Technology opens the door to peer recognition

Paul Nolan

One benefit of the software platforms that make instant recognition easier to administer is the growth of peer-to-peer recognition programs. Writing in Harvard Business Review, Shawn Achor, author of the best-selling book “The Happiness Advantage,” reported last year on two research studies that show effective digital recognition platforms can help scale organic praise, have a high ROI, and lead to significantly higher levels of employee performance and engagement, as well as increased customer loyalty.

One of the companies Achor has worked with is JetBlue, which has been named by J.D. Power as the highest in customer satisfaction among low-cost carriers for 11 years running. JetBlue created a social peer-to-peer recognition program where coworkers could nominate a person for everyday contributions as well as exemplary work or effort. The story of success is shared throughout the company on an internal newsfeed. The recipient of the recognition is then given points that they can decide how to spend—they can elect to redeem the reward immediately for a dinner, or to save up for countless options like vacations or a cruise.

The JetBlue data revealed that for every 10 percent increase in people reporting being recognized, JetBlue saw a 3 percent increase in retention and a 2 percent increase in engagement.

“Turnover can be one of the most expensive problems at a company, so a 3 percent change in this number can represent tens of millions of dollars depending on the scale of the company,” Achor states. “In addition, the JetBlue data also shows that engaged crew members are three times more likely to ‘wow’ their customers and twice as likely to be in the top 10 percent of net compliments reported by customers. Thus, recognition is not just an issue of employee retention, it also has an impact upon customer satisfaction and loyalty.”