social recognition explained

Everything you need to know about social recognition in five minutes

This blog will give you a comprehensive view of what social recognition is and why it should matter to you.

Five years ago it was something very few people were talking about. Now, it’s at the forefront of both our business and takes up much more space in the HR press. Having a coherent understanding of it is important.

In five minutes, this blog will furnish you with a solid grasp of social recognition and its potential for your business.

Employee recognition at a glance

Values-led recognition in general is about validating and affirming positive actions. It builds a better company, and a better company culture, by positively acknowledging desirable workplace behaviour.

What you’re highlighting could be a metric-driven success, or an example of someone bringing your company values to life. Recognising that effort shows employees you value it and makes it more likely to be repeated. Filtering that recognition through values strengthens your company’s sense of self, and builds engagement.

Social recognition wrapped up

Social recognition is where those messages of affirmation are directed between employees, not just from leadership on down.

Employees will already, to some extent, do this. Most likely verbally, a hand-written note, or through an email. Telling each other job well done, saying thanks for some help, or acknowledging a particularly virtuous decision. This is limited, however.

A social recognition platform gives 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 browse their peers’ messages of appreciation. When the recognition is public, other employees can see what’s important to their company’s culture, and what’s important to their colleagues.

Where social recognition excels over top-down recognition

As we’ve pointed out, recognition is traditionally top-down. Managers notice exceptional efforts or particularly good work, and go out of their way to recognise it. Leadership recognition is valuable but it doesn’t create the same sensation in employees as social recognition does.

Top-down recognition doesn’t empower or engage staff the same way social recognition does. When employees are working together and showing appreciation for each other, it creates a sensation of ownership and buy-in over employee recognition.

How social recognition positively impacts your workplace

Social recognition builds the strength of the bonds between employees. Staff feel valued and feel that their efforts are noticed and celebrated. This elevates their general mood at work, and helps them build strong connections with their colleagues.

It also builds attachments between employee behaviour and your company values. Increasing employee engagement depends on there being a strong association between virtuous behaviour and company values. Channeling achievement through those values builds engagement with your business and your goals, letting employees see how they’re helping to push the company in the right direction.

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 also gives leadership a birds-eye view of who is recognising who, and for what. What might have previously evaded the attention of a manager is now visible, giving leaders a chance to double-down and offer their own congratulations in addition to a peer.

Transparency and structure matters

Dismissing hierarchy from employee recognition doesn’t dismiss the need for structure and transparency. If you’d like to read more about that, click here.

Essentially, you need structure and openness to keep accountability and confidence in a recognition scheme.

Social recognition in sum

Social is celebrating positive behaviour at work with affirmations from peers. It’s filtered through the values of your organisation, giving employees a clear idea of their worth at work and how they’re improving their company’s culture. This builds engagement with the company and the strength of bonds between employees. Ultimately it helps you build more loyal, satisfied and productive staff.