Real time recognition | Incentive & Motivation


Real time recognition

Social gifting enables people to purchase and present gifts through social networks – and it offers exciting possibilities for employee rewards


Social networks have become a ubiquitous communication channel for a digitally-connected population. When it comes to gifting, these networks can be used to find information about a gift, to send messages associated with it, and even to send the gift electronically. Social gifting is increasingly popular among friends and family groups, and that trend is now filtering into the workplace. But how well does social gifting fit into employee reward programmes?


“Social gifting can be effective if it is used smartly,” says Andrew Johnson, director general of the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association. “It must be targeted in the right way to the right type of person. It is especially effective for today’s younger generation, which has been brought up on mobile phones, social media and so on.” While social gifting is a relatively new phenomenon, it’s here to stay, says Johnson. “Dozens of social gifting companies have been established in the last few years and are still trading, so it is safe to say that this isn’t just a start-up fad. Social gifting is becoming increasingly popular as a way to reward employees. Firms can use it as part of their incentive schemes where they can reward staff for high performance with a range of gift categories, from eating out and beauty gifts, to events and sports.”

This is not simply a matter of plugging company rewards into users’ general social media activities. While an individual might want to share news of their bonus on their own social networks, many employers and employees would feel justifiably uncomfortable splashing news about their working relationships all over Facebook and LinkedIn. But various technologiesand services are now available to ensure that colleagues can share a similar, if more circumscribed, social media experience. “Enterprise social networks like Yammer and Podio are replacing many company intranets and bringing the social element of Facebook to the office,” says Andrew Wilmot, CEO of social  media consultancy Maroon Elephant. “These platforms deliver on social media users’ expectations, providing a perfect environment for rewarding employees either through a dedicated app such as the Achieversemployee success platform, or through a plug-in service.”


Smartly used, social gifting can meet the reward-related expectations of both employers and employees. “Particularly in the realm of social platforms, employers’ highest priorities are for the reward to be social, immediate and personal,” says Wilmot. “Those are all things that today’s employees expect, and that a reward programme using social gifting can deliver.” Crucially, social gifting puts the emphasis on recognition, rather than on the reward itself. Wilmot explains: “Withsocial gifting, when an employee receives a commendation from their manager or from their peers, it gets posted on a timeline in real time, and people can comment on it or ‘like’ it as they would do on Facebook. That social aspect is increasingly important because it’s shared and it’s immediate. Traditional recognition systems tend to involve a chain of nomination and approval that can delay the actual recognition by weeks.

But Facebook users expect speed, and when employers look for new solutions and ways to reward staff, they’re looking for a much improved speed of recognition.” In addition to sharing recognition in real time, social gifting enables employers to reward employees in a more personalised way. “Social gifting works when gifts are matched to the person you want to give the gift to,” says Johnson. “For instance, the choices for a woman aged 18 to 25 are different to those for a man in his 40s. And it may be more appropriate to reward some staff members with a physical gift card, rather than via social media. Due to the variety of personalities in any office, it is important to recognise them individually with a personalised reward that they will value. Through the appreciation of an individual’s taste in brand and activity preferences – and of course the means that the gift is given (social or physical gift cards) – managers can positively impact their employees’ performance.”



Social media is often about small stories – about recognising the individual, day-to-day achievements that contribute to the bigger picture. As such, its focus on instant, social recognition affords rich opportunities to reward employees more frequently with small, personalised gifts. Recognising this, a growing number of social gifting services – such as the gifted2you platform recently acquired by SVM Europe – are providing curated collections of micro gifts. “Some people like to give points as rewards, but others prefer a gift card or a carefully chosen merchant-supplied gift that will arrive in the post next day with a private gift message,” says Wilmot. “Micro gifting is a great way to reward staff more regularly without blowing your entire budget, with quality, lower value gifts that tend to be quirky and interesting.”

Wilmot explains that the low price point and speedy delivery of such gifts makes them an ideal way to reward employees through social gifting. “Because micro gifts have a low price, the budget can be
given to an employee who can award small, frequent rewards without the typical authorisation procedure that slows the process down.

There is immediate, realtime recognition on the social network timeline, and an opportunity for high levels of customisation and personalisation in the gift itself, which can arrive nicely wrapped with a personalised message, to show that a lot of thought has gone into it. For £10 you can create a great reward that combines the gift with a citation, commentary and engagement from peers through the social platform. The reward delivers so much more than its monetary value.”

Social gifting complements the collaborative, open environment that many organisations want to encourage. It offers a cost-effective way to meet employees’ expectations of frequent,immediate and personalised rewards while boosting engagement. Smart use of social is increasingly key to engaging employees, and when it comes to recognition and reward, social gifting promises a perfect match.

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