Social Recognition & Social Leadership

By Jeremy Salter, Employee Solutions Lead

Gartner predicted that 80% of social business efforts would not achieve their intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology (reference “Social and Collaboration Go Deeper and Wider” Gartner 2013).

This prediction made me reflect upon my own experience of social business. In 2010 I was involved in the development of one of the world’s first employee social employee recognition program for Microsoft Australia. We have since evolved the value of social recognition within some of Australia’s largest and most respected organisations.

In our experience, adequate leadership is perhaps the biggest determinant of a social recognition program’s success. Despite this, technology can easily and understandably take centre stage in program deliberations.

Luckily most of the leaders I have worked with understand the real value of social recognition and instinctively use it to drive employee engagement and connect with people in ways that positively reinforce what they believe is important.

However, not all leaders are the same. Some need more convincing and are less likely to participate. The challenge for organisations with a social employee recognition program is a leader who does not participate will be as visible to employees as a leader who does.

Social recognition presents organisations with significant opportunities and some pitfalls. It can amplify the value of some leaders and expose weaknesses in others. Those of us involved in the design and delivery of social recognition programs should be mindful of this.

To assume all leaders can maximise the effects of social technologies is wrong and can risk a social recognition program’s ability to deliver on the promise of improved employee engagement, employee retention & employee performance.

So as someone who helps organisations with their social business efforts I am committed to challenging Gartner’s predictions by helping organisations focus more on the people than the technology.

This article was first seen on Grass Roots Australia blog

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