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by Jennifer Lumba | November 23, 2011
If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest, in terms of population, only behind China and India. The average age of Facebook users is 38, 39 for Twitter, and 44 for LinkedIn. So the notion that social media is a fad embraced by only youth is completely untrue. The reality is that social media is here to stay, and the sooner we accept this reality, the more equipped we will be to harness its power.

There is a lot of debate regarding the use of social media in the workplace and its impact on productivity—and often based on a negative perspective. We need to start seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. Through social media, the opportunity to communicate and connect with employees has never been greater. It’s time to recognize your employees in new and exciting ways, using social media as the foundational tool in your recognition strategy.

1. Recognize often. So often, our recognition strategy is giving recognition only for big events such as service anniversaries or momentous achievements such as a big project launch. Social media’s real-time immediacy can empower us to recognize everyday successes that often go unnoticed.

2. Spread the news. In today’s global economy, it is becoming ever more critical for employees to connect with their counterparts from across the globe. Social media allows for recognition to be disseminated and shared across boundaries and without passports.

3. Jump on the bandwagon. It is always important to distribute recognition of behaviors or achievements in a timely manner. Social media also allows us to extend the recognition experience by allowing others to see who you are recognizing and why, and also allows others to offer their own congratulations to the recipient, as part of the conversational stream.

4. Capture the moments. With the power of smartphones, you can easily capture photos and videos of your recognition events and share them on social media with those who could not be present or to simply extend the smiles of those who did attend, as they remember the great time.

5. Join the conversation. We sometimes forget that communication should always be two-way. Instead of just announcing new programs to your employees, invite them to give feedback on your recognition initiatives. Social media easily enables this, and continuous feedback is the only way to continually improve programs.

6. Extend the sense of team. With more and more employers offering flexible work hours and home office setups, it can be difficult to inspire team spirit across remote employees who don't work during the same hours. Social media is great way to deliver manager-to-employee recognition and even peer-to-peer recognition no matter from where it originates or where it ends—whether it’s at home or at the office—and across all work shifts.

7. Make executives more accessible. It is always a challenge to find ways for your top executives to connect with workers. Social media offers a great opportunity for senior management to approach and recognize everyday champions of the organization.

8. Expand the reach. Deployment of a recognition initiative can be daunting in a large organization. Social media offers the opportunity to get your message out to a large and even organization-wide audience in a fast and consistent manner.

9. End the “flavor of the month.” New recognition programs often fall victim to the “flavor of the month” syndrome. By easily allowing constant messaging and interactivity, social media is a great way to keep recognition programs top of mind with participants throughout the year.

10. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Even though you are recognizing the sometimes small everyday successes with social media, it is important not to lose the sense of sincerity, which makes any recognition truly meaningful. Always be specific about who and what you are recognizing. This always ensures that the recognition will be well received.


Jennifer Lumba is the chief marketing officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions www.rideau.com. Built on state-of-the-art technology, Rideau’s employee recognition and customer loyalty programs change the way companies recognize employee service and achievement, reward individual and team performance, strengthen customer relationships, and create brand loyalty. Lumba can be reached at jenniferlumba@rideau.com.