People – and the actions they take - are what make an employee recognition and engagement program really take off and have a positive impact on the company. With employees actively participating in peer-to-peer recognition, you gain traction, mindshare, and goodwill.
Most organizations now understand the strategic reasons for these programs - they invest in platforms and assign administrators – but getting their team involved often turns out to be the hard part.
Here are five great ways to spark interest in the peer-to-peer component of your program:
1) Consider a Committee
There’s nothing like being responsible for something to get you involved!
It is a best practice to encourage participation by the unofficial leaders in the organization, across levels and departments. By seeking input and support from these influencers, you can drive the message home that this is an employee engagement program, and that employees share ownership of the experience and the outcome. This helps eliminate any sense of top-down administration or manipulation, and boosts camaraderie and program adoption.
A peer-led committee could serve to give feedback on the program or to review nominations for awards. Or, they can be allotted a budget and be charged with planning recognition celebrations.
Gaining the buy in of unofficial leaders will give you invaluable insight and will give the program life where you need it: with the employees.
2) Go Social
Adding a social stream to the homepage of your employee engagement platform can give a boost to your peer-to-peer program.
Each time an employee is recognized by a peer or manager with an eCard in the system, it is posted automatically to a newsfeed for all to see. Like Facebook or other social media, when one teammate recognizes another and the achievement hits the stream, their colleagues can “like” the recognition.
Managers should keep an eye on the social stream for an idea of what’s happening in the company day-to-day. Sometimes a colleague’s contributions are not obvious to all, but are essential to smooth operations. The day-to-day “thanks!” appearing in the social stream can shed light the real story of getting the job done.
3) Add Peer-Nominated Awards
In our own company, we ask our team for nominations for both quarterly and annual awards. Taking the time to highlight an achievement or an example of a teammate living our values is an important part of our organizational culture.
Each quarter a committee of colleagues comes together to select a winner from the many nominations we receive. It’s always tough to decide with so many good nominations! The winner is announced at a company meeting and the winning nomination is read to the entire team to reinforce the actions and decisions that resulted in the nomination. Both the winner and the employee nominating them receive points on our employee engagement platform, and the winner also is invited to select a charity for a quarterly donation of funds raised by the employees.
This process allows us to shine a light on value-driven behaviors, to ensure that teammates are recognized for all that they do, and encourages further peer-to-peer nominations. We make sure that our teammates are part of the process and feel represented.
4) Report on the Big Picture
Increasingly sophisticated reporting can take the data in your platform and make it actionable.
A review of peer-to-peer nominations and eCards received and sent by each employee tells the story of their contributions, achievement, and collaboration throughout the year. This can be important information for managers preparing for coaching or performance reviews, and it gives an unprecedented view into the networks and collaboration going on in the organization every day.
Make it clear to teammates throughout the organization that by participating in the peer-to-peer recognition program, their voices are heard by managers and the efforts of those around them is better understood and valued.
5) Celebrate Achievements
Nothing connects people like celebration. Take recognition and engagement off-line from time to time.
In addition to big annual recognition events, why not also provide a bagel breakfast every time a contract is signed with a new client? Or gather cross-departmental teams together for in-office Olympics during the Rio games this summer (world-class cornhole competition, anyone?).
Giving people a chance to get to know each other, to laugh together, and to applaud mutual successes creates community. And a community of employees that works together and can rely on one another is the point of engagement, after all… There are business and social benefits to personal connections.
Achieving higher levels of engagement isn’t as simple as just adding an online platform and running a survey. These are wonderful tools, but engagement happens when people have an emotional connection to their organization, their colleagues, and their work. Involving people at every step and giving them ways and reasons to recognize their colleagues can create those connections, give you a better workplace culture, and advance your business goals.