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Employee Recognition

Peer-To-Peer Recognition: 15 Ways To Recognise Behind-The-Scenes Employees Across Asia

Founders, are you recognising the hard work that goes on behind the scenes? If you're not or are struggling to do so, keep reading.

More often than not, you'll rarely see back-office employees make it on top of company leaderboards and employee spotlights. That's because their jobs involve less client-facing situations, unlike those working in marketing or PR departments.

But just because they're not always in the limelight doesn't mean they deserve any less recognition and praise.

Want to know one of the best ways to give recognition to behind-the-scenes staff? It's through peer to peer recognition.

From the best practices to key examples you can apply in your organisation, here's everything you need to know to put your behind-the-scenes employees in the forefront.

Click to the jump to the respective sections:

What is peer to peer recognition?

Source: PraisePal

Peer to peer recognition is exactly what it sounds like: employees recognising fellow employees. This can also be expanded to include employees recognising their managers and leaders, and vice versa.

With unstructured recognition such as this, there's no place for hierarchical oversight; only room for open communication and appreciation.

Instead of top-down recognition that follows a formal organisational structure closely, peer recognition helps by giving all employees company-wide the autonomy and tools to recognise each other at any given time.

On top of that, peer recognition also helps in building workplace culture when you recognise peers at work. When individuals see that their company and peers value their contributions, they are more committed to the success of their organisation. That's what you call building a culture.

This solution is an essential part of a company's employee engagement initiatives.

Why peer to peer recognition matters in the workplace

From boosting employee recognition to decreasing employee turnover, here are some of the benefits of peer to peer recognition in the workplace.

  • It strengthens company culture and core company values
  • It boosts employee engagement and employer branding efforts
  • It promotes team morale and a sense of camaraderie
  • It fosters a sense of connection and improves employee relationships
  • It empowers managers and founders
  • It improves employee performance, productivity and job satisfaction
  • It fosters inclusivity in the workplace
  • It decreases employee turnover and increases employee retention

Peer recognition and rewards program best practices

Source: PraisePal

Want to implement a successful peer recognition program in your company? Take these best practices into mind.

  • Create awareness about your peer to peer recognition program
  • Consider the cultural factors that might come into play
  • Incorporate peer rewards
  • Establish your budget
  • Make it authentic and fun
  • Ensure that your peer to peer recognition program is user-friendly
  • Always measure the success of your peer recognition program

1. Create awareness about your peer to peer recognition program

Once you have a clear set of objectives and have devised an effective peer recognition program for your people, the next step is to make it known to them.

Human resources managers need to find the right avenues and methods to build the most awareness possible. You didn't put in all that effort for your hard work to go unseen.

Some ways you can create awareness of your peer recognition program among team members include social media announcements, company newsletter, or bulletin boards.

2. Consider cultural factors that might come into play

When coming up with your peer recognition program, it's important to also consider the cultural factors that involve your employees.

For instance, while most people in Western countries are more outspoken and open, employees in Asia may have a more reserved and introverted nature.

In that case, you'll need to find the appropriate recognition initiatives that will match your team's personalities and behaviours.

3. Incorporate peer to peer rewards

Instead of simply launching a peer to peer recognition program that provides employees with a platform to practice recognition in the workplace, consider incorporating peer rewards as well.

A 2018 survey revealed that 38 per cent of employees want rewards in exchange for good work, while 47 per cent of employees want to receive recognition and rewards spontaneously instead of only on special occasions and work anniversaries.

As much as possible, you'd want the rewards to be aligned with the employee's preferences. Team members are more likely to feel valued when their managers take the time to understand their needs and wants, instead of imposing rewards that they don't even like.

4. Establish your budget

Whether you're purchasing a software subscription for a peer recognition platform or going old school and sticking with handwritten appreciate notes, you still need to come up with a budget either way.

This step is often overlooked by HR professionals. Companies focus too much on the implementation without considering the budget needed.

A few key budgeting concerns to consider are your employee count, administrative time, integrations, taxes, and whether or not your recognition platform has rewards or not.

5. Make it authentic and fun

Want to make the peer recognition experience one that sticks among your employees? Make it fun.

