviors and results your organization values.

Ask your employees how to keep it fresh

You can read all the articles you want about effective employee recognition strategies, but only your employees know what they really want. It makes sense to ask them. Find out what your employees would like to see in terms of recognition. Give constructive, directional feedback on ideas to increase employee morale.

Remember: Create Boundaries for Praise

Encouraging executives and employees to interact with and praise each other is great, but you need to avoid harboring an atmosphere of constant praise. Model how social recognition should look so that others in your organization know what’s acceptable.

Your recognition program makes employees feel good, but it also drives even higher performance. Set the tone for your organization across all fronts to encourage dynamic workers who give you their best, because they know they’ll get the best from you.


Meet the Author:

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Andre Janus, CEO & Founder, Cristaux International

Andre Janus is the CEO of Cristaux International in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. The company focus is designing custom awards and other high-end forms of recognition. Cristaux International is standing for high quality and manufacturing unique items.