2 reasons why your peer recognition programme isn't working

Companies are spending more money than ever on employee perks and rewards. Yet "feeling appreciated" remains the biggest unmet need for employees. This is why.

Companies are spending more money than ever on employee perks and rewards.

Yet "feeling appreciated" remains the biggest unmet need for employees.

Thankfully, you don't need a big budget to have a first class peer recognition programme. In fact, the best peer recognition processes cost next to nothing to set up and reduce staff turnover by up to 30%.

Let's go through 2 traps to avoid so that:

  • Your people feel appreciated
  • Your people perform at their best
  • You don't waste millions of dollars


Trap #1. Sloppy, inconsistent format

Saying "thanks!" or "thanks for the hard work!" or "thanks for staying late to finish that off!" is a nice touch.

But what's the positive behaviour that you are reinforcing?

  • Working late?
  • Working hard?
  • Existing?

If this is all it takes to get praise, then the gold standard in your company will be quantity of work, not quality. All stations to Face Time Central.

Remember, recognition serves two purposes:

  1. Make sure people feel appreciated
  2. Make sure helpful behaviours get repeated in the future

A good peer recognition programme recognises people. A great peer recognition programme recognises people and specifically what they did.

This is why it's important to have your peer recognition follow a simple and consistent formula. At Howamigoing, we call it FACT vs FEELING feedback.

FACT = the action, what you saw or heard. The behaviour to reinforce.

FEELING = the reaction, why you liked the action, why you think it's worth doing again.

Howamigoing's peer recognition tool, Good vibes, does just that.

Separating FACT from FEELING is also powerful when giving more critical feedback. Here's a short video to show why it's best-practice.


Trap #2. No social proof

Sending an individual email or message of thanks to someone is a nice touch. It feels personal and authentic.

But ideas kept private don't spread.

It's much more powerful to make that email or message public for others in the business to see and comment on.

Not only does public praise make the recipient feel more recognised, it creates social proof.

When we see others engaging in peer recognition, it makes us want to join in. This is especially true when public praise comes from senior employees.

Monkey see, monkey do.


Getting started...

Public recognition can take the form of:

  • A online "wall" for recognition
  • A weekly email or Slack message "shout out"
  • A physical notice board to stick post-its or memos onto

The first one is our preferred approach because:

  1. It's simpler (especially with remote working)
  2. It's more scalable
  3. It's easier to extract data from
  4. It ensures a consistent format for positive reinforcement

You can get started in 3 simple steps that take less than 5 minutes.

Step 1 - Create a free account at Howamigoing.

Step 2 - Invite your colleagues to the platform. You can do this using email addresses, or Slack, or by sending an Excel file to your account manager.

Step 3 - Send them a message via email or Slack or Teams to explain why you've invited them to Howamigoing. We have a lot of ready-to-go comms templates that we're happy to provide, such as the below:


Keeping going...

Leading from the front helps when it comes to making your peer recognition programme stick.

Keep in mind that while 80% of managers think they give recognition monthly, only 22% of employees think they receive it monthly.

And with the departure of each employee, good or bad, your business loses at least 6-months' of salary. That's a real and permanent economic loss.

So it's worth setting aside 10 minutes each week to publicly recognise the quality work of your peers.

Just be sure to separate FACT from FEELING and promote best-practice behaviours.

If you want any more advice, watch the below video or send an email to hello@howamigoing.com. We're always happy to speak to People Leaders who put feedback top of their culture.

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