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5 Ways Social Media Has Transformed Employee Recognition


For better or worse, social media is now a part of most of our daily lives. Read on to find out how it has changed the landscape of recognition and rewards.

Social media – heard of it? Sure, we all have. Some would argue it’s the greatest invention since the printing press, others would say it’s a curse on our daily lives, and still others would say it’s just a fancy kind of telephone. Whatever it may be, it has had an enormous impact on how recognition, reward, and incentive providers like us do business. Here are six big ways social media has transformed recognition since it showed up:

  1. Program Consolidation – The idea of using software to connect people over a large network is a natural fit for recognition and rewards. In turn, social media has influenced the shape and functionality of recognition programs, pushing them towards more centralized and consolidated software platforms that can handle multiple initiatives and manage all usage data.
  2. Instant Feedback – Sometimes unfairly attributed to Gen Y, the instant feedback culture we live in today was brought to us by social media. All kinds of people have been conditioned to instant feedback, from years of messaging and post reactions. Modern recognition systems include instant feedback in strategy, and have standard tools like non-monetary awards to encourage it.
  3. Comprehensive Providers – Due in large part to the higher demand for personalization and consolidation, recognition providers have seen their roles in the market grow from traditional suppliers to suppliers who are also comprehensive strategic partners, working closely with HR departments to create things like ROI plans, marketing campaigns, and on-theme messaging as a basic service.
  4. Daily Recognition – Thanks to the influence of instant feedback and program consolidation, recognition has rapidly evolved into a daily initiative rather than a once-a-year party. Social media has increased our sheer daily engagement with each other, which has seeped into the fabric of how we show and expect appreciation. Organizations need tools that keep them more engaged with employees on a daily basis to stay top of mind.
  5. Recruiting and Onboarding – Sites like LinkedIn have made our job activity viewable by anyone in our networks, bringing recruiting out of internal meetings and putting much more emphasis on recognition and achievement as a means to attract new hires. Beyond that peer review sites like Glassdoor can give job hunters instant, frank accounts of how well a company recognizes employees (a top driver of satisfaction), making recognition and rewards a chief consideration from day one.

How we communicate with each other is at the heart of recognition and engagement, so it stands to reason recognition providers would have to adapt. But we don’t mind! For better or worse, social media has made the world much smaller and our actions more visible, leaving fewer excuses for a lack of appreciation. In the long game, that’s well worth celebrating.