What is Peer-to-Peer Recognition (and why your business should encourage it)

Table of contents

It’s super-simple on the surface but there’s a lot more to a thank-you than meets the eye.  Being thanked makes a huge difference in all sorts of contexts, not least at work. Thanks given in private are wonderful. But when someone whose opinion you respect – for example one of your peers - says thank you in public, the impact leaves you smiling for some time, glowing with praise. And that means you’re more motivated, more creative, and more likely to do more great things. 

Peer to peer recognition is powerful magic, and we have masses of experience in the fine art of it. Read on to find out all about what is peer to peer recognition, how to encourage peer to peer recognition at your company, and the best peer to peer recognition programs.

What is a Peer-to-Peer Recognition?

Peer-to-peer recognition is the simple act of one employee recognising the efforts and achievement of another employee. Because people love to get praise from colleagues, it brings surprising positive benefits for every business, a well-documented fact. No wonder more businesses every day already understand the benefits of peer-to-peer recognition, searching for the best recognition programmes and homing existing strategies.

Why is it so powerful? Nobody understands your role and the demands it makes on you more than your co-workers and peers. The SHRM Employee Recognition Survey 2012 said it all. While recognition from managers comes with some benefits, peer-to-peer recognition has 35.7% more of a positive impact on business bottom lines. And we all know money talks.

Look at it this way, the best peer to peer recognition programs are actually money-spinners. Happy people, more profit, better productivity, they drive a positive virtuous circle. Next, let’s explore some of the many benefits of peer-to-peer recognition.

Benefits of Peer to Peer Recognition

Why is peer to peer recognition important? It comes with so many up-sides. It boosts the vital working relationships so many of us enjoy socially as well as at work itself. It builds more trust and friendship between individuals, connecting teams and departments in an invisible web of potential. It improves the confidence of employees too, leaving people feeling appreciated, cared for and valued.

Happy people enjoy their work more, think more creatively, collaborate and communicate better, reach out to others more, and all this improves their performance. That’s how peer to peer recognition creates a ripple effect. Did you know employees are likely to do the same for at least 3 of their workmates? This means the positives spread naturally, steadily affecting more people with enthusiasm, confidence, and the desire to succeed.   

Peer to peer recognition drives company values, baking them into your culture. Because people actively praise success in your own unique context, they’re encouraged to do more of the same. And social recognition promotes transparency and collaboration, both of which support getting the best out of people while making them happier at the same time. Win-win.

While too much competition can be off-putting, gentle competition can add spice to the workplace. It isn’t about some winning and others losing, it’s a supportive, friendly kind of generalised competition where everyone encourages everyone else to pull out all the stops, and you’re all pleased for each other.

Have you ever had a job you loved, not because of the pay or the conditions, or even the work itself, but because your colleagues became a sort of second family? It’s a workplace culture sought by many. Once people experience it they won’t want to leave. When hiring costs a fortune in time, money and effort, and employee churn makes things worse, peer-to-peer recognition can help save money as well as grow a matchless team of employees.

The overall impact on employee satisfaction is quite something. When you blend it with praise from managers, physical rewards and experiences, and other potent incentives you build a great-feeling culture. Everything is driven by strongly motivated people who go beyond the call of duty in creative ways to do a brilliant job.

Peer to Peer Recognition Ideas and Examples

How to encourage peer to peer recognition? There are many ways for staff to show appreciation to their workmates. It can be as simple and heart-warming as encouraging staff to get tea or coffee for their team mates. You could inspire people to leave teammates positive notes. A cheerful post-it note or printed letter means more than email, being tangible.

You could recognise outstanding effort with a fun trophy awarded at a five minute surprise ceremony at their desk. It might mean a daily ‘star of the day’, week or month nomination. It might involve cake. Or a physical notice board where staff can post praise for their workmates.

A wealth of research proves how positive interactions make life better. There’s even an element of self-fulfilling prophecy.  When people expect good things from their working lives, that's what they tend to experience in reality. The happier you expect to be, the happier you feel.

Imagine the impact of podcast or video interviews with praised staff, uploaded to the business intranet or staff portal. It’s a lot of fun as well as adding a tiny spark of celebrity-like sparkle to life at work. Steve in the software department might not be a movie star, but he’s the star of the company show.

You can achieve all this bit by bit yourself, but your best bet is to invest in a proven employee recognition platform. They support businesses in creating tailored programs to meet the needs of their workforce. Whether it’s something simple or a far-reaching plan to take you into the future, the best peer to peer recognition programs and supporting websites really do help you get where you want to be.

Peer to Peer Recognition Best Practices

As you can imagine there are several peer to peer recognition best practices that businesses need to be aware of. Doing it this way, logically and methodically, will help you make sure it works as it should.

  • Do your research, finding the best p2p recognition partner with a program that best suits your business, current needs, people, and future
  • Raise awareness of the peer to peer program amongst all staff members, creating a positive, exciting buzz and keeping everything 100% transparent
  • Be inclusive, involving everyone in the program – no exceptions
  • But remember everyone is different. Some people don’t like being the centre of attention
  • Ensure peer to peer recognition is immediate. Praise is best when it happens straight away, when you’ve just done that totally amazing thing!
  • Make the praise and recognition public to give it an even wider, stronger impact for everyone
  • Ensure recognition and praise is specific to things people have achieved, dreamed up, changed or innovated, not general praise. General thank you messages mean less
  • Praise and recognise peer contributions and efforts frequently so it becomes second nature, something people start to do without thinking
  • Make the process of providing peer to peer recognition fun, something staff will want to do rather than a chore.

Create happiness and boost productivity with peer-to-peer recognition

How often does a business idea lead to happiness? Not as often as it should! The positive feelings clients generate with our peer-to-peer program speak for themselves. The company is more cohesive, held together firmly by respect, affection and confidence. People know they’re appreciated, which inspires them to be creative on your behalf, hatching bright new ideas for new markets, directions, focuses, plans and tactics without being asked. The vibe is kind and supportive, a simple thing that makes such a difference to working life.

Would you like to try our p2p recognition software, see how it might turn your employees into a force to be reckoned with? Give our peer to peer recognition program demo a try or get in touch for a discussion about what you want to achieve.