Peer-to-Peer Recognition Should Be a Year-Round Commitment

A Little Workplace Appreciation Goes a Long Way

In today’s fast-paced, high-energy workplace, demand can often trump compassion. It’s easy to lose track of your employees’ valuable contributions to your company’s efforts and bottom line. Your staff consists of real people with out-of-work stressors and financial pressures of their own, and sometimes a simple compliment or kind word can mean the difference between a productive day and a wasted one. Our founder and president Chip LaFleur knows it doesn’t cost a dime to support, thank, and recognize your colleagues and coworkers, and we put that maxim into practice every day.

Today, we’re discussing how showing appreciation for fellow team members has made a major impact on our company’s culture, and we’re offering a few suggestions for how to implement a peer-to-peer recognition program at your own workplace.

The Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

While many conscientious companies have employee recognition programs in place, most of these initiatives come from the top down — that is, in the form of an executive or manager providing bonuses or an “Employee of the Month” award (replete with your own parking spot!). Peer-to-peer recognition, however, remains somewhat rare despite its numerous productivity and morale benefits.

Your employees want more than their salary. They want more than their benefits package. And they want more than the occasional pat on the back from an executive they likely don’t know very well. Sure, these are all effective methods of showing a manager’s appreciation for and respect toward their direct employees, but even the best managers and leaders don’t have the full picture of how their employees are making a positive impact on their colleagues and the company. With peer recognition systems, employees not only get the chance to see how their day-to-day efforts are appreciated, but repay that appreciation to back their co-workers whenever it’s deserved.

If you’re on the fence about launching a peer-to-peer recognition program at your office or workplace, here are just a few of the amazing benefits of encouraging your employees to show their appreciation for their fellow colleagues’ performance.

  • Recognition Encourages Increased Performance

When professional colleagues have the means to celebrate one another’s accomplishments, the rising tide of appreciation lifts all boats. Not only will the employee who is being recognized feel grateful, but fellow co-workers will see how their performance is appreciated and strive to improve their work, attitude, and effort. In some instances, friendly competition might even develop, which becomes its own organic method of improvement. Further, an effective peer-to-peer recognition system can help your team attract and retain top talent, which will obviously have myriad benefits of its own.

  • Colleague Appreciation Enhances Morale

As mentioned above, it’s great to hear the occasional word of encouragement from a superior or receive a bonus for a job well done, but peer-to-peer recognition programs are a great way for colleagues to show their admiration and respect on a daily basis. Consistent encouragement motivates people and has also been shown to bring team members together to overcome challenges as an empowered unit.

Further, the mere fact that you’ve put in the time, effort, and funding to develop and implement a peer-to-peer recognition program lets each staff member know that everyone is in the fight together, regardless of rank or status.

Peer recognition can also serve as an excellent medium for productive feedback because it provides employers with a bird’s-eye view of the inner workings of their team and how their employees are working together to move the company forward.

  • Co-Worker Acknowledgement

It’s one thing for fellow employees to let each other know how much they appreciate one another while commiserating about work stressors over lunch or an after-work cocktail, but it’s another thing entirely for them to be able to acknowledge their accomplishments through a bona fide peer-to-peer recognition system. Too often, petty jealousies can derail workplace relationships and even lead to turnover, but having a program in place for colleagues to celebrate one another creates an open and transparent culture that fosters goodwill and boosts confidence. At that point, a staff can transition from an isolated system of siloed departments to a true team moving in the same direction and encouraging everyone to do their best work.

When you consider these benefits and how they could impact your company, the question is not, “Should I implement a peer-to-peer recognition program?” it’s, “How should I implement a peer-to-peer recognition program?”

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Best Practices for Developing a Peer-to-Peer Recognition Program

When considering how to develop and implement an effective peer-to-peer recognition program, there are several important best practices to keep in mind. If you set yourself up for success, your employee appreciation system will begin paying immediate dividends.

