Like many of you, earlier this year, I received an e-mail from Linkedin’s co-founder and Chairman Reid Hoffman that thanked me for supporting the organization’s growth as an ‘early adopter’. It did read like any other e-mail but the purpose and opportunity that it offered for recognition programming (often an integral part of internal communications) got me excited.
For those unfamiliar with the technology adoption lifecycle it describes the ability to embrace a new product or innovation while mapping it to the demographic and psychological characteristics of defined adopter groups. In the bell curve the ‘early adopters’ come in after ‘innovators’ and are usually younger, more educated and respected as leaders in their community. Among the five broad groups of people classified by this model the ‘early majority’ and the ‘late majority’ form the largest set. The ‘laggards’ come in, as the name suggests, last.
Now, let me share an extract of the message before I come to what it means for internal communications.
The letter stated:
“I want to personally thank you because you were one of LinkedIn’s first million members (member number 724961 in fact!*). In any technology adoption lifecycle, there are the early adopters, those who help lead the way. That was you. We hit a big milestone at LinkedIn this week when our 100 millionth member joined the site. “ It then went on to talk about their vision and what they accomplished with the help of many. The note ended with a call to support their effort in the future.
Here is how I read it:
1. This company took time to recognize me for trying out a new application and staying the course.
2. It remembered that I was among the first million and they are now 100 million! Yes, I felt important and great to be a part of this journey
3. I was pleased to be seen as a leader
4. I realized that a lot can be done if you begin early By converting a milestone event (crossing 100 million members) into an opportunity to recognize definitely deserves appreciation. However this can never be possible without constantly thinking about your customers, having robust systems tracking every single metric worth a mention and messaging it appropriately.
So, how does this insight translate into your internal communication recognition programming?
Wouldn’t it be great to inform your leaders of teams that are recognizing most and least so that they can take suitable action? Can this data be co-related to team’s morale and performance? Why not?
Will your design team be delighted if you share which pages are getting more hits and therefore how tweaks to the layout will improve experience for users?
Just heard that Adidas launched a football shoe with a chip inside that transmits data on maximum speed, distance covered, and number of sprints to a computer or mobile device. How cool is that? How does it change the soccer player’s game if he or she knew how much energy to conserve based on kilometers run during the 90 minute match or which areas to focus more on or how to play in relation to other team mates?
Here are other reasons to keep recognition metrics on your radar:
Leverage metrics to drive a recognition culture: If you are aware of those employees who have repeatedly taken time to recognize great work can you in turn highlight their contribution?
Improve ‘stickiness’ for your recognition site: Enhance usability by tracking content downloads, page views among other metrics.
Drive community and local recognitions: Staff will be more connected to local communities and it helps to ‘seed’ forums for recognitions closer home.
Support decision making with metrics: Simple data pointers such as the location’s first and most recent joiner can be inputs for, say, a milestone celebration.
What struck you most in this communication and how else can metrics improve recognitions in organizations?