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9 things you need to know about research incentives

Everything you need to know about social recognition in five minutes

Five years ago, very few HR pros were talking about social recognition. Now, it’s at the forefront of our business. And it takes up much more space in the HR world.

Having a coherent understanding of social recognition, and employee recognition, isn’t negotiable any more. Your leaders need it.

This blog outlines the basics of social recognition. Get to grips with the idea in just five minutes.

Employee recognition at a glance

To get why social recognition is so important, you need to be familiar with employee recognition overall.

Employee recognition is about validating and affirming positive actions.

It creates positive reinforcement that encourages more good behaviour. That has a knock-on effect of improving your company, and company culture.

What you’re highlighting could be many things. Anything from a metric-driven success to an example of someone living out your company’s values. When you recognise behaviour, you highlight it as desirable.

Making staff feel good about that makes them more likely to repeat it.

Keeping that recognition close to your values has benefits, too. It strengthens your company’s sense of identity and purpose. In turn, that helps you build engagement.

Social recognition explained

social recognition described at a glanceSocial recognition is recognition that doesn’t have to follow your company’s hierarchy.

The recognition is between peers, across departments, from lower in seniority to the higher. There’s no restrictions on who recognises who.

Most employees already do a version of this. Probably verbally, with a hand-written note, or through an email.

Telling each other job well done, saying thanks for some help from another team. While it’s normal, it’s limited to just those two employees.

Social recognition platforms give those expressions a public venue. It makes sure the recognition is in line with your values.

And it gives all employees a central place to post and read messages of gratitude from around the business.

When the recognition is public , other employees can see what’s important to company culture.

Then everyone can see for themselves what’s important to their colleagues and the company.

Where social recognition beats top-down recognition

As we’ve pointed out, recognition is traditionally top-down. Managers recognise their employees for notable behaviour.

That recognition is valuable, but it doesn’t have the same effect as social recognition.

Top-down recognition doesn’t empower staff, or encourage a culture of mutual appreciation.

Employees showing appreciation for each other has impacts top-down recognition can’t match.

Social recognition builds connections

social recognition connects employeesSocial recognition builds the strength of the bonds between employees. Staff feel valued and feel that their efforts are noticed and celebrated.
This improves mood at work, and builds strong connections with their colleagues.
It also builds attachments between employee behaviour and your company values. Increasing employee engagement depends on strong links between positive behaviour and company values. 
Channeling achievement through those values builds engagement with your business and your goals. It lets employees see how they’re having an impact on something bigger than their daily tasks.

Social recognition improves businesses

Individuals, teams and organisations benefit from social recognition’s effects. It makes a difference to a range of areas, including:


Social recognition makes teams work better together. Recognised employees see that they’re a valued member of a team.

When they feel valuable and respected, they work better with peers. In turn, they become more valuable to that team. When these patterns repeat themselves across department, teamwork is significantly uplifted.


Leaders can take a top-down view of who recognises across a social recognition system.

This gives your managers key insight on how your employees interact (or don’t, as it might be). As we’ll explain below, managers can also capitalise on a social recognition system to recognise staff.


When your values are celebrated daily, they come to life. Your employees see that you’re earnest about them.

And they see that employees who live them out are recognised by their peers. This creates more ethical behaviour in the future.


Knowing that your contributions are valued at work reduces stress.

There’s less worry about an employee’s place in social hierarchy or team. Reducing stress is a major factor in employee wellbeing.


A good environment for staff improves how they see your company. By bringing your values to life, you let employees see your company as ethical.

By recognising their contributions, you make staff feel good about being associated with their colleagues and your company.


Together these benefits improve your company’s culture. The recognition helps everyone feel closer.

Closer to each other, and closer to your company and what it stands for. That makes it easier for employees to embrace your company and become more engaged staff.

The benefits of recognition are measurable

Companies that take recognition seriously see measurable boosts to measurable boosts in performance. They include:

  • Loyalty
  • ‘Recognition-rich’ working environments have a 31% lower employee turnover rate.*
  • Productivity
  • Companies that practice strategic peer-to-peer recognition cite a 32% increase in productivity**
  • Engagement
  • Employee engagement is observed to increase by 61% when employee recognition programs are offered.+
  • Profit
  • A 15% higher employee engagement rate correlates with 2% percent uplift in operating margins.~

Managers can still chip in

Opening the floor to social recognition doesn’t mean managers are left out of the conversation.

It’s still vital that leaders make sure they recognise the positive and outstanding things their staff do.

