Empower Employees to Recognize Others
Zappos is a company that continues to impress me with the way they understand the human equation of doing business. When it comes to employee recognition Zappos understands the power of your peers. The innovative online apparel retailer gives its workforce the power to lift up...and reward...coworkers who go the extra mile.
The culture at Zappos encourages employees to strive toward "doing more with less." The company understands that employee rewards need to be meaningful but not necessarily expensive. To make this work, Zappos created its own currency, "Zollars." Any employee can give Zollars - intended to be allocated to an employees favorite charity - to recognize the efforts of another employee. The organization has a number of other perks such as reserved covered parking spaces that are left to the discretion of employees to use for recognizing the efforts of their peers.
Of course your organization doesn't necessarily need to start minting its own money in order to have an effective peer recognition program. The point is that you need to empower your employees so that they can offer meaningful recognition to their team members. This could take the form of low-cost rewards as it does at Zappos, or it might mean giving employees a public forum for thanking others. It's up to you to decide what works best in your company but ultimately it starts by putting power in the hands of the peers.