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5 Approaches to Peer to Peer Recognition Award Programs

Written by Amy

Peer to Peer recognition is a relatively new concept that is becoming a customary part of any effective employee recognition program. I have identified five different approaches to peer to peer recognition that I have seen utilized, all of which were part of an overall employee recognition program. Depending on how your company would like to motivate employees to participate in a peer to peer recognition program, these approaches can be used separately or in conjunction with one another. All of these approaches to peer recognition awards require specific criteria for a nomination to be considered valid, supervisor approval and many can even require a nomination committee to oversee the recognition program.

Approach 1-Peers submit nominations and a nominee is selected randomly as the employee of the month/quarter

Although this may be a common form of peer to peer recognition, it is difficult to motivate employees when only one person is being recognized in a given period. As Roy Saunderson explains in his article on peer to peer recognition principals, larger companies should especially avoid this kind of peer award program as it can be perceived as more of a popularity contest than a serious recognition program.

Approach 2-Nominees are given recognition on the incentive website, on a wall of fame, via an announcement email or monthly newsletter or at a formal recognition meeting

Recognition is a powerful motivator and posting a picture of an employee along with the reason for the nomination can be a great way to thank an employee for a job well done. Public employee recognition not only motivates employees but gives an example for other employees to follow. Often I will prepare arecognition package containing award ordering instructions for a client’s employee. This personalized recognition is publicly presented and much appreciated by employees. It also offers a learning opportunity for other employees when the reason behind the peer to peer nomination is revealed.

Approach 3-All nominators and nominees are awarded for valid peer to peer nominations with points that can be saved or spent

This kind of recognition program usually involves more oversight by program administrators and is effective in motivating employees to participate in the peer to peer recognition program. Sometimes this kind of peer to peer recognition program will simply award nominees instead of both nominees and nominators. Either way, this peer recognition program usually works best in situations where employees have access to the internet at work and home so they are able to keep an eye on outstanding and incoming nominations.

Approach 4-Employees are delegated points to award peers

This form of peer to peer recognition program allots points to each employee that they can then award to nominees. One program that I oversee allows a nominator to award points to three different nominees per quarter. Employees carefully submit nominations and the nominations tend to be valid. I think this approach is most effective at encouraging employee participation as employees tend to save their points and award them to well-deserving candidates. One client I have with this take on peer recognition allows employees to earn points to be considered for a president’s club. When a person reaches so many points awarded for peer nominations in their career, he or she then enters the president’s club and is invited to attend a special end of year ceremony with leaders of the company.

Approach 5-Employees nominate peers for different awards named for company values or objectives

When an organization implements a new mission or vision statement, it may be a good opportunity to roll out this kind of peer to peer recognition program. A few clients of mine give out a distinguishing award of excellence or use an acronym to express their different values with each letter being a different company value. Going above and beyond, customer service excellence and innovation are often the reasons behind peer to peer nominations in these kinds of programs.

Although the five peer to peer approaches function differently, they are all designed to encourage good working relationships among coworkers and can improve business results. Especially when companies are facing layoffs and downsizing, peer to peer recognition can boost the morale of survivor employees during tough economic times. Check back next week for information on peer to peer recognition best practices.

Originally published on March 02, 2009

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