Having an open platform is also a gift to managers. It gives leaders a bird’s-eye view of who is recognising who, and for what.

Acts of recognition a manager might have missed become visible. That gives managers a chance to double-down on recognition, and offer their own congratulations.

Summing up social recognition

Social recognition is celebrating positive behaviour without relying on company hierarchies.

It’s held close to the values of your organisation, to keep employees close to your company’s values.

This builds engagement with the company. And it strengthens the bonds between employees.

Ultimately that helps you build more loyal, satisfied and productive staff.

*Bersin by Deloitte research
+ Society of Human Resource Management 2012 study
** 2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey
~ Towers Watson

8 sales promotion ideas you need to steal

Stand-out sales promotion ideas change the game for consumer-facing businesses. You, like any business, are locked in the endless struggle to secure fresh sales. No matter what else you do as a business, you’ll eventually live and die on actually making some sales.

Almost nothing is so good it sells itself. Which is why sales is a whole industry and specialisation. And, consumers are more apathetic and jaded than ever about embracing new things. Eye-catching sales promotional capture customer attention and interest, making more likely to make purchases.

8 sales promotion ideas you should consider


Broadly speaking, rewards work. It’s our speciality. They delight and they demand action. Attaching a voucher, gift card or digital reward to your products makes them just a bit more attractive when the customer is weighing their options or deciding whether to make a purchase.

Loyalty rewards

Customers that stick around deserve to be shown some love. You can make these schemes informal and simple or do something more robust. It could be a simple stamped card after every purchase, a store card that gives them a discount at the till, or full points-banking system that tracks purchases.

Bulk and combination discounts

As a tried and tested customer acquisition technique, it works. Assemble complimentary items and offer them at a discount when combined. Or, offer a sliding scale of discounts for customers placing the big orders. It’s not complicated or wildly imaginative, but it does work. For instance, we often find that our Shout! recognition portal partners brilliantly with our discount gift card schemes.

On-pack promotions

Catch the eye of customers when your product is on the supermarket shelf. Offer a modest reward for every sale, or dangle a really big prize like a holiday or big-ticket electronics. These prizes can be mailed out on purchase confirmation or distributed digitally. A swell of sales promotion ideas hinge on offering something of greater financial value to the customer, they’re a very effective approach.

Influencers and referrals

If you have fans, make use of them. Do some research and find out if any of your customers have an influential online presence and strike a deal for your brand to feature in their sphere of influence. Alternatively, offer a reward for any customer that uses their social group to pull in more new customers.

Buy-backs and trade ins

We’re rapidly approaching an era when companies are going to be asked to take more responsibility for what happens to their products after they’re sold. A buy-back scheme lets you address that concern while generating a reason for customers to make their next purchase with you.

When you buy-back your products, you can apply a discount to their next purchase. Similar to how video game retailers operate a trade-in system – you’ll naturally always be more generous with the store credit than the cash. For a sales promotion idea it combines ethical behaviour with a tangible reward to your customer.

You can also then control what happens to your products when you’re done with them. Recycle them or refurbish and resell them.

Financing and credit

Up-front prices can be deal-breaker when closing a sale. Offering finance deals to customers with reasonable credit makes it much more likely they’ll entertain a sale.

Alternatively, if you’re working with a trade audience, credit is a game-changing difference. Dealing with 30 to 90-day payment terms while securing materials for a job can cripple trade customers. Credit for trusted clients secures sales, and secures their business in the future.

Trial periods

Companies like Leesa Mattresses, for instance, offer guarantees of refunds after a trial of their products. It takes the sting out of committing to the purchase by offering the customer an escape hatch. If your products are high quality and meet the needs of your audience, very few will be sent back.

Flash sales and time-limited deals

Urgency is a common way to promote action. Create discounts and deals that are only available in a limited period to create a sense that the purchase has to happen now. These time-specific events prey on our fear of missing out on a great deal, creating an internal pressure to grab the bargain while it’s available.

Time-sensitive checkout discounts

Urgency combats cart abandons. A lot of online retailers notice their users often abandon carts just when they’re about to checkout. This idea offers them a time-sensitive discount on individual products in the basket, or the entire basket, as long as they check out within an hour. Or half an hour. Whatever you deem appropriate.

Ultimately the key to making sales promotion ideas work is getting over the natural apathy of your audience. Attention, getting it and keeping it, has become a currency in its own right. Whatever method you choose to rope in a few more sales, consider your audience’s urgencies. Tap into their emotions and their priorities and focus on inspiring them to act.