Peer-to-peer recognition empowers employees to share appreciation and builds your company culture of gratitude!
An increasing numbers of modern workers are motivated, at least in part, by peer recognition, according to YouEarnedIt and to research presented by Richard Florida in his book “The Rise of the Creative Class.”
Earning the respect of peers is a major driver of motivation among workers today, Florida found.
Recognition from management is critical, of course. But peer-to-peer recognition harnesses the intimate knowledge coworkers have with our work day-to-day.
Peer-to-peer recognition needs institutional support to flourish, however. Unless your company provides the framework for recognition — and management models it — employees are less likely to share their appreciation for coworkers.
Read on for five examples of companies who’ve found effective, easy ways to spread peer-to-peer recognition. You’ll find inspiration to empower your workplace!
5 Companies That Do Peer-to-Peer Recognition Right
Online retailer Zappos, based in Las Vegas, aims to build positive team spirit with peer-to-peer recognition. They are so good at it, they’re the industry standard.
“While managers can certainly reward employees, we leave it up to the employees to nominate their peers. In remaining true to our core value ‘Do More With Less,’ we try to keep our programs affordable and scalable,” Zappos Insights explains.
Zappos employees earn and give recognition in four ways:
- Share and receive Zappos dollars, or “Zollars,” for being helpful, providing good customer service and other exemplary behavior. Zollars can be redeemed for movie tickets, donated to charity or spent on company swag.
- Nominate a worthy coworker for a coveted parking spot that’s out of the hot Vegas sun and near the front door.
- Give a $50 coworker bonus. Each Zapponian can give one bonus per calendar month, but they can receive more than one as long as they are from different employees.
- Employees who receive a bonus are considered for the Zappos Hero Award — a top honor for employees who embrace the company’s values and deliver excellent service.
From Zollars on up, each incident of recognition must be explained. Why is the person deserving? Recognition without the “why” is ineffective. Explanation is key to making peer-to-peer recognition meaningful for recipients.
2. Douglas County Library System
According to SHRM, this Colorado public library system takes a low-tech approach to peer-to-peer recognition. A rotating team of 12 employees with diverse job titles from various locations consults annually with one or two employees from each business unit about ideas for recognition.
Individual employees can also nominate each other at any time. Awards include a special dinner, a paid day off and a label recognizing the employee inside their favorite library book.
There’s an element of surprise to peer-to-peer recognition. It’s unexpected and therefore “can have a very powerful impact,” SHRM’s Toni Vranjes writes.
3. Zebra Technologies
Employees at this tracking software company can send appreciation certificates and spend up to $100 on gifts without management approval, according to Business Management Daily. Employees can also give occasional cash awards ranging from $350 to $3,000, for which management approval is required.
The urge to show appreciation is natural, but a lack of resources may hold many employees back. Make it easy. Empower gratitude. Effective peer-to-peer recognition programs trust employees with the resources they need to thank each other immediately, such as gift certificates.
4. Tiffany & Co.
Involving employees in the creation of the peer-to-peer recognition program is a key to success. You’re investing employees’ valuable insights into a program that ultimately belongs to them.
Employee feedback was an important first step to creating the peer-to-peer recognition program at Tiffany & Co., the global jewelry and design brand, according to Jack Trlica of Loss Prevention Magazine. The result is an equitable system.
“Individuals at all levels of the organization can nominate someone for outstanding teamwork, customer service, or security/protection,” Trlica writes.
5. Snowfly incentive program at 200-seat call center
Sometimes peer-to-peer recognition is as simple as providing employees with a forum to share positive feedback.
HR veteran Brooks Mitchell describes one such program in his InsideARM.com article, “Peer-to-Peer Recognition Really Works in Call Centers.”
Employees at a 200-seat call center were given the opportunity to share recognition in a public forum, hosted by the Snowfly incentive company.
The employees loved it.
“Many of the messages recounted major sacrifices which had been made to help co-workers,” Mitchell wrote. One example: I would like to thank Tracey for taking care of my desk while I was out for my Dad’s funeral. She is always there for me when I am out, even my flex days. Thanks, Tracey.
“I couldn’t quit reading them. I was addicted,” Mitchell wrote. “When I noticed the word count, I was stunned and thought there must be a mistake. The document was 1,174 pages long and included 368,510 words and 23,423 comments. Unbelievable!”
Start Your Peer-to-Peer Program Today
What’s the takeaway here? A lack of appreciation is not an issue among peers. Coworkers happily share gratitude when empowered to do so.
The best part is, you can take simple steps today toward encouraging peer-to-peer recognition.
Mitchell reflects on what he learned from his mentor, the industrial psychologist Dr. Scott Meyers.
“He always told me that people, when given the opportunity to be empowered, will never disappoint you. His classic research and subsequent book, ‘Every Employee a Manager,’ is still a must-read for all managers who genuinely believe in the value of human resources,” Mitchell writes.
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement, loyalty and appreciation, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
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