Social Recognition: Why to Encourage it and How 

Find out why is the social aspect of employee recognition important and what are the best social recognition practices to apply.

November 23, 2020 By Sara Ana Cemazar Share on Twitter! Share on Facebook! Share on LinkedIn!



Social recognition has gained a lot of traction in the last couple of years in the world of best employee management practices. As employee recognition became a widely recommended practice to improve workplace relations and productivity, its social aspect started to gain more and more importance. 

👇 As an intro to the topic of employee recognition, get our Employee Recognition Playbook with end-to-end instructions on implementing and maintaining a successful employee recognition program.

employee recognition playbook

So, what exactly social recognition is, why it matters and what are some of its examples? Read on to find out answers to these questions.  

What ISocial Recognition 

If you are a professional in the area of Total Rewards, you must know that employee recognition is one of its building blocks. Employee recognition is usually considered to be either monetary or non-monetary, with both iterations bringing their own set of benefits. 

Social recognition is a methodology in the area of employee recognition. Employers have realized that recognizing and rewarding employees is even more effective when there is a social aspect to it. This is usually achieved by letting others know about employee recognition taking place and allowing further reactions to that. 

So, how does social recognition look like? For digital workplaces, it usually includes some kind of communal forum where employees can see who got recognized by whom, and why. Of course, social recognition can accompany both monetary and non-monetary rewards. 

👇🏻 Here is an example of social recognition from an employee recognition solution JobPts. It features a recognition feed, where employees can clearly see recognitions that took place, but also like and comment them. 

social recognition

Why ISocial Recognition Important in The Workplace 

If you think about it, success as such is inherently social, and therefore so is employee success. Often, the feeling of accomplishment depends of others’ approval and praise. In fact, employee appreciation practices capitalize on this dependency of applaud from others. 

In other words, it is incredibly important for everyone to have their work acknowledged and appreciated. Moreover, social recognition amplifies the appreciation employees receive by making it public. Naturally, making others aware that someone did good work is beneficial for the workplace for several reasons. 

Let’s see how specifically social recognition benefits workplaces. 

Strengthening work relationships 

Social recognition improves work relationships among peers, and between managers and their subordinates. By receiving thanks from coworkers, employees are more prone to collaborate with each other. Moreover, by seeing recognition happen, employees become aware of their coworkers’ qualities. 

Creating a community 

Employee recognition solutions that have social recognition features mimic employees’ personal social networks, but in a professional setting. This makes employees feel more involved and engaged, creating a feeling of community. This is especially useful during remote work periods, when coworkers do not see each other in person and miss social aspects of office life. 

👇🏻 In fact, 74% of employees want to be engaged by being recognized when working remote. 

social recognition

Identifying silent top performers 

One of the greatest benefits of social recognition is finding out about hidden gems that are your employees. Some employees are not very social in real life and other coworkers may not be aware of these individuals skills and qualities.  

However, by receiving social recognition, your silent top performers will become known to everybody, which has a twofold benefit. On the one hand, your employees will now be more likely to seek collaboration with the silent top performers. On the other hand, your silent top performers will get a boost to their confidence, increasing their engagement levels. 

Increasing employee engagement 

Lack of recognition is one of main reasons why employees are disengagedEmployee engagement is the key aspect of increasing employee productivity, innovation and retention. Moreover, social recognition amplifies the message of recognition that takes place and thus allows engagement to flourish. 

👇🏻 Research shows that 84% of HR Professionals agree or strongly agree that employee recognition positively affects employee engagement. 

social recognition

Boosting employee productivity and performance 

When employees are recognized, their performance improves because they are incentivized to work harder. Social recognition helps them become more aware of their company’s culture of appreciation and their own place in it, naturally boosting employee motivation. 

Building trust in the workplace 

Research shows that 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers builds trust with their higher-ups. Trust is incredibly important for good workplace relations. Of course, social aspect of employee recognition helps employees realize how many employees have pleasant co-working experiences or how helpful their colleagues are, which helps to build trust. 

social recognition

Best Social Recognition Practices 

Yes, social recognition has many advantages. However, to reap all the benefits of social recognition, it is good to know what details to keep your mind on when creating employee recognition programs. Moreover, it is important to refresh your recognition initiatives with some new employee recognition ideas from time to time. 

Here are some of best practices to be mindful of regarding social recognition. 

Allow for inclusive recognition 

Research shows that employee recognition gives best results when employees can applaud their coworkers, and not only when recognition works from top to bottom. In fact, research shows that peer-to-peer recognition is 35% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.  

👇 Here are some positive feedback examples that you can use to create templates for messages to accompany your coworkers’ recognition. 

social recognition

Avoid predetermined award timing 

One thing is sure: social recognition is effective only when employees recognize each other because they want to. SHRM suggests that a common employee recognition pitfall is predetermined award timing. To create a culture of appreciation, employee recognition should be continuous throughout the year, and not to be siloed around special dates. 

However, this does not mean you cannot periodically remind your employees to recognize each other. What matters is that your communal forum shows ongoing social recognition activities. 

Amplify the message on social media 

Messages of gratitude among coworkers can be amplified on social media if you want to boost your employer branding. Furthermore, employees sharing the recognition they receive on their social media really magnifies the message about your strong company culture, but also on particular employees’ skills and accomplishments. Therefore, employees will be incentivized to share their recognition on LinkedIn and other relevant social networks. 

👇 Moreover, bridging the gap between technology used exclusively at work and social media will help you retain the now biggest age group among workers in the world – MillennialsAn astonishing 86% of Millennials use social media on daily basis. 

social recognition

Celebrate moments that matter 

Employee recognition also includes celebrating moments that matter, such as work anniversaries, birthdays and other. This will also be a great addition to your social recognition feed, since it will include festive sentiments and allow all employees to shine on their special days. 

Showcase the support from senior leadership 

Your senior leadership’s support is crucial for your employee recognition programs’ success. Employees perceive upper management as authority and will be more likely to recognize each other if encouraged to do so by senior leadership.  

Therefore, ask your leaders to help you amplify the message on the importance of recognition and watch your social recognition feed fill with appreciation letters and employee appreciation quotes.

Communicate about new recognition programs 

Cutting through the inbox clutter is hard – so you need to use best employee communication practices at your disposal to encourage your employees to take part in your employee recognition programsSocial recognition will bring results proportional to participation rate – so spread the message and make sure it is heard! 

Get our internal communications plans for implementing and managing employee recognition programs to drive high levels of user adoption. 

Use the right technology 

As you are probably aware, every company and its employees are different. Every company has its own challenges related to its industry, structure and other. This is why choosing the right solution suited to your company’s needs is crucial. 

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Recognize and reward your employees with JobPts.

In order to offer inclusive recognition, celebrate moments that matter and introduce social recognition features to your employees, you need to have the right partner by your side. You need a solution that will ensure high adoption among your workforce, that will grow with your company and that will help you get executives’ buy-in. 

👇 To check what to be mindful of when purchasing an employee recognition software, get our Employee Recognition and Rewards Solution Buyer’s Guide. In it, you will find the list of most important features to look for, as well as an RFP template to edit and send out to potential vendors. 

employee-recognition-buyers-guide

Important Employee Recognition Stats 

In previous sections, you learned why social recognition is important and how to apply best social recognition practices. However, if you are just planning to implement your first employee recognition program or your existing employee recognition program does no longer bring results, it is time to remind yourself how beneficial employee recognition can be. 

Moreover, these stats will help you prove the future ROI of an employee recognition program and get your leaders on board.