“Peer-to-peer recognition is your invitation to the watercooler, as an employer,” says Rick Patrick, CEO of Beyond Boardrooms. “The employees are the ones who know what’s going on in the day-to-day lives of the people that they work shoulder-to-shoulder with.”
Patrick heads up one of Canada’s leading rewards and recognition platforms – he says employers have the chance to identify hidden skills if workers are given the opportunity to reward each other.
“You might notice that everybody is going to Bob for computer help even though you have an IT division that would put IBM to shame,” he explains. “But it turns out that Bob happens to be highly educated in IT and just fell into the position he’s in.”
By recording the reasons employees reward or recognize each other, employers can also identify informal leaders or spot those who may be falling behind.
“If everyone is going to Mary for advice even though John is the supervisor then that could either point to a problem with John or it could show that Mary has developed such a trust with her co-workers that she’s a good candidate for a future supervisory position,” says Patrick.
Aside from the coveted frontline insight, Patrick says peer-to-peer recognition is more valuable because employees don’t inherently expect to get it.
“I may expect my company to notice my efforts and work ethics, but it is not inherent to expect the same from my peers,” says Patrick.
“Unexpected and unsolicited positive interaction with one’s peers fosters relationships and friendships,” he continues. “It might be nice to get a bonus from my boss but when my co-worker comes up to me and says; ‘Man, I sure appreciate having you around,’ that makes me feel good about coming to work.
“Which would you rather have?”
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Adopt the right rewards and recognition program and you could get eyes-on-the-ground access to your workforce – that’s the promise from one industry expert pushing for peer-to-peer.