Social media has evolved significantly over the past decade. Today, it is used by people not only to stay connected but for carrying out business. These mostly include marketing, promotional activities, creating awareness about issues, and even driving change. That is why combining social media with employee recognition can help organizations boost engagement and improve collaboration within the workforce.
Social media has become an integral part of the day-to-day activities of a vast majority of the global workforce. Most people spend anywhere between 30 minutes to 2-3 hours per day on various social media channels. Hence, organizations should aim to leverage the benefits of recognizing their employees on social media.
Many times, organizations tend to confuse social recognition with employee recognition on social media, although the two differ significantly. Social recognition is more about acknowledging and appreciating employees for their good work and behavior in a social setup such as during team meetings or company events.
On the other hand, recognizing employees on social media is as simple as posting a story about their contributions, behavior, and achievements on various social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Many organizations are still trying to figure out how to incorporate social media in their HR policies. One such aspect is posting or allowing employees to post the awards they have received from the organization on their social media pages.
To start with, organizations should build a strong company page on the most relevant social media channels. Then they can start posting stories of achievements of their employees and the recognition they have received, on these pages.
For employees who spend hours on social media everyday – posting, liking, commenting, sharing and chatting up with their friend, this is a big deal! Employees would love to flaunt their awards on social media and soak up all the adulation (in form of likes and comments) they might receive from their friends. The satisfaction garnered from this social recognition might be far greater than that from the actual monetary value of the award itself! Plus think of all the employer branding and referrals that this might help generate!
What’s the flip side? For starts, it might expose confidential information to the world – names of clients, important projects, etc. With hundreds of friends on social media and thousands of friends of friends, one cannot be sure that all this information will not fall into wrong hands – competitors, clients, regulatory authorities and head hunters, just to name a few. Of course, the employee himself or herself will be seen as someone with high potential and may be approached by a competitor!
Well, the debate continues…
Recognizing employees on social media can prove greatly beneficial for organizations. The most important benefits of adopting this method for employee rewards and recognition include the following:
Employee recognition on social media helps in spreading the word of their good work far and wide. This helps in ensuring greater visibility of the achievements of their employees in the public domain. It provides a simple and effective platform to broadcast such recognition publicly.
Being recognized on social media, creates a sense of pride among employees by being valued by their organization in public. This enhances their social standing among their family, friends, and connections, besides enhancing their sense of job satisfaction.
When organizations choose to recognize their employees on social media, they create opportunities for co-workers to interact with each other. They can like, comment, and share the posts to congratulate the award winners. This helps in building a positive culture and promotes employee engagement.
Employee recognition on social media goes a long way in improving communication and interaction between co-workers. A simple like or a comment on the recognition post of an employee on social media can open up opportunities for strong social bonding and lifelong friendships between co-workers, who might not have ever crossed paths before. This helps in building camaraderie and bonding within the workforce, which can eventually lead to better teamwork and collaboration.
Using social media to recognize employees goes a long way in enhancing employer brand value. It sends out a positive message about employee-centric policies and culture prevalent within the organization to prospective employees. This can help the organization to attract top talent as they perceive it to be a good employer, which recognizes the achievements of their employees.
Recognizing employees on social media can help in improving talent retention due to increased workforce happiness and satisfaction. Being recognized publicly fills the employees with a sense of pride and achievement. This, in turn, strengthens their commitment and belonging towards the organization. Such employees have a greater likelihood of staying with the organization for the long term.
Like everything else, recognizing employees on social media comes with its own set of disadvantages. Understanding these cons can help organizations manage the recognition policies more effectively and avoid these pitfalls. The most critical of these disadvantages include the following:
One of the biggest drawbacks of recognizing employees on social media is that business competitors can become aware of the top performers within an organization. This increases the risk of poaching of such employees by competitors, who can monitor the achievements of the top talent on social media. They can then directly approach the employees with lucrative offers and induce them to switch jobs.
Organizations or members of the workforce may inadvertently provide critical financial or technical information about the business while recognizing employees on social media. This breach of confidentiality can have extremely damaging consequences for the organization. It may provide a significant competitive advantage to competitors or even lead to legal action from clients or other parties.
Recognizing employees on social media may increase the risk of misuse of the platform in form of negative comments by disgruntled members of the workforce or by ex-employees. These compliance issues can have a deeply negative impact on the morale of the award winners and other employees. It can also create a negative image of the organization in the eyes of the public.
Organizations should follow certain best practices to fully leverage the benefits of recognizing their employees on social media and minimizing its pitfalls. Here are a few such practices:
Having proper rules and guidelines to ensure compliance while recognizing employees on social media is an absolute must. Organizations need to have a clear social media policy that defines the who can post what information on these channels.
This helps in minimizing the risk of vital information getting unintentionally posted as part of these recognition announcements. It is also advisable for organizations to have a process for regularly monitoring all social media posts related to the business.
Organizations should educate their employees about the importance of minimum data sharing while recognizing their peers on social media.. Employees should be informed about the consequences of revealing the names of customers, suppliers, or other stakeholders sharing any information about the company in these recognition posts.
The company social media policy should be communicated to all employees. They should be made aware of the rules and guidelines of social media usage including the DOs and DON’Ts through relevant training and interaction sessions This can ensure responsible behavior on social media platforms while recognizing their co-workers or commenting on any such posts.
Integrating the employee recognition platform with social media helps organizations minimize the risks of sharing confidential data in public.
Typically, such platforms have features to ensure minimum data sharing while publishing the recognition posts on social media. Some platforms might also have features for moderation of recognition posts meant for social media by authorized personnel in the organization.
Organizations today are constantly looking for new and effective ways to reward and recognize their employees. Over the past years, the use of digital technologies and platforms has gained much significance as they can help make recognition immediate and more impactful.
In this context, social media platforms have emerged as a great option for organizations to recognize their employees publicly.
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