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Apr 22'

The Power of Peer to Peer Recognition in Building Meaningful Work Cultures

Working in the world of HR means you’re constantly staying on top of understanding what people value, want, and need from you as an employer. Some things we’ve learned in recent years are that employees are much more satisfied at work when their jobs feel meaningful, when they feel a strong sense of belonging, and when they are regularly recognized for their efforts. An impactful way to build these offerings into your company culture is by introducing and encouraging peer to peer recognition. In this post, we’ll explore why peer recognition works so well and give you a couple of ideas for rolling out your recognition program so you can see your employee engagement and sense of community start to skyrocket.

What is peer to peer recognition?

Peer to peer recognition is a form of social recognition where employees at any level of the organization can acknowledge and thank one another for their skills, talent, success, or attitude on the job. Often informal, it can take the form of a handwritten note, Linkedin endorsements, giving kudos in a team meeting, a nomination for an employee award, a mention over company tools like Slack or a micro-bonus delivered through a dedicated employee recognition software.

Why is peer recognition more effective than traditional employee recognition?

Traditionally, recognition was something that managers gave to their subordinates during formal annual or quarterly performance reviews. This came with limitations since employees tend to spend less time engaging with their supervisors than they do with other colleagues. Because of this, companies soon realized that supervisors aren’t necessarily in the best position for assessing how their staff perform on the job day to day. Research by SHRM and Globoforce found that 49% of HR professionals believe that performance reviews are not an accurate appraisal of employees’ work. It also found that 76% of HR professionals agree that annual performance reviews are more accurate when coupled with ongoing peer feedback. And lastly, peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.

recognition and rewards

Peer to peer recognition opens up the opportunity for colleagues to give frequent recognition without hierarchies getting in the way. Since teammates get a front-row seat to how their peers perform on the job, this feedback and recognition can be extremely valuable. A manager can easily miss a special moment where a sales representative delights a customer for example, but a peer sitting at the desk right across may catch and appreciate the interaction, recognizing their teammate for their effort and bringing it to light for the rest of the team. Without these effective practices in place, many of these moments can go unnoticed. 

What are the benefits of a peer to peer recognition program? 

Aside from breaking down hierarchies and increasing the frequency of giving recognition, some of the positive effects of effective peer to peer recognition include:

1. Increased productivity & job satisfaction
Recognition is so important that 40% of workers say they’d put more energy into their work if they received more recognition. Another Gartner study found that peer feedback can enhance performance by as much as 14%. We can then conclude that the more recognition staff receive, the more appreciated and confident they feel, and so the harder they’re willing to work.

2. Reduced employee turnover
A SurveyMonkey survey found that 63% of respondents who were consistently recognized for their work said they were unlikely to look for a new job in the next six months. Knowing that staff are regularly receiving positive feedback and appreciation from several team members every day means that they are sure to feel valued where they work, and less eager to move on to the next spot. 

3. Strengthened work relationships & team connection
Peer recognition is a strong culture-building initiative. When a team regularly praises and celebrates one another, they naturally start to bond much more as a unit. It helps team members get to know one another much better and helps create a sense of family and team spirit. 

work culture

How to build a recognition program to maximize employee engagement 

Now that you understand why peer to peer recognition is one hell of a secret weapon, how do you go about putting it into play? Like with many HR initiatives, you can choose to DIY or look at outsourcing it instead

If you’re going to build your employee recognition program in house, then some ways you can do this is to:

  • - Add a recurring 5-minute agenda item to your weekly staff meetings and dedicate this time to giving kudos, thanks, and feedback to one another.
  • - Make the most of your existing company communications like Slack channels and email newsletters to regularly encourage peer recognition while giving examples of how it can be done.
  • - Encourage your leadership team to model peer to peer recognition and train them up on best practices for giving recognition that can be followed by the rest of the team.

If you’re worried about getting limited participation in your peer recognition program by going with the DIY option, then you’ll want to consider turning to a vendor that takes this all off your plate.

Employee recognition tools like Bucketlist are built to streamline peer to peer recognition, giving staff members equal power by giving them tokens to exchange. They can recognize their peers by giving out micro-bonuses in the form of points, which can later be exchanged for a list of redeemable rewards. 

employee recognition

Many leading organizations are turning to these peer recognition platforms because they:

  • - Minimize the work HR departments need to do to maximize program participation.
  • - Significantly help the increase visibility of recognition given in the organization by tying into existing company communications like Slack where teams are already working.
  • - Are extremely flexible and customizable to the needs and core values of the company.
  • - Help speed up how quickly recognition is given.
  • - Perfectly suit how younger generations like to communicate in the workplace.
  • - Contribute to building a strong sense of community, both on the peer recognition platform and within the organization as a whole.  

There is certainly more than one way to build a strong sense of meaning and belonging in the workplace, but implementing peer to peer recognition is proving to be one of the most cost-effective and impactful human resources strategies out there yet that can work wonders in solidarity. Launch your peer recognition initiatives and you’ll be in awe as you watch your workplace culture transform into a place where people truly want to be and succeed, and for a long time too. 

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