How To Start A Social Recognition Program

In the modern day world, the view of both the employee and the customer is that what is important about a business isn’t so much what it says it does but what it actually does. To convince the customer that this is real, the best way is to convince the staff first. Having your staff ‘buy into’ your business ethic means that they can portray this to the customer through belief, not because they are paid to do this.

This is where social recognition can come in and why starting your own program can be a benefit to your business. In its most basic form, social recognition is the difference between telling someone in a one-to-one meeting how well they have done and telling the whole group at a group meeting.

The latter socially recognises the achievements and the work of the individual. It satisfies the basic need for esteem and self-actualisation and leads to employees really believing in what they say.

Practical Benefits

While this may sound very intellectual, there are practical benefits for the business from the process. It can be anything from encouraging more positive attitudes in staff, building up a bit of friendly competition between staff to gain recognition and building up loyalty to the company. This can have the effect of a more engaged workforce and a smaller staff turnover – people enjoy their work and are less inclined to leave.

Setting up Social Recognition

There are a few ideas to bear in mind when setting up a social recognition program to ensure it works well and doesn’t demotivated staff.

First, ensure that recognition is given out equally and fairly. Don’t allow all the praise to be heaped on one person or team, as this will not lead to health competition but instead to a feeling of favouritism. If a financial incentive is being attached to the program, ensure that you don’t start discriminatory compensation practises with this.

Secondly, make the focus of the program on performance measure and core value. Rewarding employees for activities that are unconnected to their daily duties is less effective than rewarding them for a good performance.

Third, don’t limit the recognition and make it become something from ‘up above’. Peer to peer recognition has its own benefits and also reduces the emphasis on management to be constantly giving the feedback.

People like recognition from their co-workers as much as from their boss and it builds up an open and supportive environment.

Lastly, get people involved and get them convinced it works. If your staff think the social recognition program is a gimmick, they will be less involved in it and ultimately, it won’t work.

Look at how you have instituted programs of all types in the past and what worked well with your staff to use as a template for this new venture.


Social recognition is a varied way of saying ‘well done’ to your staff in a way that can make others motivated to achieve that same recognition while rewarding staff for positive attitudes and actions.