Last week I discussed the 5 approaches to peer to peer recognition and this week I wanted to discuss how your organization can maximize the potential impact of the peer to peer recognition program by considering the following best practices.
Gather Feedback to Design Peer to Peer Recognition Program Parameters
A peer to peer recognition committee might be necessary to oversee the award program or a single administrator may suffice depending on the size of your organization. It is important to gather feedback from employees beginning in the planning stages of the recognition program. By considering what employees would like to earn as awards and how they would like to be recognized early on, your peer to peer recognition program will be more relevant and important to everyone involved.
Clearly Define how the Recognition Program functions and how points are allotted
After feedback about employee expectations is gathered, it is vital for companies to clearly define the roles of participants in the recognition program. Also, point values for the different peer awards to be given should be agreed upon at the start of the award program or start of the new program period. It is essential that the recognition program be fair and considered such by employees. I advise clients to reach out to employees through different media to consistently communicate the peer recognition award program to motivate employees to participate.
Take Advantage of Technology to Streamline your Recognition Program
By taking the recognition program online, your organization can make the nomination approval process easy for employees and supervisors/committee members. The peer recognition award programs I help administer offer an online nomination form that once submitted is emailed for approval. This makes the nomination process simple and allows the nominee, nominator and applicable supervisor or committee to be instantly notified once a valid nomination is submitted and then again when it is approved.
Allow all employees to award any co-worker or peer
Allowing everyone to participate in the recognition program offers employees a way to thank and recognize excellence within and outside a given department, building teamwork across the organization. Also, permitting employees to nominate workers from other areas of the organization helps the company to avoid having nominations only submitted from/for members within a group of friends.
Reward and Encourage Participation
Incentivizing employees to nominate peers and supervisors or committee members to approve nominations in a timely manner is not the focus of most peer to peer recognition programs but an important component to encourage participation. In one of my client’s peer to peer recognition program, the employee who submits the most valid nominations is rewarded at the end of the year. In the same recognition program, the recipient of the most approved nominations is similarly rewarded at the end of each year.
Incorporate Public Recognition
A few clients of mine with peer to peer recognition programs feature an employee of the month from each location (chosen from the peer to peer nominations) on their award program website. I have seen smaller clients display pictures of nominated employees in entry hallways or break rooms. Public recognition should be incorporated in the award program to reinforce positive behavior and motivate employees to participate in the future.
Let employees work towards a long term goal
Many peer to peer recognition programs offer employees ways to nominate peers for something that happened on the spot. Allowing employees to work towards a long term goal keeps them interested in the recognition program and promotes employee retention. For example, a company might allow employees to nominate peers for the following company values: Safety, Attitude, Focus on the mission, Environment, Teamwork and Your personal best (spelling out safety). Once an employee is nominated so many times for each reason, he or she could then be allowed to redeem from a reserved collection of distinguished awards as long term reward and incentive to participate regardless of an employee’s tenure.
When a company incorporates these best practices in a peer to peer recognition program, it is enhancing the appeal of the award program, making the recognition program easy to administer/utilize and maximizing its potential impact. Peer recognition award programs can build teamwork, motivate employees and increase employee retention when properly administered and structured.