Peer-to-Peer Recognition Programs Inspire Employees

August 2017

Welcome to “Summertime…and Improving Productivity Is Easy: Eight Ways to Increase Employee Engagement,” a ScottMadden eight-part series.

Based on a recent Gallup study,[1] we know that approximately 70% of employees are not engaged at work, resulting in lower job performance and loss of time and money for the organization. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll provide insights on how employee engagement impacts your business outcomes, as well as tangible examples of how you can increase engagement among your employees. Click here to see the complete series.

In the first installment of the series, we explore peer-to-peer recognition programs, and the value of intrinsic motivation across your organization. Peer-to-peer recognition programs enable employees to nominate other workers for a reward or simply acknowledge an accomplishment, everyday contribution, or exemplary effort. Results are most impactful when successes are shared throughout the company.

Why Do Peer-to-Peer Programs Work?

Our current research does not draw a significant correlation between pay and increased employee satisfaction, which poses the question: how do you create an effective program that motivates and engages employees? What’s the secret?

While peer recognition may not be the silver bullet, it is an intrinsic motivational channel your organization should keep in mind. Think of how you feel when a peer asks you, specifically, for help or praises you in front of colleagues. That moment is an instant motivator—colleagues are celebrating the positive impact that their peers make. Furthermore, the team spirit generated from those accolades increases productivity among the group by pushing colleagues to want to do more.

Formalizing the process and developing a mechanism for employees to regularly recognize peers and provide real-time feedback is a sure-fire way to create transparency in the workplace and motivate others to work to achieve the same recognition. It’s an effective tactic that results in positive cost impacts by increasing productivity within the existing workforce and reducing employee replacement costs.

Getting Organized

Depending on the complexity of your peer-to-peer recognition program, consider the following steps as a guide:

  • Develop clear objectives and goals. Don’t leave anyone in the dark about the purpose of the program. Define the goals and clearly communicate them to the team developing your program
  • Leverage employees across various roles to contribute ideas. As peer-to-peer recognition programs are all-encompassing, make sure all roles and titles are considered when choosing rewards and/or communication channels
  • Roll out program with topdown support. Senior leadership must be invested in the program for it to survive and flourish. Use specific, targeted messaging to all roles within the organization when launching the new recognition program
  • Evaluate adoption of program and tweak, as necessary. These programs should be voluntary, though adoption should be monitored to ensure the program is accomplishing the desired objectives. Ask for input from participants and make updates to the program, as necessary

Recognition Ideas

The sky is the limit for many peer-to-peer recognition/reward programs, allowing you the opportunity to tailor the program to your organization or industry. Your program may recognize reward recipients publicly or allow them to exchange points for products; continue to brainstorm within your company and build on the list below:

  • Complimentary lunch with the boss or small group
  • “Cashing in” points for gifts (e.g., gift cards, company branded materials, etc.)
  • Recognition on intranet or other internal messaging system
  • Convenient parking spaces
  • Personal notes from the “big boss” thanking employees for going above and beyond

Implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program is one of many steps you can take to improve employee engagement across your organization.

Additional Resources

[1] Gallup, “The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis,” 2016

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Contributing Authors

Kate Breen Manager
Harold Lewis Manager

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