Without the element of fun, this will only make employees feel bored and lose interest right away. On the contrary, if it has to be forced, then it probably isn't working.

HR professionals and leaders can tap into the gamification of peer recognition through points, badges, gifts and rewards.

This way, your staff is constantly engaged and genuinely has a good time.

6. Ensure that the recognition program is user-friendly  

Having too many steps for your recognition program is only going to deter your workforce from actually using it.

Your team members already have their own tasks and responsibilities on their plates. The last thing they need is a mandatory employer branding program and recognition initiative that's hard to adopt.

Instead of the formal, top-down procedure that's usually mandated by management, have your employee recognition initiatives be one where your employees can take the lead. Ensure that it's easy, flexible, and allows people to give recognition anywhere, anytime.

Simplify the process for them by giving them clear instructions or a step-by-step guide on how the social recognition program works. If you're using peer recognition software, consider having a virtual demo for all to see the mechanics of the program firsthand.

7. Always measure the success of your peer recognition program

How will you know if your company's peer programs are successful? By measuring the information and data.

Examples of frequent recognition metrics to take note of are:

  • The number of active users on the platform per week or month
  • Number of peer recognitions sent
  • Number of rewards sent
  • Activation rate
  • Trends in upticks and losses

Apart from the metrics above, another way to measure the success of your peer to peer recognition program is by getting employee feedback.

By getting input from the entire team themselves, you'll be able to get firsthand advice on what to improve on and positive feedback on areas where you are excelling.

15 peer to peer recognition examples and ideas for behind-the-scenes employees across Asia

We believe that employees deserve to be appreciated consistently, especially those who work tirelessly behind the scenes and make the magic happen.

Here are 15 curated examples to help you recognise them even more.

  • Have a recognition platform and program in place
  • Use a points system to spruce things up
  • Start a virtual kudos channel
  • Start a friendly coworker roast
  • Give out LinkedIn endorsements as recognition
  • Post personal social media shout outs
  • A special feature in the company newsletter
  • Hand out thank you cards and handwritten notes
  • 'Employee of the month' awards
  • Award certificates for unique employee traits
  • Free coffee day or a food budget for employees
  • Virtual parties and game nights
  • An article or podcast interview with the recognised employee
  • Send out care packages for remote team members
  • Give them global gift cards and customised company rewards

1. Have a recognition platform and program in place

Building a culture of recognition should always be top of mind for business leaders and founders. This can be easily achieved by having recognition tools for employees and their co-workers.

Although there is nothing wrong with creating an employee recognition program on your own from scratch, turning to the experts in this particular field isn't such a bad idea either.

In fact, since they are masters in this area, they can also give you recommendations based on your employee size, budget peer recognition program objectives, and everything else in between.

Since it's a software, it can also alleviate any logistical problems you may experience with a typical rewards and recognition program.

2. Use a points system to spruce things up

Everyone loves a little gamification in the workplace. To make things slightly more interesting, incorporating a point-based rewards system is a simple yet exciting way to spice up your peer recognition programs.

With a little friendly competition and tangible rewards up for grabs, this concept gives employees something to look forward to and work towards. Think of it as creating a sense of anticipation.

Studies show that employees are more likely to engage and participate in their company's employee recognition program when flexible rewards are awarded, ultimately increasing overall employee engagement.

Through a points system, employees can take control of how they use their earnings—they can choose to redeem something immediately, or perhaps bank their points to save for something more valuable. Either way, they'll be receiving rewards they actually like.

3. Start a virtual kudos channel

Miss your Kudos board in the office ever since your company made the shift to remote work? No problem.

Today, there are plenty of virtual Kudos board applications and software that help to improve engagement for remote employees. Just like how you would leave appreciation post-it notes to your peer in an office work environment, digital bulletin boards allow you to do the same virtually.

In fact, you can even send gifs, photos, and video clips too!

4. Start a friendly coworker roast

Ever heard of a co-worker roast? Sometimes, having a little good-natured fun would help.

The idea is to take your regular employee recognition speech and add a well-timed remark to jokingly mock your colleague.

