Do you have some kind of an employee recognition program in your workplace? What level do you offer? The bare minimum of years of service or performance-based annual review recognition? Middle-of-the-road manager-to-employee only schemes? Or do you go top-of-the line with peer-to-peer recognition in which employees are actively encouraged to notice and appreciate the behaviors and actions of their colleagues that contribute to team and company success.

If you consider employee recognition to be a key factor for increasing employee engagement, performance and productivity but are not enabling peer-to-peer recognition, then you are missing out on at least 50% of the tangible benefits you could realize from recognition.This is something we talk about in our soon-to-be-released book, Winning with a Culture of Recognition, in which we make the point: “Peer-to-peer interactions through the recognition program sup¬port the values promoted by recognition. Exceptional employees are recognized by the group, and the group looks to them for informal guidance.”

This article in Human Resource Executive highlights this well:

“Peer-to-peer recognition programs are among an employer’s most powerful, low-cost tools for reducing turnover, improving productivity and boosting employee morale. Unlike gifts through traditional recognition-and-rewards programs, peer acknowledgements are often unexpected, selfless and inspirational. Employees are usually so touched that they end up forming strong bonds with co-workers and become more motivated to do a better job.”

What’s this mean in the real world? The article goes on to explain the success our customer, Symantec, has had with peer-to-peer recognition. Jennifer Reimert, senior director of global compensation, explains:

“‘It takes a lot of people to get a product launched from development to marketing to sales. There’s such an acknowledgement when somebody outside your department recognizes you. When they know you value and acknowledge what they’re doing, they’ll work harder for you.’… ‘It’s another vehicle that immediately rewards behavior,’ says Reimert, adding that employee engagement jumped 14 percent after the program’s first year. ‘It’s definitely enhanced the employee experience.’”

So what’s your approach? Do you let employees formally recognize each other (which adds the benefit of employees knowing their peer appreciation will also be seen by the boss)? Or do you think managers alone have the right to say “thanks”?

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