Your Complete Guide to Getting Started with Peer Recognition 

Date: March 29, 2023
peer recognition

What is peer-to-peer recognition?

Peer recognition is the acknowledgment and appreciation of one's contributions, abilities, or achievements by individuals who are at a similar level or have similar expertise in a particular field or organization. It involves receiving praise, respect, or validation from colleagues or peers for one's work or accomplishments.

The Impact of peer-to-peer recognition

Recognition is a basic human need, one that we’re all hard-wired to respond to. 

At work, we’re used to receiving this recognition in a very structured way. Whether it’s an employee of the month competition or an annual review, typically it’s our managers who are tasked with making sure our efforts are appreciated. 

But what if instead of being recognized by your managers you were recognized by your colleagues? That’s where peer recognition comes in. 

Put simply, peer-to-peer recognition is a program where employees at any level can acknowledge or thank each other for their efforts. Often informal, it encourages colleagues to recognize each other’s achievements, skills, or efforts. This could take the form of a handwritten note, an announcement on social media, a simple “thank you” on Slack, or through a dedicated employee recognition platform like Bucketlist. A study by SHRM found that peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only interactions.

Whatever form it takes however, peer-to-peer recognition is designed to empower people to show that they are valued and appreciated - a simple act that can make people feel happier, more motivated and more satisfied in their roles. 

How does it work? 

Whether it’s part of a formal program or an ad-hoc pat on the back, we’re all used to receiving recognition from our managers. But when it comes to peer-to-peer, it’s understandable that you might be a little less sure of how things work.

The good news is that you’re already recognizing your peers, you just haven’t realized it. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to make the most of your company’s recognition program, we’ve put together a few hints and tips to help you become a peer-to-peer pro. 

What kind of things should you recognize? 

peer recognition

This isn’t about recognizing the organization’s top seller or your team’s best performer (though that can of course be part of any good program). Instead, it’s about recognizing the efforts and accomplishments that make a difference in your day-to-day work life. 

Maybe you have a colleague who always has a smile on their face, a coworker who goes the extra mile to help, or someone who is the embodiment of your company’s culture. Those are all the kinds of actions that deserve recognition. As a fellow employee, you’re uniquely positioned to understand when someone has had an impact and to celebrate them for it.  

How often should you recognize your peers?

When it comes to recognition, frequency matters. If you only celebrate people every few months, or worse, every year, then the impact of your efforts will quickly lose their value. If you truly want your recognition to be effective you need to deliver it in real time so that it will have the most impact on the person you’re giving it to. 

This is where a little structure can go a long way. Setting aside a few minutes during weekly meetings can help to keep recognition front of mind. Using existing communications tools like Slack, Teams and email is another way of ensuring your recognition is timely - especially in a remote or hybrid setting. 

What does good recognition look like? 

peer recognition

As we just discussed, regularity is always good. But what else can you do to make sure your peer recognition is as good as it can be? 

One top tip is to make it as specific as possible. The last thing anyone wants is a generic “thank you” that doesn’t go into any detail about what they did or why it was important. So make sure you add a personal touch. Explain why you’re recognizing someone, include details about exactly what they did and what impact their actions had on you and the company. Taking extra time to describe their impact will make your recognition stand out from the crowd and help your colleagues to feel more valued as a result. 

How do you stop it from becoming a competition? 

The first thing to realize is that peer-to-peer isn't meant to be competitive. There are no winners or losers, the entire point is to make sure that everyone feels like their work is valued. The key to making the most of your peer-to-peer program is to create a culture of camaraderie. You want your colleagues to build relationships with one another, to recognize the impact that they have on the organization and to celebrate the role they play within it. Whatever form it takes, just remember to make it inclusive. After all, everyone should have the opportunity to give and receive recognition. 

Is there anything that you should avoid?

peer recognition

Whether it’s a professional or personal accomplishment, there are countless ways for you to celebrate your colleagues. But there are still some things that you should avoid when it comes to peer recognition. 

Remember, no matter how informal it is, this is still a company program. It’s not just going to be seen by people in your immediate team, but by the entire organization. So when you’re handing out recognition, just remember to use some common sense, for example - swearing and inappropriate language is a big no-no. As are things like private information or proprietary knowledge. Just remember to keep it professional and you’ll be fine. 

How to recognize your peers using Bucketlist

If your organization has implemented Bucketlist then recognizing your peers is simple. Our platform uses a points-based system, so recognizing your peers is easy and intuitive. As a general rule of thumb, the more points you give someone the greater the achievement. So, if you’re recognizing one of your colleagues for a low lift / effort action then give them a lower number of points. Or, if they’ve gone above and beyond to save the day or deliver a large project, give them more points. 

Unlock the power of peer-to-peer

If you’d like to find out more about how the Bucketlist employee rewards and recognition app can help your business, contact us for a free demo. We’d love to help you improve your company’s engagement!

Go to Top