Peer To Peer at Work

Your peers. Regular employees. People like yourself.

We use different names to describe these work colleagues.   At MeritShare, we provide peer to peer recognition, allowing anyone in a company to give recognition and show appreciation.

The Connect Consulting Group is putting together a survey to gain more insights into peer to peer at work today. When you complete this survey, you will be able to enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card and receive a summary of the results.    Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey about peer-to-peer practices by Friday, August 30.

Connect is an award-winning, independent and specialized management consulting firm focused on helping leaders and their team turn their blue-sky ideas into green-pasture actions.  Connect was Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 by Liz Guthridge.

Water Fights, Karaoke and Scrapbooks – 6 ways to make employees feel special on a budget.

Sunset High Five

Photo Courtesy of johnwiechecki on Flickr

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, Author

Making others feel good is not just a nice thing to do, but it makes you feel good too. Showing your employees and coworkers that you appreciate them inspires motivation and improves morale and productivity within a company. Giving worthwhile recognition is not dependent on the amount of money you spend, recognition is about sincerely appreciating the hard work others do and really meaning it when you say “thank you”. You can’t put a price on memories.

Here are a few Low Cost Recognition Ideas, as well as a Recognition Playlist to get you inspired and spreading the love.

1.  Greet employees every morning, reinforcing the message “I’m glad you’re here.”  It may sound corny, but that’s okay – your job isn’t to win popularity contests, its to make your employees and coworkers feel special.

2. Organize a department-wide water-gun fight in the parking lot in their honor. It’s unusual, it’s fun, employees will remember it for a long time.  Super soakers for employees, tiny water guns for managers – think about it.

3. Let them park in your parking space for a week.  Often times, it’s the little things that make people feel special.  Don’t have a parking space? Buy them a weekly pass at a nearby garage.

4. Put together a scrapbook of memories for an employee who is celebrating a milestone anniversary. Give each person on the team a blank page to fill out with stories or pictures of their experiences with that employee. Then, after the public recognition moment, the individual has not only a treasured award from the company but something from their coworkers that captures their feelings.

5. Create a homemade fun award that is appropriate to what is being recognized. MeritShare provides a fun way to give out virtual awards to your employees and peers that can be humorous yet meaningful.  Customize an award to your company culture, make it fun for people to give and receive!

6. Gather co-workers to sing a light-hearted rendition of a song such as “You Light Up My Life,” “We Are the Champions,” etc.  We put together an employee recognition playlist for you.  If you do this, be sure to record it and put it on Youtube – then send us the link.  Seriously. 

Recognition Playlist:

Senior Executives Worst At Giving Recognition

In a recent study conducted by Globoforce and SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) shows  senior executives and human resources scoring the lowest marks for giving recognition.  This confirms our own data that shows that top-down recognition programs need to be reinforced with peer-driven recognition, giving every employee the power of appreciation.

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The survey was based on 803 HR professional respondents from a randomly selected sample of SHRM’s membership with the title of manager or above and from organizations with 500 or more employees.  The study was conducted March of 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly half of HR professionals indicated “employee engagement” as the No. 1 HR challenge their organization faces. Other common HR challenges included “succession planning” (39%), “culture management” (35%), and “employee retention/turnover” (33%).
  • An overwhelming number of organizations (94%) believe positive feedback (reinforcing behaviors or performances that should be repeated) has a greater impact on improving employee performance.

Nice work on this Globoforce and SHRM!  Here is the full presentation:

The 4 Pillars Of A Great Corporate Culture

Vungle's Honeybadger award on MeritShare

Vungle’s Honeybadger award on MeritShare

A well-established corporate culture plays a significant role in the betterment of a company or organization; this intuitive fact is backed by many social science studies on the subject. Author and Professor James L. Heskett suggest that culture makes up 20-30% of the difference in workplace performance when comparing a company with a sound culture against one without it.

Exactly what makes up a corporate culture? They are all very unique in their own way and often have different belief systems in place. When considering various successful companies and their culture, there are several elements of similarity. Here are some of components to think about in building a well-established culture condensed from the HBR article “Six Components Of A Great Culture” along with some of our own case studies and experiences.

1. Vision: An outstanding culture is built upon the foundation of a well-developed vision and mission statement that provides a purpose. This blueprint effectively guides and directs all employees’ decisions. Deeply rooted and well thought out core mission statement not only shapes the decisions of the employees, they can also positively influence the decisions and actions of other involved stakeholders such as suppliers, and customers. Some very effective vision statements are such as The Alzheimer’s Association stating “a world without Alzheimer’s,” or Oxfam stating “a just world without poverty.”

2. Values: The values of a company are the meat and potatoes of its culture. The values offer a mindset, disciplines, and guidelines needed to effectively execute the vision statement; for example, McKinsey & Company has a concise list of values for their employees that help set the standards for colleague treatment, professionalism, and client customer service. Google’s set of values are grounded around the notion, “Don’t be evil,” and “ten things we know to be true.” While many companies have very different methods of implanting company values, they are all practically based on clients, professionalism, and employees.  At the leading independent accounting firm Green Hasson Janks, collaboration is the foundation for their success.  The company reinforces this with peer-based recognition around values of mentorship, team work, and client advocacy.

