How good does it feel when you get a “thank you” from a colleague on a job well done, or just for doing something small that helped them out or made their day a little easier? Usually it feels great, knowing that one of your coworkers appreciates you and your efforts. It can make you feel a part of the team.
When employees are allowed to share their thanks, greetings and victories with their colleagues, wonderful things can happen for both team and individual morale. But without a deliberate and developed structure set in place to accommodate social recognition, there’s a good chance this key engagement element could be missing from your workplace. This type of recognition — peer-to-peer — is a very important, yet often overlooked, component of workplace recognition programs.
As Allan Schweyer explains in the e-book “The Art and Science of Engaging Rewards” (2016), peer-to-peer recognition can be missing in organizations simply because there is no official structure established to allow for it. Employees need clear procedures and tools for giving thanks or recognition. They need to be equipped with a system that lets them freely give and receive thanks.
So what kind of systems help accommodate social recognition? Schweyer calls them “next-generation solutions,” and they should include an articulate combination of social recognition, media and collaborative tools.
What kind of tools? There plenty of options out there, as Schweyer tells us. Social recognition software lets employees send thanks and notes to each other, earn and give points, and provide a stage for sharing statements and stories. Applications with social walls (think Facebook) can encourage engagement by displaying real-time activity of recognition within the company. These are often referred to as Corporate Social Network (CSN) platforms.
And there are other avenues for peer-to-peer recognition platforms. Develop ways that employees can award each other points or give cards as tokens of appreciation, which can be digital or physical. Dedicate time during your company’s routine town halls or manager’s meetings for employees to share recognition for others, and then find ways to share those shout-outs with the whole organization. Develop an award-based system where employees can nominate each other to win special prizes.
Whatever plans you put in place, just make sure to systemize them so that employees can easily understand and can access them. And give employees all the tools they’ll need to make the recognition process straightforward — and fun. After all, it shouldn’t be a chore to share recognition; it should be engaging and rewarding for all involved.