Written by
Derek Irvine

Published
13 Oct 2015

Making employee recognition mobile, social and global

13 Oct 2015 • by Derek Irvine

Be mindful of trends

Companies are subsequently under pressure to contemplate these trends when creating recognition programmes. Investments need to be future-proofed to ensure a recognition programme remains relevant 10 years in the future. By acknowledging these trends today and in the future, businesses will have a much better chance of attracting and retaining the next generation of employees. 

Business is global

Your customers, marketplace, and employees (or potential employees) are paradoxically more widespread in miles, yet closer in mindset than they have ever been. Indeed, we increasingly live in a globalised, 24/7 world of work, information and entertainment. 
 
A multi-national organisation has locations or facilities in multiple countries, but each location functions in its own way, essentially as its own entity. While managing recognition locally may be more culturally appropriate for multi-national organisations, it’s often inefficient and costly. A global organisation, on the other hand, has locations in multiple countries, but as far as culture is concerned, its managers have figured out how to create one business culture with one set of processes that facilitates a more efficient and effective single global organisation. Global recognition subsequently operates on one efficient platform that adjusts for all the different factors marking the difference among locations and cultures. For example, different pay scales, costs of living, and exchange rates mean that an award of moderate monetary value in the UK might be too large in Mexico, but too small in Sweden. In addition, tangible awards have broadly different value and meaning in different cultures. A social recognition practice has to take cultural and economic differences into account to be equitable and effective.
 
Global organisations have operated on a ‘think globally, act locally’ basis for decades, but with the rise of social networking on services like Facebook and LinkedIn, and global search engines like Google, the expression has acquired subtle new meaning. Customers (and employees) expect a global service to adapt to local cultures, languages, tastes, and habits. A social recognition practice must therefore reflect how business relationships are conducted locally, but still focus on its intended purpose.  
 
In social recognition, thinking globally and acting locally is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a comprehensive programme including the right technology and the right global knowledge to work. The breakdown of time barriers is another consequence of our information-saturated world. Thanks to smartphones, tablets, and the internet, the next generation are habitually plugged into what’s going on moment by moment. Even employees who value work-life balance are habituated to answering email and checking social media feeds at any hour. Barriers of time and place grow flexible, partly by habit and partly by expectation. A system feature like a secure online recognition news feed is compatible with this trend.
 
In a 24/7, borderless work world, recognition can potentially happen at any time and any place. In a global organisation, recognition of an individual can resonate from Britain to Bangalore, with a consistent message reinforcing engagement, company culture, and shared values. A recognition solution should take advantage of the collapse of time and space, and also be compatible with any employee’s preferred sense of work-life balance.

Business is social

We are social beings, and our workplaces are small societies. The growth of social media shows the appeal of connection, but that need was hardwired into humans long before Facebook. From telling tales round the campfire 10,000 years ago to sharing pictures on Instagram, our biological imperative to bond and share may change expression, but it remains vital to who we are.  Millennial employees are especially prone to sharing information of all kinds, but the habits are not by any means limited to personal information. Businesses use habits of instant messaging, cloud-based document sharing, quick feedback, and crowdsourcing information to make the most of everyone’s brainpower. 
 
Breaking down social barriers is a good and necessary development of the interdependent workplace, and the breakdown is leading to some interesting new social standards. For example, showing respect used to equate to showing deference. ‘Don’t speak unless I ask you a question’ was the command of the old-school manager. Now, contributing usefully and positively is a sign of respect. As the workplace becomes more socially active in this sense, recognition reinforces the attitudes that facilitate cooperative work. As social sharing becomes more and more a part of how work gets done, recognition can encourage all to contribute.
 
Until the advent of timelines on social media, social sharing was an ephemeral phenomenon. Now, people expect to relive social sharing over time by looking back at a record of messages, pictures, and videos they’ve shared. Similarly, as a system that records and analyses recognition, social recognition creates a long-term narrative of social business behaviour. As managers use recognition systems to visualise social sharing, hidden patterns emerge. For example, a map of the recognition moments among members of a department that works with great efficiency will reveal practices that lead to greater efficiency. Managers need not rely on anecdotal information or a hazy memory, but can pinpoint the moments and actions that lead to success.

Business is mobile

Another trend radically accelerated by technology is the recent shift toward mobile devices, chiefly smartphones and tablets. By mid-2013, even the world’s largest PC maker, Lenovo, was selling more mobile devices than PCs. Smartphones are already today’s global platform, which is evident in the move to mobile devices for social networking. Social networking is an inherently mobile activity —spontaneous, unplanned, taking place whenever and wherever the impulse happens. Furthermore, a large portion of the global workforce is not chained to a computer all day. They are on the road, in the air, at the job site, or on the floor. They don’t have laptops around their necks, but you can bet a lot of them are carrying smartphones. 
 
Mobile employees need the power to recognise and receive appreciation on the go, and their activity needs to feed into the social database. When that happens, the benefit of recognition translates fully to the fastest-growing technology.
 
Regular and consistent recognition is key to ensuring an engaged and motivated workforce, and as the working environment evolves, so must the recognition process. Indeed, over the last decade, the manner in which employees communicate has changed significant, becoming much more social and on-the-go. As the next generation of workers come to the fore, businesses need to ensure they are aware of these trends and how they are going to evolve. By adding a social element to recognition and ensuring all employees are involved in the recognition process, employers will have a much better chance of improving loyalty and maximising motivation in the workplace. 

Business is global

 
Your customers, marketplace, and employees (or potential employees) are paradoxically more widespread in miles, yet closer in mindset than they have ever been. Indeed, we increasingly live in a globalised, 24/7 world of work, information and entertainment. 
 
A multi-national organisation has locations or facilities in multiple countries, but each location functions in its own way, essentially as its own entity. While managing recognition locally may be more culturally appropriate for multi-national organisations, it’s often inefficient and costly. A global organisation, on the other hand, has locations in multiple countries, but as far as culture is concerned, its managers have figured out how to create one business culture with one set of processes that facilitates a more efficient and effective single global organisation. Global recognition subsequently operates on one efficient platform that adjusts for all the different factors marking the difference among locations and cultures. For example, different pay scales, costs of living, and exchange rates mean that an award of moderate monetary value in the UK might be too large in Mexico, but too small in Sweden. In addition, tangible awards have broadly different value and meaning in different cultures. A social recognition practice has to take cultural and economic differences into account to be equitable and effective.
 
Global organisations have operated on a ‘think globally, act locally’ basis for decades, but with the rise of social networking on services like Facebook and LinkedIn, and global search engines like Google, the expression has acquired subtle new meaning. Customers (and employees) expect a global service to adapt to local cultures, languages, tastes, and habits. A social recognition practice must therefore reflect how business relationships are conducted locally, but still focus on its intended purpose.  
 
In social recognition, thinking globally and acting locally is necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It takes a comprehensive programme including the right technology and the right global knowledge to work. The breakdown of time barriers is another consequence of our information-saturated world. Thanks to smartphones, tablets, and the internet, the next generation are habitually plugged into what’s going on moment by moment. Even employees who value work-life balance are habituated to answering email and checking social media feeds at any hour. Barriers of time and place grow flexible, partly by habit and partly by expectation. A system feature like a secure online recognition news feed is compatible with this trend.
 
In a 24/7, borderless work world, recognition can potentially happen at any time and any place. In a global organisation, recognition of an individual can resonate from Britain to Bangalore, with a consistent message reinforcing engagement, company culture, and shared values. A recognition solution should take advantage of the collapse of time and space, and also be compatible with any employee’s preferred sense of work-life balance.