Part 2: Beyond “Thank You” — Opportunities for Peer-to-Peer Recognition
October 6, 2023
By Kelley Briggs
There are a wide range of ways that employees might recognize each other and their efforts. These can take a variety of forms and focus on both work (e.g., appreciation for collaborative team efforts) and personal (e.g., recognizing anniversaries, birthdays, and other life moments) recognition events. While some peer-to-peer recognition likely occurs organically in most organizations, it’s not something that should be left to chance. Being proactive in encouraging employees to recognize each other and providing them the avenues to do so easily and seamlessly can produce real benefits.
There are a wide range of ways that employees might recognize each other and their efforts. These can take a variety of forms and focus on both work (e.g., appreciation for collaborative team efforts) and personal (e.g., recognizing anniversaries, birthdays, and other life moments) recognition events.
While some peer-to-peer recognition likely occurs organically in most organizations, it’s not something that should be left to chance. Being proactive in encouraging employees to recognize each other and providing them the avenues to do so easily and seamlessly can produce real benefits. In fact, progressive companies have found that building and nurturing a climate that supports and enables peer-to-peer recognition can have many positive impacts — including a positive impact on ROI.
In Part 1 of this series, The Importance of Peer-to-Peer Recognition, we explored the big benefits that peer-to-peer recognition can provide, particularly in the more remote/hybrid work environment we now work in. Here, we take a look at specific ways companies and their HR leaders and managers can provide employees with the support, resources and ideas needed to ensure that peer recognition is well and widely used.
A Round-Up of Ideas to Support Employee Peer-Recognition Efforts
So how can you encourage peer-to-peer recognition in your organization? There are a variety of things you can do. Here, we offer a round-up of ideas and suggestions.
Celebrate life events
While popular corporate communication wisdom suggests that employee communications should avoid the 3 B’s — birthdays, babies, and bowling scores — today’s focus on work/life balance and the recognition that life at work is a big part of every employee’s day make these types of celebrations and recognitions meaningful and often welcomed. Consider creating a shared calendar where employees can post their special days as they wish to ensure you’re recognizing only those who wish to be recognized in this way. Include special company dates and events as well.
Whether you encourage employees to recognize each other and allow work time for personal celebration, or offer personalized gift items from the company—or some combination of both — recognizing employees’ special personal moments can be a great way to build bonds and foster a positive team culture.
Whether or not this is something employees in your organization will value will depend on your corporate culture, but it’s worth considering. It’s also important to make sure that, if you do celebrate these life events, you’re doing so in a way that does not invade employee privacy or subject employees to potential issues related to their personal beliefs or religion. SHRM offers some advice on the matter.
Human nature being what it is, we are all driven by incentives. Programs that award points that can be used like cash to purchase things employees want, are increasingly popular. Having a go-to automated way for employees to give points and make purchases keeps things convenient and gives you a way to track and measure participation as well as those employees who receive recognition frequently.
Build recognition into regular meetings
At the start of regular team or company meetings build in time for team members to recognize each other — individual “kudos” to employees who did something to make a difference for another employee, a customer, vendor, or others. Maybe ask them to give a shout-out to team members who recently helped them with a task or project, or someone who successfully overcame a specific challenge.
Provide personalized notepads or digital templates
Make it easy to recognize peers and keep the idea top of mind by printing up sticky notes with a company-specific template — or do the same in the digital environment in a recognition platform such as Inspirus Connects.
Consider a technology platform
If your organization hasn’t yet jumped on the digital recognition bandwagon, a technology-enabled rewards and recognition platform like Inspirus Connects can provide a central location where employees can recognize and celebrate each another, as well as collaborate and stay up to date on company news and initiatives. Using a singular rewards and recognition platform across your entire enterprise that includes peer-to-peer recognition gives employees a more cohesive experience and management deep insight into employee engagement levels.
Pay attention and leverage what you learn
The most meaningful forms of recognition are personal. But making it personal requires paying attention when you’re having conversations. Maybe a team member mentions that they like a certain type of coffee — pick them up a cup the next time you stop at the coffee shop. Maybe they mention that their hobby is to collect interesting coasters — the next time you see one at a restaurant you’re at, bring it in and give it to them. These small gestures can make a big difference, precisely because they’re personal and they show that you’ve listened.
Hold regular awards events
An important best practice when it comes to rewards and recognition is to recognize employees in a timely manner. While many organizations hold annual events to celebrate milestones like years of service, we’d recommend monthly events to keep these milestones top-of-mind. Consider ways to incorporate some fun into the process by asking employees to come up with their own ideas, and nominations. For instance, consider awards like “best customer service advocate,” “best Zoom etiquette,” and “most likely to be with the company in 10 years” – whatever makes sense within your organization and would be likely to create fun and engagement.
Set the example
Employees will emulate what they observe. Organizational leaders, managers and supervisors set the stage for peer-to-peer recognition through their own efforts to recognize their peers. Managers can also “redirect” recognition — when an employee tells them of something great a coworker did they can suggest the employee tell their peer directly, verbally, or using one of the channels the company has made available. Take advantage of even simple opportunities to provide impactful examples and support of the power of peer-to-peer recognition.
There are a wide range of things you can do to help employees recognize each other, and a wide range of ways you can keep a culture of recognition alive and strong in your organization. What ways have you found to do this in your company?