Article: How to build a peer to peer recognition program

Strategic HR

How to build a peer to peer recognition program

Peer-to-peer recognition is a low cost and high impact method to build a collaborative culture where everyone feels valued.
How to build a peer to peer recognition program

The talent market is very cut-throat, and engaging and retaining top talent is a top priority for leaders. Organizations are resorting to many measures to become talent magnets, some of them being— a great culture, a leading rewards program, and great learning opportunities. Each of these drives employee engagement in its own way. Recognition is a low-cost and high-impact mechanism to drive employee engagement.  Meaningful and memorable recognition goes a long way in making employees feel valued and motivating them. 

Recognition means are changing, in line with the changing expectations of the modern-day workforce. New workers like millennials expect a lot more transparency and congeniality in their work-life. Top-down traditional recognition approaches may not always work with such a workforce, so organizations must rethink the recognition schemes as a means to drive cultural change. Peer to peer recognition is one such contemporary recognition mechanism that shows huge promise. 

Why Opt for Peer to Peer Recognition? 

“According to a Gallup survey, 9% of surveyed employees indicated that they received meaningful and memorable recognition through peers”

Peer to peer recognition is a powerful tool to create a positive work atmosphere by fostering collaboration and team work. Everyone likes to be appreciated; it is a natural human trait. Research by Paylocity says that being recognized by a peer produces a double dopamine rush, the recipient of such recognition is likely to repeat the desired behavior that earned the recognition. Naturally, peer recognition is a great way to drive desired behaviors that align with the overall business objective. Work is becoming increasingly global and mobile, and we are seeing a rising trend of remote workers, which means that managers cannot always recognize their reportees in person. Peers can pitch in effectively in such situations, and create a sense of camaraderie and high spirits- great motivators at work. 

What makes up an effective peer to peer recognition program?

A great way to create an effective peer to peer recognition program is to align the recognition criteria with the organizational values, basis the following ideals: 

  • Authentic: Peer to peer feedback must be authentic and not just a tick mark. A culture of appreciation must be developed to encourage people to motivate each other. 
  • Timely: Employees often complain about feedback on performance being given at the end of the year, when the achievement is quite forgotten. Peer to peer recognition must be instantaneous, at the moment when the desired behavior is displayed. 
  • Consistent: Peer to peer recognition must be an ongoing process, not a one-time intervention that everyone cheers about and then disappear into oblivion. 
  • Collaborative: Both team and individual recognition categories must be defined. Team peer to peer recognition can create healthy competition between teams, while individual peer to peer recognition creates personalization. Most importantly, peer to peer recognition must be a joint effort to make it sustainable. 

How to implement peer to peer recognition

A peer to peer process need not be cost-intensive. Often, it is the smallest of gestures when extended in a genuine and prompt manner, that make the biggest positive impacts. Here are some ways to help you up your recognition efforts. 

  • Hand notes: Encourage employees to hand over each other friendly and encouraging notes. Design note-templates that are aligned with the organizational values. 
  • Rotating trophy: Get a trophy / stuffed toy and rotate it amongst people or teams to showcase achievements. A monthly rotation contest can boost excitement levels. 
  • Message boards: Both the physical and e-versions of message boards where employees can informally share kudos for each other, work well. 
  • Inter-department praise: Break the functional silos. Create an agenda of observing the neighboring department for a week, and recognizing them for outstanding contributions. 
  • Make movies: Ask team members to make short video clips and showcase them on the intranet or visual displays / TVs.
  • Huddle up: Have impromptu bay huddles where the recipient is called out and given a quick pat on the back by a peer. 
  • Rewards portal: Use technology to design a rewards and recognition portal, where e-praise can be showered through online thank you notes and badges. Create a social media-like feel to get employees involved and enthused about the concept.

Start Now! 

Peer-to-peer recognition has a positive correlation with employee engagement as per the 2016 Globoforce /SHRM Employee Recognition survey. It says that 90% of the surveyed workers who received recognition from a peer, felt more satisfied with their work. This translates to better business performance.

An earlier SHRM/Globoforce survey had found that peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.

This is all the more reason for employers to adopt this effective and efficient practice in a big way now! 

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Topics: Strategic HR, #TotalRewards

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