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Andrew Greenwood


Director of Sales and Product

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Does social recognition diminish the leader’s role?


What exactly does the social age mean for leaders? In particular, what does it mean for them given the impact it’s had on employee recognition?

Without question, the social age is contributing to the transformation of both the workplace itself and the existence of the people who work within it. Senior managers who once worked at a distance and communicated via the management hierarchy are now expected to make themselves available to employees and regularly engage with people at every level of the company. The world of work is changing, and so is employee recognition.

The social age has thrown employee recognition open to everyone in the company. A manager’s view, or leaders opinion are just two perspectives amongst several when once recognition used to be based entirely on their judgement.

Where does all this leave them? Does it mean the role and authority of the hierarchy is being eroded when it comes to employee recognition?

No. It doesn’t. As author of ‘The Connected Leader’ Emmanual Gobillot says:

Whilst a leader’s role has always been and will remain the creation of engagement, alignment, accountability and commitment to the organizational cause, in this new landscape the tools they use will need to change. Where once they relied on clarity, plans, roles and money to achieve these aims, they will need to find new tools.”

In other words, it’s not eroding their role. It’s simply changing it.

The social age is forcing leaders to find new and better ways for them, and their managers, to do their jobs. The old management processes, including outdated approaches to employee recognition, don’t work anymore – if they ever did. It’s time to innovate the way companies are managed and lead and to bring in the new tools – like social recognition.

What do these new and better ways look like?

The evidence is mounting that the companies likely to succeed in the social age will be the ones that are more human in their approach. That doesn’t mean rejecting hr technology; it means embracing it to encourage greater collaboration, to foster a deeper sense of community and to provide teams with greater control over their own environment.

Natural social leaders acknowledge this and are constantly seeking a ways to lower the sense of hierarchy. Instead, they use the knowledge from those around them to help solve problems and to innovate. They value different perspectives, initiative, self-learning and positive attitudes, all of which are fostered through making employee recognition a social activity.

The social era has already transformed the workplace into a better and more relaxed place to be for an employee, but the jury is still out for many leaders who feel they are being “forced” to change. I always ask leadership teams to consider all the problems they have faced over the years as they have attempted to find ways for employees’ voices to be properly heard and their contributions acknowledged and celebrated.

Then, reflect on the complex, controlled and unwieldy schemes devised to try to solve those problems. Schemes that were often launched to great fanfare and then came to a shuddering halt as a manager’s time, resources and focus had to move onto the next issue on the agenda.

It’s time for leaders and managers to acknowledge the opportunity that the social era offers and embrace the management solutions that could only be dreamt of a few years ago. Social is here to stay, and when it comes to employee recognition the future offers a rich seam of potential. 

Author Profile Picture
Andrew Greenwood

Director of Sales and Product

Read more from Andrew Greenwood

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