3. Practices: Values are obviously ineffective unless they are implementing in the practices of a company. If a company conveys that people are their greatest asset, it is apparent that there actions should mirror such a statement, such as investing in their employees in ways that are noticeable to all. The company known as Wegman’s brand themselves with values such as “caring” and “respect,” offering prospects “a job they’ll love.” By actually following through with the relative practices of values, it ranks fifth by Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. There are some instances where organizational values “flat” the chain of command. During these cases, junior level employees should be included in the resolution discussion without any fear of repercussions whatsoever. Company values should be visible through review material, promotional policy, and deeply embedded into day-to-day operations.

4. Peer Based Recognition: the employee recognition software like we offer on MeritShare is a great way to reinforce and enhance company values. Vungle, a San Francisco based mobile advertising firm funded by Google Ventures, uses persistence as one their primary company values. They created a custom MeritShare award called “The Honey Badger” which enables employees to nominate each other; at the end of each month, founder Zain Jaffer chooses a winner. In complete satisfactions, he states “I love how our team interacts on MeritShare. Our Honey Badge award is a great reinforcement of our values and a fun talking piece to show new recruits our unique culture.”

The above isn’t a complete isn’t meant to be a complete list so please offer your tips and experiences for building a great culture in the comments section below.

Related Articles:

Build Your Culture By Living Your Values

Best Practices: Culture




Bear Hugs and Thank You’s: Why Saying ‘Thanks’ Means So Much


Here at MeritShare, we strive to help companies motivate their employees by offering a way to give recognition where it is earned. It has been proven that employees who receive thanks and feel that their work is being appreciated will perform better than those who do not receive recognition. This probably does not seem surprising, but I feel that there is more to the story than just a simple act of gratitude, and I would like to explore the psychology behind it.

An article by Jeremy Dean for PsychCentral discusses why giving thanks is not just a nice thing to do for others, but it is also beneficial to the self. Studies show that giving thanks can “improve well-being, physical health, can strengthen social relationships, produce positive emotional states and help us cope with stressful times in our lives”. Personally I feel that this is very true, for I have often experienced what giving and receiving appreciation can do for the heart and mind. When I show gratitude to a friend or loved one, such as buying them flowers or simply telling them how much I love them, I love seeing the biggest smile on their face. Making others happy and making others smile is what makes me smile. It’s like a contagious disease, but a truly wonderful one that I don’t mind being spread all over.

Besides the warm fuzzy feelings it gives us, expressing gratitude can also be beneficial in that people will like you more and be more willing to help you if they believe you appreciate their help. Based on studies published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dean attributes this to the way receiving thanks boosts self-esteem. In one study, those who received a thank you email after providing feedback were more willing to provide further assistance to that person. What is even more intriguing is that those who received the email were more likely to help someone else out, not just the person who gave them thanks. I find this to be a crucial point that extends even beyond this topic for it is a way we can perpetuate peace and generosity throughout the world. It is clear that gratitude is an extremely powerful emotion that can significantly affect your attitude, which in turn affects others and their attitudes.

It’s kind of like that story: A man goes to work and his boss chews him out, so he goes home and takes out his frustrations on his wife, who yells at her son, who beats the dog. It might be a little extreme, but I don’t think anyone can deny that they have never once taken their anger out on someone who didn’t deserve it when they’ve been having a bad day. It happens. This is why I’m encouraging people to give thanks and practice positivity, because it spreads. If you thank someone and offer kindness, not only will they be more likely to offer it back, but will pay it forward to others. This helps everybody, not just you or one person, but everyone you both come into contact with.

Think about it, and practice giving thanks every day. Tell a coworker how much you appreciate all of the hard work they’ve been doing. Give out hugs (it releases oxytocin!). Say “thank you” to strangers who hold the door open for you. It’s not just having manners, it’s boosting self-esteem and propagating positivity to create a better future for you and for future generations. In a time where we are constantly at war while destroying each other and our earth, it is crucial that we support each other and come together, rather than pushing ourselves even further apart.

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you to Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl for this learning opportunity and for always encouraging my creative freedom. Cheers!

8 Tips to Thank a Colleague from the University of Arizona

University of Arizona LogoToday’s post brings some great tips from the University of Arizona’s Human Resources department on ideas for recognizing and appreciating your coworkers.

You can go visit the full post on their site, here are our favorites pulled from the list:


  1. Include “kudos” as an agenda item in staff meetings. Being consistent around recognition makes it a habit and will increase the frequency of recognition among your employees over time.
  2. Add a recognition “Thank You” board to the office. It can be a bulletin board in lunch room, a white board in the lobby or, for the techies, a big screen TV in a common area that shows coworker recognition posted on a wiki or shared page provided by IT.
  3. Ask your colleague’s opinion or ideas on a project or help with a new process. Asking for advice/expertise is a more subtle form of recognition; advice says “You’ve shown to be an expert in this subject, I’d be honored to have your opinion on this” and can go a long way to making your coworkers feel appreciated.
  4. Create a picture poster of a recent team or group win as a way to reinforce team accomplishments.
  5. Wash a coworker’s car in the parking lot at lunch (year-round in Arizona, seasonal in Seattle)
  6. Write several ‘thank you’ post it notes and decorate a coworker’s cube or a team’s work space
  7. Make a personal or team gift to the coworker’s favorite charity – this can be a very personal gesture for those who align themselves closely with a non-profit or charitable organization.
  8. Thank coworkers who thank others – teamwork is about mutual respect and appreciation and do your best to encourage and foster that in your coworkers as well.

Check out the full list over at the University of Arizona Human Resources website and get out there and thank some colleagues!  If you’re looking for an easy way to thank your colleagues online, give MeritShare a try – we make peer recognition simple, fun and social and help you create a community of positive peer recognition inside your organization.