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Peer Recognition: What is it and What are the Benefits

July 13, 2022

When it comes to employee engagement, one thing is sure: recognition matters. But it’s not just top-down recognition that matters. Peer-to-peer recognition may play an even more critical role in company success than we previously believed.

While recognition from leaders is valuable, studies show that it doesn’t happen often enough. Only 23% of employees feel like they get the right amount of recognition for the work that they do.

It’s a common discrepancy. Managers have a mile-long to-do list and recognition often slips further and further down that list. Eventually, employees feel unappreciated or even neglected. One way, however, to combat this discrepancy is with peer recognition.


What is Peer Recognition?

As the name suggests, peer recognition occurs when employees express appreciation for their colleagues. This is sometimes also known as social recognition.

A peer recognition program is a structured plan that builds recognition into a company’s culture. Some peer recognition programs are housed via an online platform accessible to all employees in a company, similar to how social media platforms operate.


What are the Benefits of Peer Recognition?

Empower Employees

Being noticed by executives is important, but oftentimes it’s the day-to-day duties that keep a business running smoothly. Even the world’s best boss will inevitably miss some moments of employee success worthy of acknowledgement. But that’s where having a culture of peer recognition can help.

With a peer recognition program, employees are trained how to use the program and when. It gives employees control, with no need for supervision. This allows managers to trust their employees to step in and recognize each other, while giving employees a sense of ownership.

This isn’t to say that managers can skip out on recognition. In fact, managers oftentimes need to lead by example to win employee buy-in. But once a peer recognition platform has been implemented and adopted, recognition won’t fall solely on the shoulders of managers.

Improve Engagement and Morale

When companies adopt a peer-to-peer recognition culture, all employees are encouraged to engage in the back and forth of peer recognition. And when the whole team is looking for things to appreciate from each other, there’s more to be found.

In fact, Psychology Today found that practicing gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Furthermore, seeking out things to be thankful for can enhance empathy and reduce stress. So, while being recognized feels good for the person receiving the thanks, it also benefits the giver.

Research has even found that when employees believe they will be recognized, they are 2.7x more likely to be highly engaged in their work. Additionally, a report from Gallup found that business that scored in the top quartile in employee engagement have nearly double the odds of success when compared with those in the bottom quartile. Those at the 99th percentile have four times the success rate of those at the first percentile.


Reduce Voluntary Turnover

If turnover is a concern for your company, you’re not alone. The Great Resignation left 11.5 million jobs vacant at the end of June 2021. And it's not over yet. Gallup research found that 48% of employees are actively looking to switch jobs, as well.

With voluntary turnover still a top concern among many companies in 2022, recognition is more critical than ever. Simply put, recognizing your employees can lead to more engaged employees and engaged employees are less likely to leave.

In fact, 63% of employees who feel recognized say they’re unlikely to look for a new job. Additionally, research from Forbes found that companies with effective recognition programs have 31% lower voluntary turnover. So, if you’re looking to prevent voluntary turnover, a recognition program is a great place to start.


RELATED: 5 Ways to Retain Employees During the Great Resignation


Celebrate Unsung Heroes

It’s an unfortunate reality of life that sometimes people are overlooked for their accomplishments, especially the more introverted members of the workforce. In fact, one survey found that while the workforce is generally split evenly between extroverts and introverts, 88% of supervisors are extroverted.  Furthermore, only 2% of senior executives are introverts.

A common assumption from this data is that extroverts are better suited for leadership roles based on their skillsets. However, another study led by Professor Adam Grant found that introverted leaders outperformed extroverted ones when managing proactive employees.

This isn’t to say you should switch to only promoting introverts, but more so to shed light on the unsung heroes of your organization. Some of your top performers may be undetected by top leadership but are known well amongst the team for their work. A peer recognition program helps those under-the-radar employees get the appreciation they deserve, while shedding light on where your true talent may be hiding.


Getting Started

From increased engagement and morale to reduced turnover, meaningful employee recognition is essential for companies to succeed today. And employee recognition software is a great place to start.

If you’re interested in learning more about Terryberry’s employee recognition platform, contact us today to set up a demo. See how our 360 platform incorporates social recognition, performance awards, milestone awards, and barrier-free communication all under one streamlined platform.