Recognising your Peers

6 July 2015

In today’s economic climate it is important to make the most of any opportunity to improve morale and engagement in the workplace. With many organisations making budget cuts and redundancies since the country fell into recession, many team members are still feeling the effects, with greater expectations and demands being placed on them and their managers. Nick Hamilton, Managing Director of Inconnection, gives his views on peer to peer recognition programmes and how he thinks these are essential to any business and their employees. Nick said: “Businesses small and large have been through some tough times lately, with many losing valuable team members, cutting their budgets across many departments and generally doing all they can to stay afloat. Since the start of 2013 it feels like things are on the turn and I believe one way to kick your business back into action is by making your employees feel good." “I understand that managerial recognition and financial rewards such as bonuses are great motivators for staff, but there is nothing quite like acknowledgement by one’s peers for working hard and achieving results." “Peer to peer recognition is a great cost-effective way to create a positive culture for employees as well as encouraging them to provide praise and recognition to their colleagues. This praise can be from small every day ‘Well dones’ to larger scale achievements that are still often overlooked by managers or business owners.” Nick believes that by empowering employees to offer recognition to their peers it is possible to improve the productivity of a company: “Team members are encouraged to take an interest in each other’s’ work, creating a sense of responsibility and pride. “Peer to peer recognition also helps companies to improve engagement and team spirit, as employees feel appreciated for the part they played in their team becoming successful. Nick noted that it can be moulded around any business, so companies can make it as in-depth as their budget will allow. Here are a few suggestions for smaller budgets:

  • Introduce a very basic system in which companies provide a ‘recognition box’ and note-cards (for example), which are then read out in team meetings.
  • Add a ‘reward’ dimension when planning a scheme. Create a process that lets employees nominate their peers for a reward, be it finishing an hour early, a bottle of wine or something more aspirational, to publicly celebrate their achievements.
  • Employees collect reward points over a period of time, which they can redeem against a selection of gifts, vouchers and experiences. This will encourage people to go the extra mile on a regular basis.

Nick concluded: “A peer to peer recognition scheme needs some thought, I would not advise any company to implement one without an outlined process, it will do more bad than good. It is all about empowering your people and organisation with a clear set out process that everyone understands.” Further considerations:

  • Each company is unique, there is no one size fits all. A business should create a scheme that will work for them.
  • Companies need to make sure they communicate the scheme clearly too all involved. Ensure all employees understand the expectations and what part they play.
  • Lead by example, managers should model the behaviours they want from their employees.
  • Firms should make the whole process simple, everyone is more likely to get involved if it is easy to nominate a peer and it doesn’t take too much time.
  • Businesses need to take time to thank employees for any extra effort.
  • Once a scheme is set up the work has not stopped. Businesses need to monitor the effects and adapt the programme to the requirements of the business and team.