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6 Ways Social Media Has Changed the Game for Employee Recognition

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. In fact, social media has already been around for nearly 20 years – MySpace was launched in 2003, and Facebook wasn’t far behind, founded in 2004. But since then, social media has evolved in many ways, and it seems like new platforms are developing at a rapid pace. According to research by Statista, 79% of Americans have a social media profile, with Facebook and Twitter being the most popular.

People love to debate the positives and negatives of social media, but there is one area in which it’s definitely had a positive impact: employee recognition. Here are six ways it’s changed the game – and how you can use it to your advantage.

1. It’s Changed Our Expectations

There’s no question that social media – and the internet in general – has changed our behavior. We live in a world of instant gratification. Consider this: consumers are only willing to wait 3 seconds for a web page to load before they abandon the site. This need-it-now attitude affects our lives offline, too. We want immediate satisfaction when it comes to making purchases, watching TV shows (Netflix binging, anyone?) and employee recognition. Employees don’t want to wait for your annual awards ceremony to hear how great they are. They want to hear it every day – and social media is a great way to do that.

2. It Builds Community

Breaking down silos, building community and creating an inclusive company culture should be at the top of any business’s priorities. Social media helps with all of these things by providing platforms for employees to interact and connect with each other in ways they might not otherwise. It also gives them a chance to provide peer-to-peer recognition – the most valuable kind of employee recognition. 

For example, LinkedIn’s Kudos tool, which allows users to make fun and instant appreciation posts to anyone in their network, is a great example of how employee recognition and social media go hand in hand. Your employees are eager for opportunities to recognize each other: one study found that 44% said they would provide peer recognition regularly if given the tools.

Social media is that tool.

3. It’s a Great Recruiting Tool

Did you know your potential employees are looking you up online? Websites like Glassdoor allow people to post reviews about their employers, and applicants can learn a lot about a company from its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, too. And according to Nielsen, 66% of people trust opinions posted online, and 83% trust recommendations from friends or family. If you have a strong social media presence with lots of employee recognition and positive reviews from your staff and clients, that could make it easier for you to recruit – and retain – the best workers.

4. It Makes It Easy to Share Employee Recognition

It’s never been easier to provide employee recognition: just open your business social media account, type your post and hit “Send.” While your message should be thoughtful and personalized, you don’t need to spend hours thinking about the perfect words. Employee recognition on social media is a super-simple way for managers and top-level executives to show their staff that they care – and it’s cost-efficient too, which any exec will love.

5. It Makes Employee Recognition More Meaningful

Employee recognition on social media is so easy, you might be surprised by its actual impact. Employees love the ability to share social media posts that recognize them. Giving public praise can maximize the benefits of recognition, and the ability to share with friends and family on Facebook and with business associates on LinkedIn makes social media appreciation extra effective. Your employees will get double the praise!

Praise from managers, supervisors and top executives is the best type of employee recognition, beating praise from teammates and people outside of the company in one study. And as we mentioned in number four, social media makes it incredibly easy for those in higher positions to give praise. This perfect storm helps you deliver meaningful employee recognition with just a little effort.

6. It Can Keep Your Recognition Program Going 

Employee recognition needs to be consistent – yet it’s so easy for it to fall by the wayside. The simplicity of posting employee recognition on social media makes it easy to keep your program going in between big events and helps you avoid needing to reboot your recognition program.

Social media is an important part of your overall employee recognition program – but it shouldn’t be your entire strategy. Combine it with live events like awards ceremonies, employee of the month programs or company-wide recognition meetings. Presenting your staffers with employee recognition trophies, keepsakes and other awards that are more than gifts will have a lasting impact that goes beyond social media. Social media, in-person events, and employee recognition awards combine to make your program the most effective it can be.