5 Modern Trends Transforming Workplace Recognition

Written by
George Dickson
George Dickson

Modern technology is rewiring younger generations, according to a study by Pew on hyper-connectivity.

Forty-two percent of study participants believe people under the age of 35 are wired differently. Fifty-five percent predicted that Millennials would benefit from their constant use of technology — that it would enable them to find answers to deep questions more quickly.

Americans now spend 29 percent of their time using social media apps on their phones, and this number's growth rate predicts a rapid increase in the coming years.

These trends that transformed contemporary communication habits also impact the workplace, and the way employees expect to be managed. Here are a few modern social trends that are transforming work relationships, and some ways to use them to build a better environment and stronger organizational culture:

1. Instant gratification

Contemporary workers don’t want to wait for feedback. If there is too long of a gap between an employee’s action and its subsequent reward, the reward’s power will either be dulled or forgotten by the time any “thank you” is mentioned.

Timeliness is everything. Give timely, regular feedback so your employees will instantly feel good about their strengths, while knowing what to improve.

2. The value of brevity

People don't just want timely information—they want it to be short, sweet, and to-] the point.

This modern emphasis on brevity is why the traditional year-end performance review isn’t effective anymore. It’s easier to identify and work on small performance changes with brief, ongoing feedback messages than it is to take in a year’s worth of feedback all at once.

Recognition should be short and simple, like a tweet—quick messages employees can take in to boost their motivation.

3. Collective categorization

The content people share and the comments they make online reveal a great deal about their attitudes, interests, aspirations, and traits. The isn't limited what people say about themselves, either. You can gain just as much insight from the group's reactions to those expressions.

Trends become visible and quantifiable in a world of cataloged updates and comments. Understanding those trends can mean the difference between staying in and out-of-touch with your colleagues' thoughts and interests.

4. Social signals and self-esteem

The “like” button has more power than you might think. Research from the Columbia Business School found that liking someone’s content on social media actually increases that person’s self-esteem, which influences future behavior.

Workplace recognition leverages the same methodology to boost employee confidence, which drives achievement, and encourages great work. Make it easy for your colleagues post positive feedback about one another, and you'll find you can keep a continuous feedback loop of self-esteem and confidence going pretty easily.

5. Peer influence

Peer influence is nothing new, but social media reveals quantitative data about the impact our peers have on what we choose to share. Workplace recognition can be influenced similarly, in the methods peers choose to give feedback to one another. Positive comments will breed positive comments. The more peers see each other giving regular and meaningful recognition, the more comfortable they will feel giving recognition to others.

You can support this behavior by implementing a dedicated coworker-to-coworker recognition system. Bonusly only takes a few minutes to roll out, and you can try it out for free.

Timeliness, brevity, and peer influence have become crucial elements of better management, and the modern workplace. What are some other social trends you see transforming workplace recognition? Let us know in the comments.

Read the Guide to Modern Employee Recognition

Originally published on July 27, 2015 → Last updated August 9, 2019

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George Dickson

George is dedicated to strengthening organizational cultures with thoughtful leadership and frequent recognition. George formerly managed content and community at Bonusly.


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