On the front page of Snowfly.com you see a list of tools we help you deliver to your organization… incentives software, prize fulfillment, badges and gamification… one of the tools is peer recognition.
If you haven’t worked in an environment that had a real, or good, peer recognition system, it might sound kind of hokey. What does peer recognition mean? Is it when people get up in a weekly meeting and praise someone a peer or colleague for something they’ve done?
What Is A Peer Recognition System?
Yes. That is exactly what peer recognition is. Peer recognition can happen in an email, a newsletter, on a “peer recognition wall,” and in many other ways. There are a number of systems out that allow you to recognize your peer, and give them points that might be meaningful (turn into cash or prizes), or write some flowery compliment that others can see.
And some people eat that up. If your love language is words of affirmation, you WANT peer recognition. You desire it, and you feed off of it. It becomes an intrinsic reward that makes your job more meaningful. It is something that makes you want to be better at work, and deliver more. It impacts (your) employee satisfaction and (your) employee performance.
I am not a “words of affirmation” guy. I appreciate words of affirmation, but I don’t need them to move forward and do my job. But when I was in a team that had a peer recognition system, I appreciated every positive comment I got. It was cool to see my efforts were recognized and meaningful, and that people on my team shared what I was accomplishing with people outside of my team (which made me feel more relevant in the organization). So even for the non-words-of-affirmation people who think they don’t care, it still makes a difference.
Peer recognition can be gamed, however, especially if there are tangible rewards tied to recognition. I think points we had were worth a penny… so if someone gave me a nice paragraph of recognition and 500 points, it was as if they gave me $5. No big deal… except that the points add up! $5 becomes $50 becomes $500 and now we are talking about a big deal!
The problem with gaming a peer recognition system is that the sincerity of what is being said and the points given start to lose their purpose. Instead of genuinely giving recognition, people start giving points to their friends, and people who deserve recognition don’t get it. What gets shared becomes superficial, and recognition gets watered down.
When this system (not Snowfly) was implemented in that company, it was kind of weird for a few weeks, then the activity picked up, then after about three months it seemed to slow down. There was still recognition here and there (especially at the end of month, when the points you had to give away would go away if you didn’t give them away), but it seemed to just become another one of those systems that management hoped the employees would love. Getting 50 points, though, was meaningless, because it was worth a whopping fifty cents that maybe one day in the far future I could redeem.
Snowfly has been in this business since the 1900’s (seriously!). We have seen many failed systems, and we’ve talked to some very astute and strategic leaders who have implemented successful systems. We take a pragmatic approach to designing a peer recognition system that will really work. That’s why instead of the industry average of keeping customers is less than a year, but Snowfly’s average is over five years (we’ve had some of our customers over 15 years!).
Our strategic consultants meet with you and talk more about your organizational objectives than our cool features. We aren’t here to sell you our flashy features, we are here to provide you with a real system that can make tangible impacts on your organization. We help you navigate the gaming of the system, and design a peer recognition system that is more than a flash in the pan. We help you deliver a real solution that provides real change at the organizational and cultural level.
Peer recognition system is just a piece of the puzzle. Combine it with other tools (that are included in the Snowfly platform) and strategic planning and you are on your way to developing the team and culture you want.