Being acknowledged for doing something well feels good. In the work place, appreciation can lead to a reduction in turnover and all round happier employees.
However, a thank you in the workplace doesn’t only need to come from the boss, it can come courtesy of peer-to-peer recognition. This is appreciation offered between colleagues.
This recognition can be as simple as a Thank you note, a spontaneous job well done or a high five. Leaders should encourage peer-to-peer recognition for several reasons, including:
It creates a culture of gratitude in the organisation
Gratitude gears us to seeing the best in many situations. This sort of environment can lead to reduction in conflicts, greater optimism at work and a healthier workplace.
It encourages people to do their best
Employees will be encouraged to do their work well and even put in extra effort. After all, their efforts will be noticed and appreciated.
Relationships are strengthened
Peer-to-peer recognition helps to build solid bonds and strengthen personal relationships. This helps people work better together.
Even small wins get appreciated
It is impossible for bosses to see every little thing that employees do. Colleagues however, can. This puts them in a good position show appreciation. This appreciation can boost employee morale.
Whether your company opts for informal appreciation or opts for a technology based solution, there are several ways to encourage peer-to-peer recognition.
Educate employees about peer-to-peer recognition
It is going to be very heard to initiate a culture of recognition if employees do not know its benefits. Talk to staff about why they should do it and share practical examples. This is a good time to clarify when they should be appreciating each other. One instance might be saying thanks to colleagues when they uphold company values.
Show them how to recognise each other. When thanking a colleague, it is good practice to mention what exactly the Thank you is for. For instance “Thank you for finishing the sales report under time and saving the client a delay.” Experts also say that the timing matters. Let employees know that they shouldn’t wait to say Thank you. The sooner appreciation is offered, the better.
Build recognition into your meetings
At the end or beginning of meetings, make it a tradition to go around the room and ask each employee to thank someone who they felt did something valuable. This regular reminder will encourage employees to praise and appreciate each other even away from meetings. This can be a particularly good way to motivate virtual teams.
Lead by example
In order to encourage peer-to-peer recognition, leaders have to walk the talk. That means thanking each other publicly. Employees look to their leaders for cues on how to behave and observing this behaviour will make it easier for them to adopt it.
You want recognition to be frequent, not done only once a quarter so thank fellow managers often. Show employees that appreciation needn’t only be reserved for hitting big targets. Seemingly small kindnesses should be recognised too.
Tips to encourage peer-to-peer recognition if using a formal program
Different software exists to make peer-to-peer recognition seam less and easy to track. If this is the route you choose, you can take these steps to encourage employees to embrace it.
Keep it simple
Ensure that the platform you implement for peer-to-peer recognition is easy to use. Those that come with a mobile app are particularly user friendly. The interface should be attractive and require few steps to appreciating a colleague.
Get employees involved in designing the program
Being involved in what the program looks like, how it works, what rewards will be collected and in what ways will encourage employees to take part in the recognition process. Employees will be able to suggest rewards that they actually like.
For instance, a reward can be an hour off work if someone is appreciated a given number of times. By involving them, you can use that as an opportunity to further educate employees about the importance of the program.
Make sure it is inclusive
Who gets to be on the platform? The answer is everyone. This will ensure that employees across all departments get a chance to both be appreciated and to appreciate others. This includes your support staff as well.
Do not delay rewards
A formal program may have a range of rewards for employees who have been appreciated. When an employee is illegible for a gift card, ensure that they receive it immediately. This will encourage peer-to-peer recognition as employees will see that the program works and that management takes it seriously. It will also encourage everyone to keep doing their best.
Keep it flexible
For praise and recognition to be valid, it needs to be genuine. That means you should avoid a software that floods your employees’ e-mails with reminders to appreciate their colleagues. This might result in empty appreciation. Just as you do not schedule a Thank you, the software should allow employees to use it as and when the need arises.
Make it fun
Your employees are not going to want to use a program that is bland. Make it fun, engaging, colourful and customizable. Make sure it has fun e-cards that will delight both the person giving praise and the one receiving it. The idea is that employees should feel positive when they give and receive appreciation.
The rewards should be fun too and not only tied to money. This way, employees will participate because they want to and not in order to help another win a cash prize.
While recognition is important in the workplace, it is not enough for it to only flow in a top-down direction. Managers who encourage peer-to-peer recognition can see an uptick in morale and motivation amongst employees. In addition, it is a cost effective way to build a positive work place culture.
While some opt for an informal system, others keep track of recognition with software. Both have benefits and companies that combine the two can enjoy the best of both worlds. Peer-to-peer recognition should be encouraged amongst teams of all kinds, across all industries.