The top three employee incentive programs are: length of service, outstanding service, and peer recognition. Why peer employee recognition? Peer programs offer an organization great benefits. They are relatively easy to develop, they are inexpensive, they involve large groups of employees, and they fulfill the demand of being recognized by coworkers. The mantra? Recognition feels good—especially from colleagues.
A well designed peer initiative brings a good experience to the receiver as well as the giver. More and more organizations may be catching on, but the truth is, peer recognition programs are not a new idea.
In 1895, Alfred Nobel established the Norwegian Nobel committee of peers awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting fraternity between nations. Categories expanded to include contributions in chemistry, physics, literature, physiology, and medicine. Winners are awarded medals, diplomas, and money.
Since 1929, film stars have been acknowledged by their peers for outstanding performance. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, originally conceived by MGM’s Louis B. Mayer, helped improve the film industry’s image and mediate labor disputes. As the first winner, Emil Jannings held up his “Oscar” in triumph while acknowledging his peers with, “I’d like to thank the Academy.” The UN uses a type of peer recognition to recognize and give awards to delegates for their outstanding service.
The rise in peer recognition programs today is due to the rising pressures on managers and HR to oversee more employees and larger teams. Workplace conflicts and a heavier workload leave less time for those in charge to focus on employee development and engagement. Peer programs fill in the gap because this method of recognition supports camaraderie, develops employee leaders, and strengthens a sense of ownership in your mission. Simply put, peers banding together in mutual recognition for doing meaningful work engages, motivates, and raises performance levels.
In a very real sense, employees operating their own recognition and rewards system is a type of employee ownership—a type of stock ownership and shared capitalism. The latest research findings on the benefits of employee ownership coincide with the results using peer recognition. The trust, respect, fairness, and pride index goes up. Your company becomes recognized as a great place to work with lower turnover.
The peer-to-peer recognition program—and your mission