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Peer-to-Peer Award Programs on the Upswing

Every year the human resource management experts at WorldatWork survey the state of employee recognition among America's employers. The results, published in a report called, "Trends in Employee Recognition 2008," reveal that employee recognition remains a priority for most organizations, with more than 90 percent of respondents claiming to have maintained or increased existing programs in the 12 months prior. More than half say new recognition programs are in the works.

As with previous years, the most popular recognition programs identified by respondents were "Length of service" (86 percent) and "Above and beyond performance" (79 percent), but this year for the first time 42 percent of those surveyed stated that their organizations were also running "Peer-to-peer" programs, an option that had not even been included on previous surveys.

"Programs like peer-to-peer recognition have gained popularity over the past few years, and this popularity is expected to continue," says Alison Avalos, a content deployment manager for WorldatWork, observing that the nature of recognition itself is in a state of flux. "The concept of recognition has evolved into a new culture in the workplace. [Employers are] now including a wider array of recognition types."

One interesting finding from the survey is the positive impact recognition programs seem to be having on employee retention. This general upswing in the use and belief in recognition programs is expanding to include alternatives to the traditional award ceremonies, with a focus on informal, instant recognition and an increasing awareness that peer-to-peer awards are important. The future impact is yet to be seen, but current findings indicate that the trend towards increasing recognition programs is beneficial for all involved.

– Adapted from "How about a Little Recognition?" Selling Power Newsletter, www.sellingpower.com.