How to Create a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program

Does your organization have a formal employee recognition program? Do you also utilize peer-to-peer recognition? If not, are you considering doing so in the future?Recognition

Peer-to-peer recognition is a form of feedback that comes from an employee’s peers rather than superiors. In other words, it’s input from others at an employee’s own level or others he or she works with. If you’re not familiar with peer-to-peer recognition programs, this article shows the basics of such a program, as well as some pros and cons.

If you’re ready to set up a peer-to-peer recognition program, here are some tips to get started:

  • Start by defining the goals and outline for the program. Understanding the overall goals will help the organization design the program in a way that will accomplish those goals. Not all organizations desire the same outcome. Some will look for increased employee engagement, for example, while others will look to enhance teamwork and cooperation. While these are just two examples, the key here is to understand the goals before getting started, as they will shape the program setup.
  • As with most initiatives, it’s important to have senior staff on board to promote the program. Ideally, input should be sought from employees during the planning stage, as well.
  • The organization needs to determine up front who will be responsible for implementing the program, as well as who will be responsible for managing it over time and ensuring its continued success.
  • If you will be utilizing software as part of the process, guidelines will need to be created in advance to assess and compare software options. Additionally, implementation teams with members across departments like IT and HR will need to work on the implementation and rollout.
  • When determining program setup, one of the biggest factors is ease of use. Despite the other factors, if the system or process is too cumbersome, it will hinder the program’s success. Keep this in mind both when designing the process and when selecting software.
  • Don’t underestimate the training required for any new process, even if it seems intuitive.
  • Determine how employees will recognize one another. One option is written recognition formalized in some type of software program, but there are other options, as well. It could be as simple as encouraging handwritten notes or spoken feedback about a job well done. Or, it could involve actual rewards like gift cards, food, or even trophies. Yet another option is recognition that is sent to the supervisor or manager, who will then share it more broadly. The point is that there are options, and the organization will need to determine which makes the most sense.
  • Determine which types of behaviors you want to encourage—those are the behaviors you want others to recognize in their peers. This will likely be directly related to program goals. Depending on what your goals are, the types of behaviors you want recognized may vary. This could also be a component you change over time or something that rotates on a set time frame. Changing the focus can keep employee interest over time.
  • Good communication about the program is critical to its success. Be clear on how the program works, what types of behaviors should be recognized, how the recognition works, and how to use any software involved.
  • As with any new initiative, be sure to have a mechanism in place to evaluate its effectiveness and improve it over time.

What has your experience been with peer-to-peer recognition programs? What other tips would you add for a successful implementation?

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