The radio is tuned to a popular radio station. A lady is very happily sharing with the RJ, how her, otherwise reticent boss, came out his cabin and appreciated her good work, openly in front of her team members. How apt!
In his book ‘The Carrot Principle‘, Chester Elton talks about the importance of day-to-day recognitions. He says that the value of such day-to-day recognitions is high, as they are low cost, but high touch. They are the regular pat in the backs, the notes of appreciation, a token of thanks that fill the recognition-vacuum between two appraisals. The predominant absence of providing such recognition is considered one of the prime reasons why employees leave organizations.
Chester says that such recognitions are effective when they are frequent, specific and timely.
In most organizations, appraisals are perhaps the most used mechanism for acknowledging performance and providing feedback and recognition. By their very design, appraisals fail to provide the kind of recognition that we are talking about. They are simply not frequent, specific or timely. This is not to say that appraisals are unnecessary, but just that they’re inadequate.
Enterprise social networks can serve as powerful channels for a simple, but effective recognition mechanism:
Writing a note of appreciation in a social network is quick and easy. Managers do not have to schedule an appointment for providing such feedback. This enables them to provide, frequent and timely recognition.
- The acknowledgement happens out in the open; it carries legitimacy. It not only affects the credibility of the recipient, but also that of the giver. One cannot afford to be biased. A mutual admiration club will not be able to run its shop in such an open network – people will quickly realize what’s happening.
- Recognitions carry anecdotal references – timely support given to support a customer escalation, extraordinary effort put in completing a project on time, a fantastic presentation made to a customer – all can be said. This makes the recognitions more specific and contextual. Recognition is also provided directly by beneficiary of the employee’s action, making it more ‘in-person’.
- When an employee receives recognition, it is instantly seen by her network. She is suddenly more visible and recognizable to a large group of people. Such visibility is shown to make people act with more responsibility. In fact, it is seen that such people continuously raise their bars to stay up to their image in the organization.
- By making the recognition more visible, the organization effectively sends a message to all its employees on what it values and rewards, thereby triggering a simple ripple effect of such good behaviour.
And of course, there are no budgets to be considered for appreciating good work.
The motivation that such social recognition can provide to employees is not surprising – just think how much you value the ‘Likes’ to your Facebook posts. So, go ahead – be generous and give that thumbs-up!