How to Build a Peer-to-Peer Recognition System
Managers have dozens of daily responsibilities — plates to keep spinning high above their heads. Inevitably, some of those plates fall, and often one of the first to be dropped is recognition of employee effort and achievement. Yet, if this plate remains on the ground for too long, workers will feel unappreciated, causing them to disengage and look for employment elsewhere.
While employee recognition is critical to company success, managers should not have to keep this plate spinning on their own. It is possible to harness the power of the workforce to keep individual employees happy and performing well: with a peer-to-peer system of recognition.
What Is P2P Recognition?
Humans crave recognition for their efforts; research from SurveyMonkey found 82 percent of workers agreed that recognition is required for happiness at work. However, as mentioned above, organizations are destined to be disappointed if they place all expectations for employee recognition on business leaders. Managers are simply too busy with their own tasks, so they might not recognize when a worker is deserving or in need of appreciation to perpetuate their performance. The best solution is to offload much of this responsibility to the staff in a peer-to-peer recognition system.
Peer-to-peer (often shortened to P2P) recognition is the expression of appreciation and commendation between coworkers. Studies suggest that genuine recognition and gratitude from coworkers can be as effective — or even more effective — than praise from a manager. Likely, this is because P2P recognition does not require a formal structure and allows workers to experience commendation whenever and from whoever notices.
P2P recognition can develop naturally from a positive company culture in which employees feel empowered to collaborate and support one another to reach mutual success. However, P2P recognition can also contribute to the creation of such a workplace culture. When employees are tasked with bolstering one another’s spirits, they are more likely to develop an affinity for one another and function more effectively as a team. As a result, workers are less likely to leave for a different place of employment — because all their needs are being met by their current work environment.
Best Practices for P2P Recognition
Managers should not expect their workforce to participate in P2P recognition without encouragement and support. What’s more, not every P2P recognition system is as effective as it could be as a result of how managers and workers contribute. The best employee recognition programs provide ample space for P2P recognition in the following ways:
P2P recognition is authentic. Workers know when they are deserving of appreciation, so praise offered from employees must be sincere. If employees feel that participating in P2P recognition is merely another task on their to-do list, the praise given and received from coworkers will have little effect on morale.
P2P recognition should be immediate. The main problem with praise from managers is that it can take time for business leaders to notice the effects of a worker’s effort and achievement and provide rewards. Coworkers can and should deliver recognition as soon as a worker does something noteworthy to ensure the worker feels valued in the moment.
P2P recognition is publicized. Private praise is valuable, but it does not inform the rest of the workforce about how to engage in P2P recognition. Initially, employees should be encouraged to make their recognition of one another public, using social media, a praise wall, an email shoutout, or something else.
P2P recognition includes everyone. Often, recognition programs favor some individuals and groups over others. Every worker is contributing to company success, so every worker deserves appreciation. P2P recognition programs need to find ways to ensure that the less-visible work receives recognition, too.
P2P recognition should be fun. Generally, it is not wise to tie P2P recognition with monetary rewards or any other prize to be coveted and competed for. Rather, a P2P recognition program should be a source of lighthearted joy that provides mutual inspiration and drive within the workforce.
P2P recognition can take many different forms, from handwritten thank-you notes to printed certificates to a cup of coffee to a firm handshake after a great presentation. Workers need recognition of jobs well done, and their peers are ready and able to provide that recognition sooner and better than most managers can.
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.