February 9, 2024
March 1, 2024

Best Practices and Ideas for Peer-to-Peer Recognition

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A steady paycheck and a place to work are not enough to keep employees satisfied with their jobs. What matters the most to employees now is how they feel at work. Peer-to-peer recognition is one of the best ways to help employees feel engaged, valued, and supported. In this post we dive into the essence of peer recognition, it's profound impact, and practical strategies to help you harness its power effectively.

Peer-to-peer recognition is a method of recognition that is extremely easy and effective to implement. With this, employees can recognize each other, often spreading feelings of appreciation and value further than leaders can do themselves.

In this post, we’ll discuss:

  • Why peer-to-peer recognition is important
  • Benefits of peer recognition
  • Best practices for peer recognition
  • 7 peer-to-peer recognition ideas
  • How to measure the success of peer recognition programs

By the end, we hope you’ll feel confident in creating and implementing an effective peer-to-peer recognition program.

The Critical Role of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Why is peer recognition so pivotal? The answer lies in its ability to foster genuine connections at work. Employees often work more closely with peers than with leaders, making peer recognition uniquely personal and impactful. It's not just about acknowledging contributions; it's about strengthening bonds, reinforcing company values and building a culture of collaboration and inclusion.

Some other impacts of peer recognition include:

  • Emphasize and strengthen company values. Do you preach values such as teamwork, honesty, and commitment? Well, when employees can recognize their peers for exemplifying these values and attributes, everyone’s knowledge and commitment to them will increase (and they won’t just be stickers on a wall anymore).
  • Create a healthy and happy company culture. An atmosphere of collaboration and friendship is conducive to a safe, fun, and productive company culture. Regular recognition will make employees more engaged, help them feel more appreciated, and can give them more purpose. That’s the recipe for a culture of success.
  • Foster friendships and encourage inclusion. Regularly recognizing peers will naturally lead to gratitude and friendliness. And employees with good friends at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs. Plus, when peers recognize each other, chances of people feeling left out or unnoticed go down.

Put simply, when peer recognition is a part of your culture, employees are going to be happier, more engaged, and more excited to go into the office each day.

Benefits of Peer Recognition

It’s not just cultural or experiential benefits that peer recognition can bring. No, this type of recognition also offers some measurable benefits to the company, including:

  • Improve employee performance. Peer feedback is shown to increase performance and productivity by 14%.
  • Increase employee engagement. When employees feel that they’re recognized enough at work, they are 4X more engaged.
  • Boost company profitability. Engaged workforces result in a 21% boost in profitability.
  • Increase retention rates. Employees who aren’t recognized for their work are twice as likely to quit as those who are recognized. Imagine if employees throughout your organization were recognized by their peers on a regular basis!

Employees who are recognized perform better and stay longer—and peer-to-peer recognition is an easy and effective way to make sure everyone gets recognized enough.

Best Practices for Peer-to-Peer Recognition

To start using peer recognition, all you have to do is provide a tool that lets employees recognize each other. Then—just like the P.E. teacher who splits everyone into teams and then sits on a lawn chair to read a book—you can sit back and let employees pull their own recognition weight!

If you don’t know where to start, here are a few steps you can keep in mind to build a peer recognition program from the ground up.

Make It Quick and Easy

Any recognition program should be quick and easy to use, especially for employees who are already juggling multiple responsibilities and projects. And HR admins definitely don’t need more on their plates! Luckily, digital tools such as Awardco allow you to write a personalized message of gratitude and send it to a peer in about 10 seconds. 

There are other ways technology can help you make peer-to-peer recognition a reality, such as mobile apps for those who may not use a computer often and AwardCodes. The point is, make it easy and simple for everyone to get involved.

Ensure Everyone Has Access

Once you have a program that’s easy to use, ensure that everyone can actually use it. Like we talked about, SMS notifications, phone apps, and printed notes are a great way to get frontline employees involved.

As for remote or hybrid employees, don’t let that stop them from recognizing! A recognition social feed is a great way to ensure everyone feels involved. 

Post Recognitions Publicly

Get everyone excited by making peer recognitions publicly visible. Awardco integrates with Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook—and we also have a social feed where all recognitions get posted. 

Employees can see every recognition in their regular communication channels, on our social feed, or you can even plug the feed into a TV and show real-time recognitions around your company in common areas. This visibility helps remind them to recognize and gets everyone excited about the idea of appreciation!

Encourage Leaders to Be the Examples

If you’re just beginning your peer recognition adventure, you’ll want a good guide to get everyone started. Have managers and executives recognize each other and other employees to show everyone how it’s done and how awesome it is! Once they see others recognizing, they’ll be less hesitant or confused about doing it themselves.

Plus, when leaders regularly recognize their employees, those employees are 40% more engaged, so that’s some nice icing on the cake.

(For a great example on how to get leadership involved in recognition, check out Quick Quack Car Wash’s story!)

Use Both Monetary and Non-Monetary Recognition

Giving each employee a small allowance each month to give out to their peers is a great way to make peer-to-peer recognition even more meaningful. We’re talking $5 or $10 a month. However, non-monetary recognition can be just as powerful.

