Peer to Peer Recognition Ideas

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When you like and respect your colleagues and co-workers, peer to peer recognition can mean a lot. Imagine yourself glowing with praise, having been thanked or acknowledged openly by your workmates for your bright ideas, your dedication, your creativity, your kindness, whatever it is that the business you work for values. Saying thank you is one of the simplest yet the most powerful motivators around. Can you harness peer to peer recognition to boost your people’s performance? Yes, you can.

At Ovation Incentives we have a deep, broad understanding of how people are motivated, and what makes humans feel good in a work context. Let’s take a look at some proven Peer to Peer Recognition Ideas. By the end of this article you’ll understand the unusual power of peer to peer recognition, and you’ll have a set of cool ideas to base your peer to peer strategy on.

Why is peer to peer recognition important?

First, let’s define peer to peer recognition. Put simply it defines recognition between colleagues, as opposed to manager-led recognition where your efforts are recognised by a manager or someone else in charge. So why does it matter so much?

Peer to peer recognition is important for many reasons, all of which lead to better performance, a feeling of belonging, being valued, and enjoyment in everyday tasks. We all know how good it feels to be thanked, to be genuinely appreciated by people who matter to us. When the recognition you’re given is timely and meaningful, as well as given in public, it goes deep and feels very satisfying, and that’s inspirational. When peers recognise each others’ achievements it leads to really good, strong, cohesive teams.  

When people you work with and respect recognise your efforts it leads to better confidence, self-esteem, and self-awareness, all of which mean a person feels great about being at work. Overall, performance and output increase. And employee wellbeing, morale and motivation shoot up. Happier people, a better bottom line, and less employee churn are the result. Here are fifteen key peer to peer recognition ideas to get you started. 

15 Peer to Peer Recognition Ideas

Speak up in a team meeting

Team meetings are a great way to keep everyone on-side, enthusiastic, and fully informed. If you speak up about someone’s excellent performance at a team meeting the message gets to everyone who needs to know. The employee is recognised personally and openly by peers, in an official forum where it matters. As you can imagine it’s a feel-good thing, a way of saying thank you that makes workers feel appreciated, cared for, noticed, and valued. This works hard to improve performance across the board, with everyone involved making more of an effort to get recognition and thanks for their own achievements. A virtuous circle, if you like.

Leave a handwritten note

Sincere thanks in writing is a wonderful thing, something less transient than the spoken word, and more solid. It’s even something an employee can keep. When you take the time and make the effort to hand-write a thank you in a digital world, it has a really strong impact. In the same way as a handwritten letter to a loved one means more these days than an email, social media post or text message, it signals your peers  genuinely care. The result is employees who feel more motivated than ever.  

Send them an E-card

There are thousands of e-cards available, so you should be able to find one with a message that expresses corporate thanks perfectly in exactly the right way for the individual. When the rest of your emails are all about work, getting a personal thank-you card in your email box is a nice surprise. Making it personal in this way adds extra meaning and texture to the praise.

Publicise rewards and recognition internally

Having an internal rewards and recognition strategy means you publicly acknowledge people’s successes, efforts, and inclinations to go the extra mile. Publicising rewards and recognition internally means a person’s achievements are widely known and recognised across the business. Most people enjoy being in the limelight because they’ve done a great job, and it’s also inspiring for others.  

Highlight milestones and key events

You can thank people on a peer to peer basis at various critical points during a project, for example when the first stage has been completed, rather than waiting until the end. When a project has several parts or stages, or is due to go on and on, you’ll want to keep motivation at a good level throughout. Breaking it up to thank people on a peer to peer basis at regular intervals keeps everyone on track, fresh, motivated and keen.


There’s an instant financial and social appeal to being awarded a small cash bonus by a colleague. Peer-to-peer micro-bonuses let employees give each other small cash tips for jobs well done. The tips, which tend to be in the £2 - £5 region, are taken from an allocated budget. While the amount of cash isn’t enormous, the fact that you’ve been awarded it by a colleague scores more than the sum of the parts, leaving people feeling happy and excited. And we all know happy people work harder and better.

Provide a trophy

You have a trophy specially made. Every week it’s passed to someone who has achieved something over and above the call of duty, or done something really well, or hatched an amazing new time or money saving idea. The gentle ongoing competition for the trophy keeps people keen, brings everyone together, motivates entire teams, and keeps everyone on their toes. The person with the trophy on their desk for the week feels like a real winner, which shows in their work.

LinkedIn Endorsement

Endorsing a person on LinkedIn means a lot because it’s such a public forum. Some people find it difficult to ask others for endorsements on the network, which means an endorsement could make all the difference to their profile. It’s a long term career benefit rather than a one-off. Knowing someone at work values your efforts enough to actually say so on a professional social network makes a person feel truly seen, and being seen for what you are is always a strong motivator.

Provide a small gift

It’s the thought that counts – this is very true in a peer to peer rewards context. Just like rewarding a peer with a small tip, it signals the people you work with have noticed the good things you’ve done, taken the trouble to find a gift that means something to you, and given you it in public at work. The sort of warm glow we feel when we’re sincerely thanked makes us want to work even harder, aiming for more gifts and more praise.

Use point based systems

A point based system keeps everyone on their toes, an ongoing strategy people can really enjoy getting involved with. Ideally it will introduce a small, exciting element of competition, but won’t be so competitive that it puts less naturally-competitive people off. The idea that people can progress, gathering more points over time, is a powerful one, leading to strong motivation and a determination to do the best job every time.

Mention in staff newsletter

Whether it’s online, printed, or both, a staff newsletter is a motivator in itself. People like to know what’s going on in the wider company. It’s a great place to showcase social events, goals achieved, unusual levels of inspiration, creativity or dedication. Because it’s in writing it’s long lasting, something people can keep and look back at. When a publication reaches the entire workforce, an employee’s achievements are celebrated by the entire business.

Shoutout on Slack/Teams

Do your people use Slack, Microsoft Teams or another collaborative tool? When everyone taps into the same tech every day, saying a big thank you via that tech is quite something. Everyone sees it on their screen, and the person who’s been recognised feels their efforts and hard work are properly valued by everyone, from the colleagues they work with every day to the managers overseeing everyone.

Send them a treat

Sending someone a treat is a lovely way to help motivate people. It works best when the treat is something the person receiving it genuinely enjoys or likes, so it’s important to have a good idea about what your people consider to be a treat! It’s another simple but really effective way to keep people motivated, keen, inspired and creative in their everyday tasks - and beyond, when they’re moved to think creatively outside the confines of their role.

Peer to peer recognition - It’s all about saying ‘thank you’

None of these peer to peer recognition ideas cost a fortune. They’re all fairly simple to organise and achieve. Any kind of thank you, when delivered by peers, makes people feel good. And there’s a wider picture. Employee wellbeing sits at the heart of peer to peer recognition, and that has a noticeable impact on performance – which ultimately boosts your bottom line. Spend a little, say a lot, make a big impact.

Would you like to see how this translates into a system that allows you to tick all the employee wellbeing boxes? Click here to book a demo or get in touch for an eye-opening discussion.