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Blueprint a Successful Peer to Peer Recognition Program

March 5, 2019

by Brad Sytsma

With years of first-hand experience under our belts, Terryberry’s dedicated 360 Recognition specialists know the ins and outs of what makes a peer to peer recognition program work and what doesn’t. Therefore, today we’re going to examine the three most frequently used setup options, as well as the pros and pitfalls for each.

Method 1: Give each employee a Points Bank to award peers

User Points Funding is the most popular and the most attractive setup option for a peer to peer recognition program. User Points Funding allows each employee to be assigned a small budget of points to award to their peers. Users can only award points they’ve been given and cannot overspend their budget. Users will be able to award points through tiered values or a singular award level with variable values.


Using a Points Funding setup empowers your users and makes them responsible for the award value assigned to their peers. The ownership and control over giving actual value to their peers keep employees invested in the program and drive frequent and regular recognition activity. Time and time again, we’ve witnessed outstanding participation from employees using this type of program setup.

A Points Funding setup requires less administrative effort, as employees have a controlled measure of autonomy. Other setups may require putting some review and approval process in place for awards.

With Points Funding, you have complete control over your budget, and the maximum exposure that would occur due to the recognition employees send each other through the system.

Building additional award options is easy for anyone who wishes to provide on-the-spot recognition, such as supervisors, managers, and other leadership.


Points Funding works on the condition that you are comfortable with your employees having control over a small budget and the autonomy to recognize their coworkers as they see fit. If you are uncomfortable giving your employees this responsibility, another setup option may be the most beneficial for you.

Method 2: Managers review nominations for approval

Nomination Review and Approval was really how Give a Wow, our peer to peer program, got its start. The goal was to create an outlet for immediate day to day social recognition between employees while creating opportunities for informal and formal awards. As a result, we designed a tiered award process on the nomination page, where employees could nominate their peers for multiple award levels. Specified criteria would determine the award approval. The nomination would be sent to an Approval Queue to be reviewed by the required authority.


A Nomination Review and Approval program allows for an additional control measure when assigning monetary award value to employees. Managers, Executives, Administrators, or Committees can determine which nominations are worthy of an award and maintain consistent standards for the issuance of award value.

This type of program setup allows for a structured recognition schedule. Announcing award recipients as a part of meetings or huddles can leverage the strength of this system keeping employees engaged. Additionally, making recognition an expected part of your routine is fundamental in making it a lasting part of your corporate culture.

A Nomination Review and Approval program work well for organizations that may not have a large budget available for recognition and rewards. In other words, Creating defined award tiers, setting expectations, and following through to meet the expectations you’ve set for employees can overcome a small budget and keep employees engaged.


If employees are recognized repeatedly and only have a limited selection of award items to choose from, Nomination Review and Approval programs run the risk of stagnation. Utilizing points to allow employees to accrue value over time for bigger and better award options can help combat this.

Additionally, if recognition moments are too few and too far between, the program will lose traction and its ability to keep employees engaged. If you’re planning to create an award level with ten recipients a month, try to approve and announce a few recipients each week. Break up your total quarterly award approvals to highlight a few recipients each month. Ensuring that your informal and formal recognition moments are being seen consistently and often will help ensure your program’s success.

Method 3: An employee’s [X]th peer nomination earns an award

Terryberry’s Number-Until-Award functionality is a hybrid between User Points Funding and the Nomination and Review process. When creating an award structure for your program, you can assign an award goal to your recognition levels. This goal determines the number of nominations an employee must receive before earning the award. When an employee recognizes one of their peers with a recognition level attached to an award goal, that recognition posts immediately to the wall. When a recipient is recognized, the system will notify them. The recognition becomes tallied on the backend of the system. Once an employee’s recognition tally matches the goal for that recognition level, the system can automatically issue the employee an award.


The Number-Until-Award setup option allows for an element of gamification. It enables employees to contribute tangible value to a peer’s award/points balance. Additionally, keep your employees feeling engaged in the program while allowing you to exercise additional control.

This program setup may delay the frequency of points issued, making it an excellent choice for programs with modest award budgets.

In this model, we encourage regular participation. It is more likely to engage employees in frequent nominations than a Nomination Review and Approval program. Adding a fun element of surprise and spontaneity for employees.


Tracking employee progress towards a goal in this type of program can be a little messy at times. Our system keeps a running tally but currently doesn’t have a great way to share that with employees. Admins and Managers can track an employee’s progress through their access to our reporting tools.

Complex award structures tend to falter under this type of setup. Number Until Award is recommended for a single peer to peer level that relies on Nomination Review and Approval options.

360 Recognition is Flexible – Pick the Option that’s Best for You!

Here at Terryberry, we pride ourselves on the flexibility and versatility of our platform. We know that our customers come from various industries, and no two programs are the same. Find the solution that’s right for you and your employees! You can mix and match functionality if needed. Give your employees access to a Number Until Award option, a Nomination Review, and Approval formal nomination option. We’ll work with you to ensure your award nomination setup positions you and your program for success.

Looking to shake up your program? Make some adjustments to how you’ve done things in the past? Learn more about one of our peer to peer setup options? Contact us to see how we can help!


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