Why You Must Embrace the Value of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

While most organizations encourage manager and leadership feedback, they often ignore the power of peer-to-peer recognition –

June 22, 2021
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While most organizations encourage manager and leadership feedback, they often ignore the power of peer-to-peer recognition – which is arguably one of the most powerful influences on employee productivity and satisfaction.

Not only does peer recognition boost engagement and team morale, but it also increases productivity and decreases absenteeism. After all, if someone feels the people they work with the value their efforts, they are more willing to show up and be their best.

Why Peer-to-Peer Recognition Matters

Although peer-to-peer recognition may seem silly to some and awkward and forced to others, it carries more impact companywide than you may believe. Peer recognition establishes a more collaborative work environment and fosters positive interactions that contribute meaningfully to the workplace.

Peer recognition is also a way that companies can emphasize diversity and inclusion. Encouraging employees to recognize teammates publicly fosters a sense of connection and belonging. This, in turn, increases employee performance and engagement because employees feel more motivated to produce better outcomes and uphold a positive workplace environment.

There are clear advantages to peer-to-peer recognition, but fostering this kind of culture in ways that don't feel forced or awkward can be challenging. So here are some ways to build an effective peer recognition program in your organization.

Build a Public Recognition Platform

Building a recognition mechanism that enables employees to give public recognition any time and (almost) anywhere is incredibly valuable to any excellent peer recognition initiative. If it's easy and fun to shout out a coworker who assisted with a demanding project or offered a solution during a challenging day, employees are more likely to engage.

The way each company builds this process will look different depending on needs or constraints, and it may take time to find a system that works. Be transparent about that to employees during the process and encourage them to offer feedback about the peer recognition system they prefer or feel would work best.

Ensure Inclusivity

Everyone should have the chance to give and receive recognition, but just because they have the opportunity doesn't mean they will take advantage of it. As tempting as it can be to make participation in peer recognition programs mandatory, that is not the best way to build a lasting program.

Employees want to feel genuinely appreciated and valued. The moment a program meant to encourage their peers to do so becomes mandatory, any praise or accolades delivered through that program will feel forced. After all, there's no way to know in this scenario if an employee is offering recognition because they want to or because they think it's a requirement. Employee recognition of any kind should be authentic and come from the heart, and peer recognition is no exception.

There's no clear-cut way to ensure inclusivity in peer recognition, but modeling it is always a great place to start. Ask employees who praise other employees individually to share that recognition publicly. By ensuring everyone has the opportunity to praise and be praised, the odds that your peer recognition program will be successful are high.

Practice Frequent Praise

According to Brandon Hall Group's 2020 Culture of Recognition Pulse Survey, organizations that rate their culture of recognition highly are over two times more likely to give frequent credit to their peers. Companies and coworkers should both focus on frequently recognizing the people they work with for their contributions.

A simple way to do this is to encourage managers to set aside time for weekly praise and recognition, whether in a standup meeting or virtually through a Slack channel or online message board. By prioritizing a culture that values time for peer recognition, employees will follow suit.

Be a Role Model

Just because peer-to-peer recognition is the focus doesn't mean that other employee engagement tactics should stop. Employers and managers still must take time to recognize employee contributions and accomplishments.

No matter your industry, company, or organizational structure, peer-to-peer recognition can drastically improve employee engagement, productivity, and retention. By implementing simple ways your employees can recognize their coworkers, you're ensuring a higher level of engagement, which pays dividends for organizations and the people they serve.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

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