A Handy Guide to Peer Recognition in the Workplace

Cassy Aite
August 28, 2023
A Handy Guide to Peer Recognition in the Workplace

From resources to relationships to accomplishments, the employee experience dictates how workers in an organization feel about their job. It’s about employee engagement, company culture, company values, and recognition for hard work.

Great companies place a premium on the employee experience, and team members respond in kind. Yet many organizations struggle to make workers feel excited about their jobs — or, at the very least — satisfied.

One of the keys to an engaged and happy workforce is peer recognition. Instead of a top-down approach, a peer-to-peer recognition program reinforces a culture of employee appreciation that’s simple to implement, encouraging stronger bonds between employees simultaneously. Through peer recognition, you can lower employee turnover, encourage great work, and build a recognition platform that doesn’t rely wholly on management.

What Is Peer Recognition?

Employee giving peer recognition while others applaud

Peer recognition is the act or expression of appreciation between employees rather than from management. It creates a positive impact in an organization through a social recognition system and peer feedback for hard work, milestones, birthdays, work anniversaries, teamwork, and more.

According to HR professionals from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a deep understanding between peers and their daily obstacles and challenges can make this type of recognition more meaningful than a hierarchical employee recognition program. Workers feel empowered to open up without management’s constant approval, which fosters a workplace culture of positivity and improves employee morale through positive feedback.

The Importance and Benefits of Peer Recognition in the Workplace

Beyond the empowerment of employees, an effective peer recognition program provides a plethora of other benefits that transcend beyond employees themselves. Consider these peer recognition benefits as you create a program for your business.

Enhanced Employee Performance

Peer recognition initiatives promote overall positivity company-wide. When employees can openly compliment each other, they’re more likely to contact colleagues and coworkers for help. Through this open-discussion format, employees can learn the skills and tools necessary to improve job performance — and job satisfaction.

Improved Employee Relationships, Collaboration, and Bonding

Work relationships also improve as a result of peer recognition. A culture that encourages public kudos for good work fosters cohesive relationships between workers. As a result, employees are more likely to ask for help — a strong step forward toward camaraderie and better collaboration.

When workers reach out to each other and compliment each other’s work, they also build personal bonds. Instead of being merely coworkers, they become friends — or at least work friends in a sense. Employees are then more likely to lend a helping hand or work with others they care about — even if they’re remote employees.

Employee Retention

Where peer recognition exists, job satisfaction and a positive work environment will follow. According to studies, companies with recognition initiatives — including peer recognition — are 56% less likely to actively search for other positions. Moreover, they’re 73% less likely to experience burnout, which is a major contributor to employee turnover.

Alignment of Company Goals and Values

Peer recognition is an excellent way to align and reinforce company goals and values. When an employee earns praise from their coworkers based on meeting (or exceeding) goals and adhering to the values of the company, they’re more likely to do so in the future. It’s a simple way to reinforce business goals and values without losing time to meetings or seminars.

Better Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the glue that holds your business together. While management is responsible for challenging and engaging employees through activities, peer recognition can play an equally active role.

Peer recognition is a major contributor to employee motivation, which ultimately leads to more engagement.

Increased Productivity and an Improved Bottom Line

When employees feel more engaged through peer recognition, they’re more likely to give their best effort on everything from daily activities to crucial projects. Highly engaged employees can boost productivity by up to 21% — which is a crucial metric in the bottom line of your company. Paired with office organization ideas, peer recognition and productivity become ubiquitous.

Tips to Properly Implement Exemplary Peer Recognition

An employee thanking another employee for a task

The importance of peer recognition cannot be understated. However, streamlining the process and encouraging it takes a hands-on approach and planning. If your organization struggles with its peer recognition program or doesn’t have one currently, apply some of these suggestions to help it progress.

Build a Culture of Recognition

Great companies are more than just above-average salaries, perks, and stipends. They build a unique culture. While this culture is all-encompassing, a culture of recognition is one of the most relevant aspects in terms of culture and engagement.