From peculiar workplace habits and traits like wearing quirky ties to the office, adding an insane amount of sugar to their daily coffee, or being the 'crazy cat lady at work, this is the best time to make fun of your peers in a light-hearted way.

One thing to be mindful of when organising a coworker roast within the company is to avoid below-the-belt remarks that may offend your teammates. Always strike a balance and don't go overboard.

5. Give out LinkedIn endorsements as recognition

Recognise your peer's skills publicly by giving them professional endorsements on LinkedIn.

This feature allows users to endorse their connections for their professional skills and expertise. Most people think professionals only use this feature on the platform. But who said it can't be an effective peer recognition tool to encourage employees in the workplace?

Have a teammate that uses the Adobe Creative Suite exceptionally well? Or perhaps have a coworker that's always going above and beyond in their collaborative efforts?

Whatever it is, leave them a simple yet meaningful endorsement on their LinkedIn profile.

6. Post personal social media shout outs

Similar to LinkedIn endorsements, social media shoutouts are also a great way to give genuine praise in a more organic way. Since using social media is already embedded in our daily lives, it doesn't feel as forced or as formal as using a networking platform like LinkedIn.

There are two ways one can go about this: having your employees post about their peers on their personal accounts and having an employee spotlight on the company's social account.

Having your employees use their own personal accounts to give social recognition to their colleagues takes peer feedback to a more personal level. This could be as simple as a mention or posting an image that has the employee's headshot posted publicly on social media.

Alternatively, business leaders can also join in the fun and feature the recognised employee through their specific company social platforms to boost their self-esteem and team spirit.

These social media shoutouts can highlight everything from an employee's background with the company, work anniversary, personal achievements, and more.

7. A special feature in the company newsletter

Regardless of company size, most companies would have internal company newsletters. These serve a variety of purposes from sharing regular updates about the company, key milestones and achievements, internal policy changes, new hire announcements and upcoming events - among many other things.

Another thing company newsletters can be good for is by increasing recognition efforts by highlighting the accomplishments of your employees.

Behind-the-scenes employees are rarely put in the limelight due to the nature of their work. A simple excerpt or feature on the newsletter that mentions their hard work can instantly boost employee morale.

In this way, it's subtle and not too overwhelming, especially for introverted team members.

8. Hand out thank you cards and handwritten notes

A genuine expression of appreciation that one can never go wrong with is giving out handwritten notes or thank-you cards. Having this as part of your peer recognition strategy may seem a little outdated to other methods, but that doesn't mean it isn't effective.

Just because we're living in the digital age doesn't mean we can no longer turn to traditional, classic methods to give other employees recognition.

Since writing a note isn't as instant as sending a text message, handwritten notes show the receiver that someone took the time to actually pen down encouraging words of recognition and appreciation to them. It also serves as a keepsake and allows staff members to have something tangible to have.

Text messages or emails can easily be buried under a sea of newer messages. But with handwritten notes, you can always go back to it when you need a little pick-me-up.

9. 'Employee of the month' awards

'Employee of the month' awards are typically given to employees who have shown outstanding and exemplary performance at work. This peer recognition idea facilitates healthy competition, employee engagement, and a boost in productivity.

Besides recognising the top performers for that particular month, it also motivates other members of the team to strive harder next month in hopes to make it on top.

These awards are usually supplemented with a little token like certificates, gifts, prizes, engraved cups—you name it.

If you want to make these awards more frequent than just every month, feel free to make it a weekly thing with 'employee of the week' awards!

10. Award certificates for unique employee traits

Here's a little twist on the concept of 'employee of the month' awards.

Instead of having appreciation awards just for good performance records, how about awards for employees with unique traits that go beyond workplace performance and are less formal?

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • The Fashionista Award: For the most fashion-forward employee
  • The Early-Bird Award: For the one who's already in the office before it's time to clock in
  • The Mr. or Ms Clean Award: For the one who's always cleaning their workspace
  • The Chatty Cathy Award: For the one who's always initiating conversations by the watercooler
  • Rookie of the Month Award: For new joiners who are already going above and beyond
  • The Foodie Award: For the one who's always bringing snacks and taking the team to the newest food spots
  • The Coffeeholic Award: For the one who goes through at least three cups of coffee a day
  • The Social Media King or Queen: For the one who can't go a day without posting their lunch or aesthetically-pleasing workspace
  • The Stand-Up Comedian Award: For the one who's always making the entire office crack up

Unlike staff members with a lot of client-facing work, behind-the-scenes employees may not always have the opportunity to be recognised company-wide.