  • Establish Attainable Goals

Just as you would with any other company-wide initiative, you need to determine what you hope to achieve through your peer recognition program before creating and implementing it. This might include a less tangible goal like improving employee confidence or morale, or it might be wholly quantifiable, such as increased attendance or productivity. Whatever the case might be, make sure to have some metric for measuring your program and reviewing your progress on a regular basis. At LaFleur, we use Officevibe to track employee engagement, which is one way that we measure the success of our peer recognition initiatives.

  • Encourage Employee Participation

What you believe might be a beneficial system may not align with what your employees are looking for, so you should survey your employees (all your employees) to get their input about potential appreciation programs. Even then, you’re likely to receive a lot of different feedback from your staff, so it might be wise to develop a small review committee to summarize the findings and make a recommendation.

  • Evaluate and Optimize

Depending on what sort of program you’ve incorporated, you should be able to analyze the data to continually and consistently improve your efforts. A good online peer-to-peer recognition platforms will have dashboards that are convenient and easy to use so you can take advantage of the data. And whenever applicable, take steps to provide extra rewards for staff members who have been most frequently recognized by their co-workers or who consistently distribute all their reward budget to others.

  • Review and Improve Your Reward Systems

Once you have analyzed the data and worked to improve the program, you can also begin to improve the rewards themselves. For instance, if one of your sales reps reels in a major client, a $25 gift card from their buddy in accounting might express gratitude and admiration, but it probably isn’t commensurate with the actual achievement. And not every reward has to be financial, either. You might encourage employees to nominate each other for special prizes or work celebrations.

At the end of the day, your employees just want to know that the work they’re doing has a noticeable effect on their managers and their co-workers. So regardless of which programs you choose to implement, be sure that your system is fair and allows everyone to give and receive the appropriate praise for a job well done.

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LaFleur Continues to Succeed Because We Support One Another

Our agency has made massive strides in the last few years, and while our growth is due to numerous factors, we couldn’t have achieved this level of success without developing and maintaining an unrivaled peer support system. We genuinely respect, appreciate, and enjoy each other, but those good vibes are constantly underwritten and reinforced through our peer-to-peer recognition platforms: Bonusly and Slack.

Slack is a professional intra-organizational instant messaging system that allows employees to communicate online in real-time. Employees can send one another direct messages or create public or private channels based on distinct clients, departments, or even shared interests. These channels empower our team members to voice their appreciation of co-workers in a way that is fun and transparent. Every day, we celebrate our colleagues’ accomplishments on Slack and can even add images, memes, and gifs to enhance the fun.

Bonusly is another program we use to acknowledge everyone’s contributions. Each month, Chip LaFleur supplies every team member with “Bonusly Bucks” (or “LaFleurency,” as we sometimes like to call it). We can then distribute these funds to our co-workers in whatever increment we choose for any reason we choose. If Leigh Ebrom writes a top-notch blog, Steven Kent can reward her appropriately. If Pat Kose helps bring in a new client, Catherine Smyka can show her support with the click of a mouse.

Team members can then use their LaFleurency to redeem gift cards to hundreds of preferred retailers or transfer the funds directly to their PayPal account. We can even donate funds to the charity of our choice. And the best part is that Bonusly syncs with Slack, which means you can create a Slack channel to make your employees’ Bonusly contributions public, allowing everyone to join in the fun and celebration.

RELATED: How LaFleur Uses Bonusly to Turbocharge Praise

LaFleur Is Dedicated to Practicing Employee Appreciation

At LaFleur, we’ve found that a little appreciation goes a long way, and we encourage you and your employees to develop a peer recognition program that inspires team members to do their best work with respect and compassion. If you would like to learn more about how we work together to develop effective and efficient marketing campaigns for lawyers, healthcare organizations, and other businesses, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact us by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief online form. We’re confident we can help you achieve the results you’ve been seeking and are excited to get to work on your behalf today!

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