As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like continue to pervade our personal lives, it would seem to be an obvious step to utilise such tools within the workplace to recognise employees. Perhaps because social media is low-cost, wide-reaching, and because so many people use it to connect with not only friends, but also colleagues, it seems to be a no-brainer for employers to interact with employees where they tend to ‘hang out.’ Should social be integrated into your reward platform?

Friends and peers could potentially see, comment and congratulate a member of staff, while employers could give a ‘shout out’ via Twitter to a person who has gone the extra mile that day. It’s all good stuff, but is it the most effective way to recognise a person?

Will it suit your workforce? 

There is a strong argument for retaining the personal touch in employee recognition schemes. A manager that takes the time to leave their desk or workstation to give a spontaneous personal word of thanks may find that it has a much bigger impact on the employee than a 140-character tweet. Similarly, a handwritten certificate, presented in person, is likely to be far more memorable than a short email.  It is easy to underestimate how important it is to many employees to be praised by the boss personally, especially in front of colleagues, with a short thank you and a round of applause doing wonders for morale and engagement.

The downside is the work life balance. Interfering, or being seen as interfering with the personal side of social is not always for everyone. Don’t forget that not everyone is on social media as well. Wold a sole social programme alienate those who can’t or don’t want to be part?

What tech will you use? 

A good halfway house could be a bespoke platform or a custom app that takes the ‘social’ element ut takes it in house instead of on the blurred line of an existing social channel.  Whatever the reward system in place, your want your employees to be able to access it anytime, anywhere. Social as a whole is obviously a web platform, but you might also want to look at native mobile apps instead. Consider also some of the most successful elements of social media to date-  video. Whether you use a platform or go rogue, today making and editing video with today’s mobile devices is open to anyone.

Make sure the detail is in place

It’s so key to get the reward right and the stratgey for rewards spot on.Personal moments are very important in employee recognition, but there is a use for social media in addition to reinforce the face-to-face messages of praise, and broadcast it to even more colleagues and contacts within the organisation.  For these reasons, it is important that a blend of the two is maintained. Don’t forget that any social strategy needs maintenance. Choose an in house platform or app and you need buy in and ongoing enthusiasm to engage with it. Choose an existing channel or network and you have to be prepared to get acceptance and buy in for the businesses presence in this private space.

Have you considered using social media as part of your strategy? What learnings have you taken? Tell us below!