Mark Keeton, Vice President
“…Recognition is an afterthought in most organizations. It’s robotic, impersonal, and ultimately falls flat among employees, which completely defeats the purpose of providing recognition in the first place,” writes Ryan Jenkins for Inc.com.
He’s not wrong. According to research from Wichita State University, more than 80 percent of employees seldom or never receive public praise. More than 50 percent have never received praise from their manager, and when employees are recognized, it’s typically focused on tenure rather than achievement.
A lack of employee recognition can breed discontent throughout a company culture. Employees won’t put forth their best efforts because they don’t feel as though they will be appreciated.
Employers who want to make a difference in their culture and engage their employees have strong, multidimensional programs that include peer-to-peer recognition.
Why is peer-to-peer recognition important?
Frankly, managers have less time for recognition than employees do. During the past 30 years, the number of direct reports for CEOs has increased from four to seven, and there are fewer levels between senior management and employees. Although there are advantages to having flatter organizations, one of the byproducts is less time to recognize good work. Peer-to-peer recognition helps fill this gap.
Other advantages of peer-to-peer recognition
- It’s meaningful. Being recognized by a fellow colleague makes them feel like their work is being noticed and appreciated by someone who truly gets it.
- It builds camaraderie among work teams, which can benefit the company at large. It’s also more likely to feel unexpected, which heightens its impact.
- It helps build company culture. Having a strong culture makes employees happier and more productive and increases pride and loyalty. It also makes your organization more attractive to new talent you might be trying to recruit.
- It’s authentic. A colleague has more direct awareness of an employees’ challenges and struggles. Peers recognize good work because they recognize its direct value to the team. It doesn’t feel like an annual performance review.
- It’s inclusive. Anyone can participate and recognize great work. It’s not dependent on garnering the notice of a leader. It avoids singling out one employee for great work like an “employee of the month” program would. It encourages joint accomplishment and teamwork.
How can you encourage peer-to-peer recognition?
- Make it easy. A digital recognition program allows for scale and a high return on investment. Digital programs lead to higher employee performance and engagement.
- Flexibility and choice in terms of rewards makes recognition more meaningful and allows the employee to personalize their reward.
Regardless of how you recognize employees, it’s critical to show them that you care about them and value the work they do. Thoughtful programs that allow for consistent recognition by leadership and colleagues can have a positive impact on company culture, recruitment and retention.