Top Tips for Creating a Culture of Positive Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Getting people shouting about each others' achievements

If you’ve ever worked in an organisation that has a genuine appreciation culture, then you'll know the value it brings to the business. After all, numerous studies have shown that what employees want most from their jobs is to feel appreciated.

The case for a recognition programme is simple: when positive behaviours by employees are recognised, they are repeated by the individual as well as their colleagues and co-workers. This leads to a more successful company culture that inspires better teamwork, and instils a pride in their work, their role and the business they work for.

Many HR professionals believe that recognition from leaders is better for success, but employees tell us that they value recognition from their co-workers more highly, because their colleagues better understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a recognition scheme that involves peer-to-peer elements, here are some top tips to get you started.

Make it tangible

Rather than just telling people they need to thank each other more, set up a system that they can actually use to recognise each other's achievements. A recognition platform can include modules for peer-to-peer recognition, letting people nominate each other for rewards on a system that's monitored by line managers.

Involve employees

Don’t launch a new recognition programme without consulting your employees. If you do, the likelihood is they’ll just see it as just another HR initiative, rather than something that actually works for them, and you won’t get the results you want. Let your employees have a say in designing the scheme - for example, what behaviours or contributions should be recognised, how recognition is given, and what the reward is.

Equal opportunities

Every employee should have an equal opportunity to give and receive recognition. Make sure your scheme has a level playing field that includes everyone in the business. When rewards are only open to senior staff - who are already going to be better paid - then it can feel incredibly unfair to the people on the ground. This imbalance isn't great for an organisation's culture, and it can mean people are unwilling to invest in a company that won't invest in them.

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Make the recognition specific

Encourage your employees to recognise each other with specific compliments, not just a general well done, so that they and their co-workers understand what positive behaviours or specific contributions are being recognised. It could be tied into your company values - say, for example, one of your core values was related to the environment, then recognition could be for recycling properly. If one of your values is around customer service, let people recognise each other for going the extra mile for a customer.

Make the recognition (and the reward) meaningful

As well as giving specific compliments, it’s important for employees to tell their co-workers why the contribution was helpful. Meaningful recognition helps to associate positive memories with their peers and the company, building team spirit and co-operation.

It can mean a lot to receive public recognition, but if you wish to include rewards too then be sure to give something that the individual desires, or something that they can experience. Don’t assume that what reward you would most appreciate will be the same across your entire employee base.

Make recognition immediate

Wherever possible, award recognition within hours rather than days, weeks or months. Recognition reinforces the positive behaviours you wish to be repeated, but a gap between the actual behaviour and recognition lessens the impact and the likelihood it will be repeated by the employee and their co-workers.

Make sure your recognition platform is easy to use, too - we've found that people will lose interest and give up on a nomination if it takes more than a couple of minutes to complete. Make sure there aren't too many hoops to jump through to talk about how a colleague's done a great job.

Talk the talk, walk the walk

Managers and executives must lead by example. It’s important for your senior management team to promote recognition efforts regularly, and effectively communicate the programme otherwise it’s unlikely that a culture of positive peer-to-peer recognition will be adopted.

Peer-to-peer doesn't mean that all recognition has to be one way, either - encourage people to use it for people both above and below each other in the organisation to get the appreciation flowing at every level.

Communication is key

Communication is integral to creating a successful peer to peer recognition programme. You need to make sure that every employee understands why the programme is being implemented, which specific behaviours will rewarded, and what the rewards are. Don't let it get forgotten, either - use posters and email reminders to keep people invested in the scheme. You could even have a monthly awards ceremony where people who received the most nominations get a little something extra, making it a regular part of office life.

Peer to peer recognition can be as in-depth as your budget will allow, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. These tips will help your business create a culture of positive peer-to-peer recognition, which will have a direct impact on the success of your business. After all, it’s your employees that drive the results that improve your bottom line.

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