Peer recognition is a vital portion of a culture of recognition. It streamlines recognition, gives it in a timely fashion, and encourages instantaneous positive feedback. When peer recognition goes between management and leadership in addition to employees, it’s even more effective.

Building a culture of recognition on all levels of an organization — including top-level individuals — creates a trickle-down effect that’s felt throughout the business.

Settle on a Sole Recognition Tool or Platform

Peer recognition is more functional and impactful when everyone within the organization immediately recognizes it, but it requires a careful approach. Peer-to-peer verbal recognition is always beneficial. Yet, if you want to reach everyone within the organization, a platform, software, or tool has a greater range.

For a more effective peer recognition program, select a single recognition software or tool to celebrate an individual. Whether you use LinkedIn for social media shout-outs, Microsoft Teams for kudos, or Slack for quick congrats, ensure you have a channel that everyone will see. The more people who see the message, the more efficacious it becomes.

Provide Training

Not every worker has had a forum to express their gratitude to colleagues or coworkers. Peer recognition may seem like a foreign concept to some, so training can contribute greatly to a culture of recognition for managers and employees alike.

When you provide training, discuss the importance of appropriate praise and how to deliver it. Ensure that peer recognition is always delivered timely, points out a specific accomplishment, and does so in the proper channels.

Adjust your training to fit your business model and hold a training seminar to reiterate the importance of it. A lunch and learn is the perfect idea for this training, as it’s a social event that shouldn’t take you more than an hour.

4 Peer Recognition Ideas for Your Organization

Woman holding a rewards card as part of a peer recognition rewards program

If you want to implement a peer recognition program within your organization, you need a manageable approach that goes beyond a simple “good job.” You need a comprehensive approach that makes the program more visible and heightens its value company-wide. Use a few of these ideas to get your peer recognition program off the ground.

1. Start a Rewards Program

Not every completed task warrants a reward, yet if an employee consistently goes above and beyond, the accolades should stack up to a prize. For example, five instances of peer recognition could add up to a prize — whatever it may be.

A gift card from Hoppier is a novel approach to your rewards program, allowing the employee to choose whatever they want. Alternatively, a day off, a longer lunch break, or an increased learning stipend can send a positive message that embodies the spirit of peer recognition.

2. Go Beyond Accomplishments

Completing projects on time and under budget is a bonus for employers. Recognizing this is always appreciated, but don’t forget about other milestones. Employee birthdays, work anniversaries, and personal accomplishments are all reasons to encourage peer recognition in the workplace.

3. Make Peer Recognition Accessible to Everyone

When you hire remote employees or onsite ones, gauging whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert isn’t easy. Though extroverts rarely have issues showering their peers with praise, introverts might feel uncomfortable or excluded.

Ensure that participation is voluntary — never mandatory — and encourage team members to celebrate the accomplishments and milestones of everyone, regardless of their presence within the organization. You can also make recognition a matter of each employee’s preference. No matter how recognition is offered, it’s always positive.

4. Offer Access to Cards and Notes

Both remote and onsite teams should be able to give peer recognition outside of social media platforms or verbal praise. In an effort to foster peer recognition on a memorable level, offer all of your employees the chance to send cards or notes to coworkers.

These cards and notes allow employees to write personalized notes to others. Though the approach may seem antiquated, the power of handwritten notes is tangible — and one that your employees will surely appreciate.

How Hoppier Can Guide Peer Recognition Initiatives and Participation

Both reward-based and non-reward-based peer recognition programs are integral to a culture of recognition at your business. But either way, specificity and timeliness are crucial. If you want a way to reward your employees for regular contributions to the team, virtual bulk gift cards from Hoppier are ideal.

Hoppier Peer Recognition Gift Card

With Hoppier’s customizable gift card interface, you can create a card with your company’s name and logo, a message for the employee, and an amount commensurate with the achievement. It’s a quick, easy way to show appreciation while adhering to your budget.

But don’t just reserve a gift-card initiative for upper management. By allowing employees to create gift cards on occasion using your account or honoring employees with rewards via your peer recognition program, your workers are sure to value the gesture — and hopefully — pay it forward.

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