How to help recognition stick with collaborative tools

By Adam Stephens - April 5, 2017

People no longer stay at companies for life. They want to work where they have freedom to use their preferred apps, tools, and devices, and in an environment that allows them to work on their own terms, inside or outside of the office, and with flexible hours that fit their busy personal lives.

In this age of the empowered employee, it’s important for companies to create and nurture a culture of recognition that inspires employees to devote their time, skills, and brain power to help an organization succeed.

It’s a two-way street where employees and leaders need to keep an open dialog around expected behaviors and results. That’s why many companies are turning to modern recognition platforms to adapt to this trend. But is it enough to simply implement and launch a platform without integrating it into the broader digital culture of the organization?

Building engagement on your recognition platform

There are many different methods of helping your recognition platform succeed:

  • Executive sponsorship, engagement campaigns, and a regular cadence of updates or announcements
  • Tying recognition to your company’s values, and strategic objectives
  • Having a team of strategic and motivated people behind the project to ensure it’s getting the attention it needs

Create a unified experience

A recognition platform enables employees to validate the efforts of their peers for coming up with an idea, solving a problem, or going beyond the call of duty at work.

When employees feel valued or appreciated for the work they do, they’ll likely feel inclined to continue to invest their time and energy to helping the organization succeed. In fact, they might even volunteer to do more than they’re expected to do, just because it feels good.

That’s the ideal scenario. More engaged employees means higher levels of productivity, and more work getting done means better business results.

However, success is often stunted because employees aren’t willing to disrupt their day to log on to yet another tool they’re being asked to use. They may understand that it’s an effort to improve engagement and productivity, but at that very moment, do they see how it can benefit them?

It’s easy to do when you have some extra time on your hands (and you feel like spreading some love), but if it doesn’t seem productive or necessary to getting your own work done, it can be a tougher sell.

By integrating your recognition platform with the collaborative tools you already use, you put it in a place that people are already comfortable and familiar with – and it quickly becomes a high-visibility daily digest of all the great work that’s getting done.

Give merit to recognition

Recognition is an important and necessary part of the employee experience, so why should it live in a far-off land? Just as your files, ideas, and conversations live on your company’s communication hub, so should your culture moments.

By giving merit to recognition, you’re acknowledging that work and praise goes hand in hand.

“Each visible display of appreciation for a colleague’s contribution gives them another piece of the puzzle. When those displays are specific and tied to organizational goals, it adds the context they need to understand how those pieces fit together.”

– George Dickson, Bonusly [Read: 5 things you need to build a recognition-rich culture]

A recognition feed on your company intranet is especially effective during onboarding. Seeing what types of behaviors are rewarded and recognized will allow new employees to make a good first impression by replicating what the organization sees as commendable behaviors.

New employees can often be overwhelmed by learning new processes, systems, and workflows in their first few days on the job, but if recognition is something they see when they start up their computer on day one, there’s a better chance it will become ingrained in their experience for months and years to come.

It’s quicker to show than tell

When you integrate your recognition platform, it becomes easier for employees to make a connection between the people who are receiving praise and the great work that’s happening.

Rather than spending an hour typing out a description about what the project is and what their co-worker accomplished, employees can simply provide a brief summary, then link to an article, document, or forum in the intranet to provide additional context.

In this sense, employees aren’t just reading the details, they’re now able to see why the accomplishment mattered, the context in which it happened, and who made it happen.

It’s like a feed alongside the meaningful work that is happening – where your office superstars, no matter where they’re located, can get the recognition they’ve earned.

Highlighting these culture moments can also help with knowledge management and story-telling, by shedding light on interesting or exciting projects and initiatives that are happening around the company that employees may not have known about otherwise.

It allows employees to learn, ask questions, and gain a better understanding of the greater company landscape.