We already know praise, recognition and appreciation are essential for our happiness. Research is now showing they’re also important factors in a business’s ability to improve engagement, performance and profit.

This is not exactly headline news, many companies have known employee happiness positively influenced performance and profit. How? Was the challenge. What can a business do to help employees find their mojo at work, and at home? Given that many employee recognition and wellbeing programmes often demanded unstainable levels of effort and greater and greater budget, it was logical for them to assume the answer lies in more budget and more effort.

Only now can we see that the route to greater employee wellbeing and happiness lies in employees feeling trusted, appreciated and respected for the work they do. The change that was actually required had little to do with employee recognition. A wider culture change was required with more trust, more collaboration, more visibility and more employee voice. Which meant less hierarchy, less process and ultimately less control. Social recognition is instrumental in helping organisations make that change. Here are 5 reasons why social recognition is helping transform corporate recognition and company culture.

Recognition becomes frequent and meaningful

Outside the workplace most people celebrate their successes and achievements, and those of others, by sharing the story as it happens. But enter into the workplace and this natural human instinct is curbed. Over the years the recognition of success has become a process. Like many other business processes it takes effort and resources to maintain it and sustain it – and that’s why employee recognition programmes have continued to stall.

For recognition to be successful, it must be frequent and meaningful. Look at social networking sites and think about how ‘likes’ have become a fundamental part of their popularity and success. Recognition’s become a core part of everyday life.

Social recognition simply taps into that and extends it into the workplace. The reward from social recognition’s positive emotional charges creates intrinsic motivation. Employees regularly engage in the behaviour because it’s personally rewarding rather than because they want external reward. And that makes it far more sustainable.

It facilitates peer to peer recognition and increases collaborative working

Managers cannot see everything everyone does all the time. While their feedback is important, it’s not complete.  To have the best view you need to build in feedback from colleagues too. Research suggests the main reason employees don’t recognise each other is simply because there’s no established way to do it. Provide a social recognition platform and they’ll embrace it.

As a result employee recognition programmes move away from being a top down process and transform into a more natural, hierarchy-neutral recognition activity based on trust and on employees’ perspectives. Collaboration becomes the norm.

It harnesses the power of giving

Peer to peer recognition means employees can give recognition as well as receive it. Employee recognition used to be something a manager ‘did’ to an employee. Not anymore. Peer to peer recognition means all employees can benefit from the psychological boost of demonstrating appreciation to others.

It removes barriers to communication

Providing employees with a social recognition platform builds a community. Blocks to communication are removed as employees become part of a conversation that used to be exclusively top down. Becoming part of the conversation boosts engagement and gives employees a way of communicating with one another and expressing appreciation even when they’re not in the same office, site or even country.

Social recognition is all encompassing

Employee recognition programmes of the past have frequently focused on rewarding the ‘top’ employees who’ve achieved something exceptional. By definition, that’s left a large proportion of the workforce feeling their efforts are second rate.

Social recognition removes that barrier by making it easy to say a simple timely thank you when anyone does something well. It doesn’t have to cost money so you don’t need to seek approval for expenditure first. It doesn’t need to be approved by several senior managers before it’s said. That’s not to say reward can’t be added through various methods and at any point. But it should be secondary to the recognition itself.

Social recognition drives a sustainable high-performance culture

Social and peer to peer recognition helps senior teams embed their company values across the company. It highlights and rewards the right behaviours as they happen and as a result clearly signals to the organisation what the desired behaviours look like. Recognition becomes integrated with corporate goals and an enduring high performing culture is created – one that ultimately becomes part of the company’s DNA.

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