Recognise This! – If you want to create a culture of recognition in your organisation, then you must engage, energise and excite all employees around the power of thanks.

Have you done the ice-bucket challenge? For readers outside the U.S., the ice bucket challenge is a pretty cool effort to raise awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) that went viral after Boston College student Pete Frates (who has ALS), challenged his friends to either dump a bucket of ice water on their heads or donate to ALS research. Per Wikipedia, the rules are that within 24 hours of being challenged, you must video record yourself announcing your acceptance of the challenge, then dumping a bucket of ice water over your head. You can then challenge three others to take the challenge.

How does this benefit ALS? If you don’t accept the challenge, you must donate to ALS research. The good news is many are doing both – to the tune of $31.5 million since July 29 when the challenge went viral. (That’s compared to $1.9 million collected in the same time period last year.)

Now, a confession. Outside of LinkedIn and Twitter (which I use for work, follow me at @lynettepsilva), I’m not really a social media user. I’m pretty sure I have a Facebook account, but I haven’t been on it in years (and not really on it before then). I don’t SnapChat, Instagram, or YouTube (except for remembering Robin Williams by watching many of my favorite routines). For the ice bucket challenge, a video of yourself is required, which you then share through social media (hence, how it became viral).

It’s easy to reach people on social media, but what about the people like me? Sure, I know all about it from news reports, but without the news coverage, would I have been compelled to participate in my own little (non-viral video) way?

Making Recognition Go Viral

Clearly, I’m enamored of the ice bucket challenge, but what does this have to do with employee recognition? Part of my role as a recognition strategist and consultant is working with companies to ensure rapid adoption of new social recognition programmes, helping to create lasting cultures of appreciation. Achieving that goal requires detailed and very comprehensive change management, communications and training strategies targeting all employees.

We work very hard with our clients to ensure all employee populations are included in communications about the coming social recognition programme – not just the ones it’s easy to reach, but everyone. That includes offline employees, working on a manufacturing line or out in the field all day, every day. They often don’t have access to company email and rarely (if ever) visit the company intranet. Field employees don’t even have the benefit of a poster in a breakroom. But just because it’s not as easy to reach them doesn’t mean they are less important contributors to the company’s success and its desired culture.

The morale of my story is simply this – if you want to create a culture of recognition in your organisation (and that’s the definition of making your recognition programme go viral), then you must engage, energise and excite all employees around the power of thanks. Inherent in social recognition are enabling systems such as newsfeeds, digests and a fully integrated native Mobile App, but you can’t wait until a new programme is launched to begin the excitement. We’re always happy to chat with you further about the various ways to do this.

Is recognition and appreciation viral in your organisation? How did it become so? What excites you about recognising others or being recognised?