This is the Year to Start Your Peer-to-Peer Employee Recognition Program

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 19, 2023

Quiet quitting. Layoffs. Inflation.

Last year wasn’t a great year for workforce headlines. Exiting 2022, surveys of workers showed that about a third of employees were anxious about losing their jobs or other cutbacks.

That most certainly is prompting business leaders to refocus on their own employee recognition programs to lower the fear factor in their workplaces and keep the best performers engaged.

Yet, you can do more when it comes to recognition, and it may actually have a bigger impact.

Help your employees recognize the accomplishments of one another.

Studies have shown that employees are more motivated by their peers than by money when it comes to maximizing performance. We also know that 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen a positive increase in customer satisfaction.

Peer-to-peer recognition is a great way to make sure your team is rewarded and productive. To lessen staff anxiety, increase workplace engagement, and stabilize retention, follow these tips to ensure you have the right infrastructure and ideas to get a head start on a peer-to-peer recognition program:

Establishing a Program

The first step is to be sure that you understand what your goals are to implement a peer-to-peer recognition program. Such as:

·       How does this relate to the company’s vision, mission, and goals?

·       What kind of resources are available to make the program successful?

While these questions might seem obvious, having a framework in place will help ensure all bases are covered and the program is displaying your company’s values.


Make it a Priority and Make it Accessible

Once you have determined the focus of the program, you have to reinforce that it’s part of your company’s overall culture. That means two things: Making it well-known and making it simple.

Let all employees know, at all levels, that this is a priority and part of your culture. Make it part of onboarding new employees. Reinforce the program in internal communications.

Once your team knows it’s a priority, you have to make it easy for the employees. Let’s face it. Pizza parties and company swag aren’t cutting it anymore. Neither is simply saying, ‘Good job’ and slapping “[your company name] recognition program” across it.

An internal website allowing for easy recognition is a great place to start. You can allow employees to simply show kudos through intranet chats or Slack channels, or you can do something more. For instance, at CardSnacks, we have added programs for companies that allow both company-branded e-cards, and also the addition of a personal touch, like a favorite song or a gift card. Some other companies make a range of perks or gifts available for employees to send to one another.

Remember, most employees and co-workers have a ton of other items to juggle throughout their workday, so having a program that is quick and easy (and doesn’t take a lot of time to learn how to use!) will make it easier for peers to recognize their coworkers more often than not. Luckily, there are many platforms and tools available that make it easy for employees to recognize their peers.

Open Employee Recognition to All

Leading by example can sometimes be easier said than done but, starting the program in the C-suite may just be the encouragement your team needs to begin transcending to junior level employees. How younger employees are recognized will ultimately encourage them to grow within the organization and boost their confidence.

In a study completed by Gallup and Workhuman, Generation Z (those who are considered to be born in the mid-to-late 1990’s) shows a higher percentage of wanting to receive recognition from both their peers and their managers compared with earlier generations. So, let’s give the people what they want!

Especially for a generation that has been more selective in their job’s culture, facilitating a program that fosters appreciation and recognition is more likely to allow them to grow and expand their tenure with the company.

One caveat: The big criticism of peer recognition programs is that it could lead to favoritism or, worse, potential discrimination claims. This is why you need your people and culture teams to monitor who is being rewarded, who is not, and why.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint as a business leader. In the age of remote working and so much job anxiety, it can be challenging to ensure your employees are feeling appreciated and a member of your company’s community. However, establishing and implementing a thorough peer-to-peer recognition program gives your company the opportunity to invest in your employees, culture, and overall growth. That will come as a welcome relief as your team starts the new year.

By Mark Wachen Mark Wachen has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Mark Wachen is the CEO of CardSnacks. He also is the Managing Partner and Founder of Upstage Ventures, a firm that advises and invests in consumer internet and interactive marketing companies. Wachen was the founder of the Dreamit NYC accelerator program, which he ran from 2011-2013. Prior to Dreamit, Wachen was the CEO/Founder of Optimost, the company that pioneered multivariate testing and optimization on the Internet. He served as CEO for the company up until its acquisition by Interwoven in November 2007 for $52 million. Wachen also worked for seven years at Sony, overseeing a wide variety of Internet initiatives. Wachen graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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