Employee Recognition

Leveling Up Peer Recognition at VSE  

By Kayla Sheely

At Voice Systems Engineering, we are always trying to level up our employee recognition programs and find new ways for employees to recognize each other. Peer recognition is an important factor in employee satisfaction. While one might think monetary compensation is at the top of the list of employee motivators, it doesn’t even make the top five. Peers and recognition do, however, and it is important for companies to recognize and cultivate peer recognition programs. Instead of a traditional top-down approach, peer recognition programs can help build rapport among employees, strengthen social bonds, and enhance culture.  

VSE’s Values Star Program seeks to do just that. The Values Star Program allows coworkers to nominate each other when they see someone emulating one of VSE’s core values, going above and beyond their expected work duties. This program just finished its fifth year and continues to gain momentum.  

However, Maryanne Fiedler, Recognition Program Facilitator, saw an opportunity for innovation and improvement in this area. Especially in today’s remote environment, it’s easy for employee efforts to become siloed and to feel like work is being done in a vacuum. While an employee may be involved in their circle or their team, they may still feel disconnected from the rest of the company. Our previous ways of informally recognizing each other were centered on in office interactions, such as a Thank You Wall, but a digital-first environment requires a little more creative thinking.  

“In consideration for our remote work environment, it’s important that we are finding ways to engage with each other. I wanted to make it easier for the team at VSE to recognize and thank coworkers and teams in a way that everyone can see and appreciate,” Maryanne says. That’s where the Bucketlist platform comes in. “Bucketlist makes that easy and enables a fun social media-like interface for us all to participate. Also, with our Values Star Program being an essential program for furthering our culture and recognizing staff for demonstrating our Corporate Values, I wanted to make it easier for staff to submit nominations and for our Values Stars to be more publicly acknowledged.” 

Employees are encouraged to add a profile picture and fill out a short bio to give their coworkers a chance to learn a little more about each other than just their job title. A key component of the platform is its social media-like interface with a feed that displays all recent nominations, acknowledgments, awards, and work anniversaries. Employees can also assign kudos or thank you awards to recognize fellow employees throughout the month as positive interactions take place.   

Our Values Star Program has also been integrated into Bucketlist, making it easier to give and receive nominations. For the winners of Values Star drawings and other company contests and giveaways, points are awarded through Bucketlist that allow employees more control over their reward selection (instead of the previous standard Amazon gift card). Now, employees can choose from dozens of gift card options, experiences (if available in their local city), or donate to an organization on a pre-selected list of charities.  

Commenting on the response to Bucketlist, Maryanne states, “Staff utilization of Bucketlist has been strong so far with a 64% engagement rate. That is huge! One of my next steps with our peer-to-peer recognition program is to develop fun and creative ways to utilize the points feature in Bucketlist for furthering one on one recognitions with a bit of friendly competition.”  

There are many applications for this new employee recognition program, and we are excited to see how it grows and expands at VSE!  

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