If you ask most people, they'll tell you they don't want any special recognition or for you to feature them on the company's social media accounts. And for some people, this is true. However, for others, even though their parents raised them to be humble and not seek attention, they secretly would love to see their name "up in lights," even if it is just on Facebook.
Why People Crave Public Recognition
There are some complex psychological theories behind the need for social recognition, but what it basically comes down to is ego. While your ego is often given a bad rap when it gets out of hand, a healthy ego is actually a good thing.
As a human being, your ego helps you navigate between the world around you and your true self. Social media allows you to control, to an extent, how the world perceives you. For some people, that means only sharing the best parts of their lives...happy photos and memories, birthdays and weddings, dinner out and cozy nights at home.
For others, even negative attention can feed their need for recognition. These are the people who always post the bad things that happen, looking for sympathy. Or the ones who are intentionally controversial with their posts in an attempt to solicit heated responses.
For all of them, social media can fuel the ego. Dr. Aaron Balik, a clinical psychotherapist, puts it this way "...every time your ego receives recognition, it purrs just a little, as if it's been stroked. The ego needs strokes to keep it going, and when it doesn't get the strokes it thinks it needs, it can feel pretty bad."
Social media strokes the ego each time someone likes your post or picture, shares something you posted, or comments on it. The number of friends or followers is also a boost. However, having someone else tag you in a post is even better!
How Social Recognition Can Have a Positive Effect
When you publically recognize an employee on social media, you are telling the world "this is a good person, they did something extra special, you should pay attention to them." So while most people won't admit it, it feels pretty good.
It's the same feeling you get when someone sends flowers to your workplace instead of to your home. They are just as pretty at either destination, but at work, others will see and notice. They'll see that you are someone worthy of good things like flowers. It also gives you a little bit of bragging rights that your "significant other" is attentive and romantic.
What Types of Things You Could and Should Recognize
While you can use the company Facebook page or Twitter account to recognize any and all events, it can sometimes mean more if you only do it for special occasions or remarkable accomplishments. Here are a few to consider:
Years of Service - This should be for major milestones, not every year. Depending on your industry and typical employment length, consider every five years as a good benchmark.
Community Involvement - If one of your employees is active in a community or volunteer group, or they have a cause they are passionate about, telling the world about it is very affirming. It means you know who they are and what's important to them.
Contest Winners - For the most part, these should be performance-based contests like sales goals or safety records. Of course, the occasional silly contest like cubicle decorating can make for some fun posts.
One word of caution -- the secret desire for social recognition doesn't apply to everyone. For some, when they say they don't want to be on the company website, they mean it. Be sure you have a signed authorization or release from each person before you proceed. This can be part of your new employee onboarding program or handled on a case-by-case basis.
What Employee Social Recognition Can Do for You
Social recognition isn't just good for your employees, it can be good for the company as well. These kinds of posts or Tweets, of fun pictures and positive images, are the kinds that people share and sometimes they even go viral. Any time your business is shown in a good light is a good thing.
When people share or forward these posts, you get positive publicity. Think about posts your friends make. Do you know where they work? Do they post good things about their job? If so, your employees could easily do the same for you and spread awareness about your company and what you do.
The other positive aspect of employee social recognition is that it can improve how the community sees your company. It will see a business that cares about its workers and lets the world know that it has the best ones around. Not only can this increase sales, but it can make it easier to attract and hire the best job applicants. People want to work where they feel appreciated. These are good things for your company.
Social recognition can be a good thing for your employees and for your company. The goodwill created can increase productivity and improve worker loyalty. It can change the way the public perceives your company. It can also be just plain fun. If you're thinking of starting a social recognition program, contact us here at CoreCentive and our experts will be happy to get you on the right path.