Consider this scenario: You’re an Executive Director at EFG Corp and you’ve been actively using your company’s social recognition technology to deliver rewards and recognition to your team of 50 people. You’ve identified your rockstar managers and have been recognizing them to show your appreciation and to inspire the rest of the team to emulate those same behaviors. You notice however that while productivity has improved by 30%, teamwork and collaboration throughout the department are lacking, which is keeping you from operating at a higher level. So what do you do?
At its most basic level, recognition acknowledges the performance of an individual, which taps into one’s intrinsic need for autonomy, proficiency and purpose. When a manager delivers recognition, this can ignite all three of those, resulting in a number of outcomes, such as improved performance and an increased sense of loyalty to the organization. This is good news, but the news could get even better by also focusing on meaningful workplace relationships.
This is where peer-to-peer recognition can make a significant difference. Horizontal recognition amongst peers and teammates can motivate employees in a way that top-down recognition alone cannot. When an employee realizes that their work is meaningful and impacts those with whom they work closely, recognition can have a profound effect on both the giver and the recipient.
Here are a few tips to starting or nurturing a peer-to-peer recognition program.
- Lead by example. Employees are more likely to participate in peer-to-peer recognition if they see their managers initiating recognition. This will also teach them how to give insightful, positive feedback to one another.
- Deliver timely feedback. Your social recognition technology should allow for quick, in-the-moment recognition. Positive feedback doesn’t hold the same power when it’s given weeks or months after the fact.
- Cleary define the goals of your program. If your goal is to improve attendance or to develop leadership skills, your program should be designed with these very specific goals in mind. The more specific and tailored the program is, the more effective you’ll be at driving the behaviors you’re seeking.
- Evaluate the program’s success. Business analytics can identify participation levels and activity, which can then be correlated with the results of your goals. This will help determine the success of the program and identify what changes should be made to the program moving forward.
Initiating a peer-peer recognition program doesn’t mean you should eliminate manager discretionary programs; they are the foundation on which your culture of recognition is built. We recommend a mix of both. In some cases peers give more detailed feedback since they have more opportunities to observe each other’s work and performance, which gives you the opportunity to build a collaborative, team-oriented workforce.