Sometimes, their efforts even go unnoticed. These fun little awards give them the chance to be seen even for their efforts outside of their job title and scope.

11. Free coffee day or a food budget for employees

From team lunches to free coffee days, food can play an essential role in breaking the ice in the workplace and fostering better relationships among colleagues.

As simple as this may be, the idea of bonding over food encourages meaningful and authentic interactions that go beyond work relationships.

12. Virtual parties and game nights

This particular culture building initiative is especially useful for companies that work completely remotely, like covid-native startups.

Online team building activities like trivia nights, virtual escape rooms, and company celebrations are meant to facilitate remote employee engagement and provide a platform for peer to peer recognition.

Since this medium brings all employees together regardless of department, it creates a sense of community and belonging in the work environment.

13. An article or podcast interview with the recognised employee

Another employee spotlight idea would be to invite the peer you want to recognise for a special podcast interview or article feature.

This is an excellent way to show more recognition to your teammates compared to generic methods, especially for those working hard behind the scenes.

Employee spotlight initiatives like this increase employee morale and motivation. For employees, it's an indication that they're doing something right to deserve their own feature, which encourages them to continue the positive behaviours they've been displaying in the workplace.

14. Send out care packages for remote team members

Unlike giving a small pat on the back for a job well done at work or treating your team to a simple lunch, remote teams don't have it as easy as in-person teams. Although the opportunities to recognise employees are slightly more limited, that doesn't mean it's impossible.

Send themed care packages to make your employees feel appreciated even from miles away.

This could be anything from an occasion-based care package to celebrate a special holiday like Christmas or company anniversary, to a COVID-19 kit filled with essentials to keep yourself safe and free from the virus.

15. Give them global gift cards and customised company rewards

Especially for remote workforces, carrying out peer to peer recognition initiatives may be a slight challenge for HR managers.

With employees scattered around various parts of the globe, sending out gifts and rewards to each staff member can be a logistical headache.

Consider rewards that can be easily distributed like digital gift certificates from famous retail brands, grocery vouchers, movie tickets, and so on.

Kickstart your peer recognition efforts today with PraisePal

Peer recognition shouldn't just be practised once a year on coworker appreciation day. To build a company culture and team spirit where recognition is constantly present, it needs to become a habit.

The moment peer to peer recognition becomes a shared habit that sticks, your people will embody your organisational values every day and thrive on the sense of community that they themselves have created.

Frequently Asked Questions on Peer Recognition

Q1. How do you give recognition to employees?

Most business leaders and founders often think that recognising their people is a challenging feat. But it doesn't have to be.

Some of the ways you can do so include launching an employee recognition program, creating a peer rewards program, organising company-wide events and team-bonding activities, giving public recognition through LinkedIn endorsement and social media shoutouts, sending care packages to remote teams, and even handing out handwritten thank-you notes.

Q2. Is peer to peer recognition important?

Peer to peer recognition has the power to boost work relationships among staff and make your team stronger.

But apart from the effects on your people, it also leads to the overall success of your business.

When you have a solid team that thrives on peer recognition, they will also be committed to your organisation's success and business outcomes.

Q3. How does receiving recognition boost employees’ self-esteem and make a positive impact in the workplace?

Recognition plays an important role in building one's self-esteem.

Without regular words of praise and recognition, your staff members wouldn't know if they're doing the right thing or performing well at their job.

But when recognition is given when it's due, it brings reassurance to the individual that their efforts are seen and ultimately boosts their self-confidence.

Q4. How can employees embody their company's core values through peer recognition?

When creating and planning for your recognition platform, it is important to align your program with your company values and mission.

That's because your company values lay the foundation for building a culture you want to have.

Since your people are your greatest advocates, they'll be the ones who will put your company ethos into action and bring them to life every day through peer recognition efforts.

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