Given the raging war for talent, hiring, retaining and keeping the workforce engaged is a real challenge for organizations. They need to employ a variety of measures to become talent magnets – some of them being an immersive culture, an effective rewards and recognition programme, and opportunities to learn and grow within the organization!
However, for the modern workforce, comprising of the millennials and Generation Z, there’s something that’s more important than these traditional methods of recognition. One such method is peer-to-peer recognition!
What Is Peer-To-Peer Recognition?
Peer-to-peer recognition means a colleague-to-colleague, employee-to-employee acknowledgment and appreciation programme.
Not to be mistaken for an employer/ manager-employee appreciation programme, peer-to-peer recognition simply denotes an acknowledgment and appreciation process from a colleague who is a team member, office-mate or a fellow employee – in other words, a peer who enjoys a civil relationship with another fellow employee.
And when we say recognition programmes, it need not imply a complex, intensive set of plans, it can be as simple as a handwritten thank you note or an acknowledgment email that underlines the individual value and personal contribution that is being appreciated, recognized and encouraged.
Why Peer-To-Peer Recognition?
“According to a Gallup survey, 9% of surveyed employees indicated that they received meaningful and memorable recognition through peers.”
Given the diverse, multigenerational workforce today, employees are expected to collaborate extensively for work. A peer-to-peer recognition programme serves as an effective way to promote a culture of positive reinforcement.
In fact, research indicates that since 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.
Additionally, it makes recognition a lot more democratic and decentralized, communicating the message that everybody’s opinion matters.
There’s also the case of remote workers, where a manager may not always be able to track achievements or contributions. In such a case, peer-to-peer recognition can provide them with the much-needed motivation.
According to statistics, peer-to-peer recognition programmes have a positive correlation with employee engagement, and are known to positively impact business outcomes as well!
How To Deploy An Effective Peer-To-Peer Recognition Programme!
When it comes to applying and deploying a peer-to-peer recognition programme, there are many ways in which one can roll-out specific-singular individual programmes or launch a group-based series that focus on teams and sub-teams holistically.
Either way, the exercise is one that needs forethought as it must align with the organizational mission. What’s more, the recognition framework must be individualized & inclusive to the extent of including ‘small wonders’ and ‘everyday achievements’ that might tend to skip the higher management’s eye!
Naysayers might find this exercise cumbersome and check-box worthy, but if implemented correctly and in a humanized way, can work to achieve stellar results. Below we’ve listed down a few how-tos that will show how you can implement them at your workplace!
1. Socialize and optimize!
Social media has made inroads in more places than one can imagine and it is only wise to employ a social media strategy for peer-to-peer recognition too. While it is true that the appeal lies mostly with the younger employees, there’s no reason why it should not work with the more experienced, senior staff too.
After all, acknowledgment, appreciation, and gratitude are universal feelings that transcend age-barriers!
If your organization already has social media handles and boasts of a sizeable ‘followership’, it’s possible that you’ve already made good use of this opportunity. If your professional presence on social media is negligible, find ways of making the most of it.
Post team gratitudes or individual-specific morale boosters on a recent achievement or better still, post photographs with a special note detailing the accomplishment and encourage the employee to share it within their networks.
You’ll find this to be an amazing (and cost-effective) method for fostering positive appreciation.
2. Not tokenism, say thanks with a token!
Employee appreciation programmes that hand out actual non-cash gifts or tokens can go a long way in illustrating the company’s gratitude for a job well done.
A team trophy that has been interpersonally selected and put forward to other individuals/teams is another great way of expressing and fostering mutual respect.
Other times, gifting a non-cash experience such as adjusting an on-work shift time for a couple of days or allowing for off-site logging-in can make a personalized difference and account for the tiny little surprises everyone universally enjoys. Words of caution though, ensure that there is uniformity and maintenance of a confirmed standard for the non-cash token’s that you choose.
3. Cue everyone in!
Involve everyone from bottom-up to top-down and attempt maximizing engagement from all levels.
If that is hard to come by, at the very least, inform everyone in the organization and make aware that a peer-to-peer recognition system is being put into place and that through one recognition method or another; employees are going to initiate an acknowledgment and appreciation programme with another.
4. Make a calendar and make it public!
When another colleague leaves a thank-you note tucked in between piles of folders and papers, there’s a chance the message may get lost in transition, or worse, may be totally lost on the recipient.
Instead, take advantage of the bulletin board and post a calendar marking out individual achievements, birthdays or even team milestones. It can be an immensely memorable and lively way to get the motivation going.
5. Hand notes and huddles!
Peer-to-peer recognition programmes need not be all formal – it can be as simple as handing out friendly and encouraging notes to fellow employees. The note-templates could be designed in alignment with the organizational values.
There could also be impromptu huddles, where the recipient is called and given a quick pat on the back by the peer! This need not be within the same team. Silos can be done away with, recognizing interdepartmental achievements and contributions.
Respond, Recognise, Repeat!
There is no doubt that recognition programmes do work and go the extra mile in encouraging positive employee engagement. So whichever method of peer-to-peer recognition you choose, you’re likely to see a constructive change in morale and thereby productivity.
Respond, recognize and make recognition programmes a consistent part of your HR strategy – you’ll, in turn, be acknowledged and appreciated for it!