Setting up peer recognition programs

23 Feb

Peer recognition can help people feel successful.

A recent Towers Watson study found that 60 percent of workers feel detached or otherwise unsupported by their employers. Additionally, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey discovered job satisfaction to exist among only 64 percent of workers.

With numbers like these, many HR managers are probably wondering if there is a way to help employees feel more connected with people at work and with their jobs. In fact, peer-recognition programs may be the answer. Entrepreneur magazine stated that friendships at the office can make people feel happier and less apt to quit. By having recognition programs in place, employees can foster stronger friendships.

Setting up an awards program
Some of this must come from the culture of the workplace, but peer awards programs can help. The trick is to have employees be part of the election process for who wins something. Consider holding an event at a yearly holiday party or similar venue. People can vote in advance in a number of different categories. Some of the categories could be trivial, but others should be a bit more serious like the person who is earliest in the office and the one who is last to leave at the end of the day.

You Earned It, a peer recognition company, suggested a few more tips. For example, whenever a peer praises someone, he or she would be entered into a weekly or monthly raffle. Another tip is to have everyone write cards to their favorite workers, and then display them in a prominent place.

Don't let it be a popularity contest
It's important to remember that the people who win the awards shouldn't just be popular around the office. The goal is to foster a spirit of hard work and loyalty to the company. As such, try to avoid recognizing people in the office unless they did something truly praiseworthy. For example, if someone finished a project before a deadline, then that could be brought up at the next company-wide meeting, and the employee could win an award specifically tailored to the accomplishment, such as a free day off.

In the end, the success of such a program depends on the people who work for the company and the culture of the business. Ideally, workplace culture happens naturally as a result of hiring the right kind of employee and letting everyone mingle together during the day as they work. Don't try to use peer recognition programs as a fix for bad culture. At the same time, it is likely that awards can help to keep a culture going strong.

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