In fact, symbolic rewards, such as cards or public recognition, can significantly increase motivation, performance, and retention. So encourage employees to recognize their peers in whatever way works best.

Train Employees How to Effectively Recognize

By training both employees and managers on how to make the most of your recognition program, peer recognition will become that much more effective. Train employees to make recognition:

  • Genuine. A single genuine compliment or expression of gratitude is worth a hundred disingenuous comments.
  • Specific. Relatedly, make sure recognition is specific to each employee instead of something general.
  • Timely. Recognition is most powerful when it comes soon after an employee has accomplished something.
  • Frequent. Train employees to always be on the lookout for people to recognize. Soon, they’ll see amazing things happening all around them!

8 Peer-to-Peer Recognition Ideas

Peer-to-peer recognition involves more than simply saying, “Good job,” from time to time. Here are seven peer-to-peer recognition ideas that you can use in your business.

1. Cards and Handwritten Notes

Most of us only touch a card when it’s someone’s birthday, but they can be a key component of a peer-to-peer recognition program. The company can make sure each employee has easy access to a stack of cards they can use to recognize each other.

Cards and handwritten notes can feel outdated, but they have power. Because they are handwritten, they carry a personal touch and thoughtfulness that a quick email or text doesn’t convey.

2. Social Media Recognition

Social media awards and recognitions are great for employees who are involved with social media. The best part about social media recognition is that it extends beyond your organization and can easily be seen by family members and friends.

Digital recognition through social media comes in two forms. Peers can nominate each other to be recognized on the company’s social media accounts, or they can individually comment, message, and celebrate each other over social media.

3. Kudos Board

Creating a physical or digital board where employees can post their recognitions is a great way to create a culture of appreciation. Plus, a digital board will allow remote employees to get involved in recognition.

4. Celebrate Milestones, Anniversaries, and More

Peer-to-peer recognition is more than just celebrating accomplishments in the office. It’s useful to bring employees together to celebrate all parts of their lives. Everything from a birthday, engagement, or work anniversary can and should be celebrated.

Each of these milestones allows the team to celebrate and spotlight each other and helps each team member feel recognized not just for what they do, but for who they are.

5. Point-Based Systems

A point-based system is an internal mechanism that allows employees to recognize and reward each other with points. Those points can then be redeemed for prizes, rewards, or bonuses. A successful point-based system needs to include rewards that are obtainable and desired.

A reward of one day of extra PTO is a major prize in any company, but having it cost an outrageous number of points puts it out of reach and negates any motivation or engagement the reward might have inspired.

6. Celebrate the Introvert and Extrovert

Not everyone celebrates the same way. An extrovert on your team will absolutely enjoy public recognition of a job well done. Still, that same celebration for an introvert will be considered a punishment instead of a reward.

In a peer-to-peer recognition program, don’t use a one-size-fits-all reward. Instead, each recognition is a chance for employees to celebrate in a way that works for them. There is no right or wrong way to recognize a win. The only misstep is when successes go unrecognized.

7. LinkedIn Endorsements

Skills on an employee’s LinkedIn profile can be endorsed. This allows peers to show their support and vote of confidence in a specific skill or attribute. Endorsements help them support and recognize each other, and they also help coworkers strengthen their LinkedIn network.

8. Peer Recognition Software Like Awardco

When you choose to use a peer recognition software like Awardco, you streamline your employee engagement platform by making it easy for employees to recognize and celebrate each other.

How to Measure the Success of Your Peer Recognition Program

Measuring the success of a recognition program doesn’t have to be a challenge, especially when you use a tool like Awardco that gives you powerful and transparent reporting. Here are some metrics you can use to see what’s going well and what you can improve in your peer recognition program:

  • Activation rate. This one is simple. How many employees have signed into the platform? Hopefully, with plenty of training, you can get to the 100% mark.
  • Program adoption. How many employees are using the program? Check the frequency and reach of your program to figure out who uses it and when, and look for gaps that you can try to fill.
  • Leader vs individual participation. You want both leaders and individuals to be recognizing those around them. If either group’s usage is low, try to reinvigorate the program for that group.
  • Top recognizers and recognized. Getting insight into who recognizes the most and who is recognized most often can help you see what leads to more recognition. Plus, you can learn from these employees’ actions to help train others.
  • Budget utilization. If you have a budget for your peer recognition program, track its use. That way, you can see who is recognizing with points and can adjust your budget regularly.

Peer Recognition: a Foundation for Your Culture

Employee recognition can transform your culture and give employees a better experience. And with a peer recognition program and sufficient training, you can create a self-promoting system where employees go out of their way to recognize each other. It’s really a win-win for everyone.

Jefferson Hansen
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An avid lover of fantasy books, a proud Hufflepuff, and a strong proponent of escapism, Jeff has a love of good storytelling. He relies on that for both his professional work and his writing hobby (don’t ask about the 10+ novel ideas collecting virtual dust on his computer).