You'd be a bit of an anomaly if you didn't crave chocolate once in a while. But you're even more of an outlier if you never yearned for recognition. The desire for affirmation, acknowledgement and praise is high in the hearts of most people - after all, it's human nature to want to be validated for effort and excellence.
For that reason, bringing more recognition to the day-to-day affairs of the workplace can only serve to boost employee morale and inspire greater performance. While companies generally aren't opposed to this sort of acknowledgement, they also aren't traditionally designed to support and encourage it. Building a social enterprise can turn this situation around.
Lackluster recognition strategies fall short
Rudimentary engagement and motivation strategies incorporate praise by allowing workers to nominate each other through somewhat inconvenient, offline administrative processes. Over the course of the busy days, weeks and months that make up team members' careers, it's all to easy to forget that these opportunities even exist.
Some organizations have turned to annual award banquets, superficial reward systems and other programs to try to raise spirits and incite excitement about jobs. These aren't very good ways to motivate employees, however. They're generally far too detached from workers' tasks and daily activities to gain traction in terms of both participation and impact. Instead of engaging employees, these efforts become little more than plaques on the wall, empty suggestion boxes or prizes that are enjoyed but promptly forgotten.
Social enterprises motivate and attract
Instead, organizations should build a social enterprise that puts company culture, acknowledgement, success stories and positive co-worker dynamics at the heart of the business. Social enterprises go beyond just recognition: They support and enhance collaborative activities of all forms, fueling cooperation and productivity. Think about the tasks that constitute the majority of your team members' work days: Are they negotiating with clients? Selling products? Brainstorming the next innovative creation? Handling customer inquiries? Working on projects that require input from colleagues? All of these activities and others are inherently social to begin with. Doesn't it make sense to highlight, catalyze and benefit from their collaborative, relationship-based qualities?
Implementing the right tools for employee recognition can increase employee involvement in all of these endeavors. Technology bridges the gap between partners, facilitates easy information sharing and offers conversational mediums for teamwork. Instead of haphazardly hoping that these working relationships and team efforts materialize on their own, leaders can intentionally build a social enterprise, starting with a solid plan for how to create connections and support projects.
In addition to increasing productivity and performance, forming a social enterprise can also be an excellent recruitment strategy. Job hunters seek positions at companies that support their professional development and success as well as offer a compelling, exciting, pleasant atmosphere. You want to be one of those companies that attract top talent because candidates have heard great things about the people who work there and know that professional activities will be that perfect mix of challenging, interesting and enjoyable.
To get your social enterprise off to a great start, download our guide "Six Strategies for a Successful Social Enterprise."