Peer-to-Peer Recognition * The Value of Empowerment

An article (membership required) in last month’s issue of HR Magazine (the publication of the Society for Human Resource Management or SHRM) discussed “Peer to Peer Recognition Good, but Not Enough.”

I have to admit the title caught my eye – not because it was controversial, but because it wasn’t. Of course peer-to-peer recognition is not enough. Every employee needs to know that their manager notices and appreciates their efforts in the classic manager-to-employee model of recognition. But that does not negate the importance of peer-to-peer recognition and the value in empowering any employee to notice, pause and formally recognize their peers for behaviors that reflect the company values and help achieve strategic objectives.

Think about it. Your goal should not just be encouraging employees to repeat behaviors they are already doing. It should also be to notice those (and other) positive behaviors in others. If you want to bring your company values to life, then you better make the demonstration, appreciation and recognition of those values real at every level.

Some level of formal process is necessary – not in the sense of an every watchful eye, but more to track who is not only being recognized, but who is also being diligent about actively participating in a culture of recognition. A well managed strategic recognition program provides you with this methodology that also allows you to begin to manage your company culture as well.

Do you allow peer-to-peer recognition? How do you structure it? Formally, informally, ad-hoc? Or do you, sadly, fall into the “any appreciation from anyone would be welcome as it’s so rare?”

2 comment(s):

At January 22, 2010 5:23 PM, Elad Sherf said...

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is has become so over-competitive to the point it has become devoured of basic human emotions. What could be more natural than going over to our peer and saying "Wow! Great work! I loved what you did on that last project... It made a real difference because...". But we don't! Every day amazing things happen around us... is it that difficult to recognize them!
Thanks for posting this idea! It is important to remind ourselves that our peers need our appreciation from time to time!

At January 23, 2010 9:46 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Indeed, Elad. That's precisely the point. It's not difficult, but in many ways we are conditioned in the work world to compete with those around us instead of cooperate and appreciate. Think how powerful it would be if we could change these cultures of competition to cultures of recognition!