3 Elements of an Effective Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program

Motivation can be a tricky thing to nail down. It can be difficult to understand what drives our employees to succeed. But what we do know is that we all have the desire for validation and recognition.

Providing a platform for employees to recognize each other is a great way to encourage a positive atmosphere, all while fostering collaboration and teamwork. Implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program that is tied back to company values helps increase retention and engagement.

We Live for the Applause

You know those comment cards you see in restaurants? The “check here if you got good service” cards that are usually sitting in a dusty box? Well, I know I’ve never actually filled out a card. I mean, who really takes the time to write a comment? And If I have a comment to make, I’m just going to say it. The same issue can be said for year-end performance reviews. Employees wait all year to hear if they’re performing at a commendable level or better and curious if they’ll get that typical 3% merit increase.

Instead of waiting for review time, give employees the opportunity to recognize each other when they see something great happening. A performance review system can help that goal year-round.

At Deloitte LLP, a professional services firm, Applause Awards are used to reward individuals and teams who have made unique and outstanding contributions that are above and beyond the normal expectations of their role. Employees can nominate a peer for an award, on the spot. These awards have a quick turnaround time and may have a monetary award attached to it as well.

Receiving an award from a peer helps to build team morale and increase collaboration. When we are recognized by our peers, we have immediate performance feedback.

Be Authentic

Recognition boosts morale and creates team spirit. But it needs to be authentic. If you only rely on year-end performance reviews, recognition becomes automated, like checking a box. Employees crank out their best work only to rely on a box that says, “commendable.” If this sounds like your organization, it’s time get real.

Employees need consistent and timely feedback. No one wants to wait 6 months to hear they did a great job. In a peer-to-peer program, teams can provide immediate responses to things going well or performance areas that need a boost. Real time, authentic feedback encourages employees to work with a purpose.

For example, let’s say your sales team is poised to hit the annual revenue target but you think they can hit a home run and close a few more deals before the quarter ends. You do the numbers and set new sales goals. During the performance period, employees are encouraged to recognize peer efforts. This means that along with the sales goals numbers on the white board, you’ve got employees giving each other high fives when someone closes a deal. Peers are giving spot awards for awesome performance. The team works harder at a goal they are all trying to achieve together. The awards are real time, based on current activity. This reinforces a high-performance culture that provides immediate recognition.

Go Mobile

No more comment cards. Go mobile with recognition. Social media is a tool that can allow instant feedback, across multiple platforms and can be shared with many people at once. Tweet a “shout out” to your fellow employee or post the award link to your company’s Yammer page. Positive recognition enforces positive behavior. It drives performance. When you go mobile with your program, you enable employees to nominate and congratulate each other, from anywhere.

There are also recognition companies that use customizable rewards and recognition platforms that have a cloud-based, peer-to-peer element. This approach extends to social media and adds more value to recognition. It goes beyond the typical, one-on-one, manager/employee approach. The recognition is visible and shared. An employee engagement platform goes a long way to keeping workers happy and connected throughout the year.

Mobile technology gives you an extra boost to your program. Whether you’re using an app or posting announcements via Twitter and Facebook, your employees now have the ability to “high five” each other at a moment’s notice.

Peer-to-peer recognition programs can help your organization tie business goals to performance goals. By providing real-time feedback, you ensure reinforcement of behaviors you value. Share the success. Empower your employees to spot good performance and reward accomplishment.

Interested in even more ways to help your employees connect? There are plenty of HR solutions for your business available today.

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