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While most of us might know what a peer-to-peer recognition is, we need to note that peer-to-peer recognition has always been (and always will be) an important aspect of any professional workplace. Social acknowledgment is a basic need listed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Employee retention is all about making them fall in love with your company’s culture, and you need to make your employees feel like they are truly wanted. It is a crucial part of employee recognition.

A truly nice definition conveying the importance of peer-to-peer recognition sounds like this:

“Peer-to-peer recognition is the genuine sign of acknowledgment and appreciation between coworkers. That presumes both the manager-to-employee and employee-to-employee interactions.” - Manoj Agarwal, founder of Empuls

A traditional peer-to-peer recognition program is usually developed and performed by the upper class – the managers, the high roles, and the assigned employees. However, peer-to-peer recognition can become something more than that.

It can become a habit of each employee – when something “nice” is done, the employee should acknowledge or reward the person who obtained the result. Certain “rewards” can be implemented and known as “default prizes” – when something is achieved, every member receives an X or Y prize.

A peer-to-peer recognition platform is a great way to implement this and build an authentic culture of appreciation.

Peer-to-peer recognition is an extremely powerful technique that will positively influence your company and its employees.

In today’s post, we’ll explore the primary reason why developing and performing a peer-to-peer recognition program is one of the most tangible ways to improve your company’s performance and your employees’ wellbeing.

What is peer-to-peer recognition?

Peer-to-peer recognition means acknowledging and appreciating colleagues for their skills, deliverables, or talent. Peer-to-peer recognition programs aim to provide employees with acknowledgment, satisfaction, self-worth, achievement, appreciation, etc.

Generally, recognition comes from managers and seniors but getting recognized by peers/colleagues is highly motivating. Peer-to-peer recognition is considered more effective and personalized than the usual “manager to employee recognition.”

Peer-to-peer recognition statistics

Here are four more eye-opening statistics about employee recognition that will most likely surprise you:

  • According to a survey by SurveyMonkey, 82 percent of employees consider recognition an essential part of their happiness at work.
  • According to a study by SHRM and Globoforce, peer-to-peer recognition is 35.7% more likely to positively impact financial results than manager-only recognition.
  • The same study by SHRM and Globoforce says that 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen a positive increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Recognition could create half of the engagement boost compared to a salary change but would be 95% less expensive. (Source: HBR)

Why is peer-to-peer recognition important: The benefits

Peer-to-peer recognition is vital for one fundamental reason: feeling appreciated is an essential part of human happiness. This fact is seen in all aspects of life, starting from parents encouraging their kids to write thank-you notes up until the workplace.

Here are the benefits of peer-to-peer recognition programs in the workplace:

1. Peer-to-peer recognition defines your company’s culture

Peer-to-peer recognition programs start as an initiative, and they become the true representation of the brand and company itself.

51% of employees are not engaged and haven't been for quite some time. | Gallup

It gives employees the necessary tools to praise others, provide feedback, and reward great accomplishments. As you can probably imagine, this approach will quickly generate a great atmosphere in the office. It’ll make your employees’ time pleasant, joyful, and interactive, so they’ll be able to “turn work into play” and perform out of passion rather than out of need.

2. It builds team spirit

Team spirit is something that every professional corporate business craves for. In sports, team spirit makes the real difference between winning and losing. When two “balanced” teams play against each other, the one that’s more united will always win. The social and mental dynamics influence the players’ individual choices and reasons to pass, shoot or dribble during critical times.

Well, associate that with your company’s culture, and you’ll find that it works the same. Suppose your employees perceive themselves as a united team that leverages team spirit to gain energy and reach extraordinary results. In that case, you’ll have a winning team and a truly successful company!

3. Makes work less individual and more collaborative

Teamwork is good as long as it’s effective. If it’s imposed and feels like an effort, it’ll always backlash and generate negative results or stagnation. A peer recognition culture fosters genuine feelings of companionship and collaboration. While some employees might feel the need to act independently and make their own decisions, there will be many others who will definitely appreciate a more collaborative approach that involves group choices and teamwork.

40% of working Americans are ready to double their efforts if they are recognized more often. |  Harvard Business Review

Those that love to work alone should be able to do so for as long as they are truly helpful in their positions. Nevertheless, certain key recognition principles and “rules” should apply to all employees regardless of their status.

4. Improves employees’ happiness and fulfillment

Have you ever wondered about how happy your workers are? Have you ever cared? It’s good to have these thoughts – it gives you a human side and your employees will love that. Anyhow – implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program will definitely impact your employees’ wellbeing and happiness.

Appreciation, positivity, laughter, compassion, friendship – these are high vibration emotional states that spread. They spread through energy, so if ten of your employees are positive and helpful to each other, the other ten will naturally feel inclined to feel and behave the same way.

5. It improves employees’ health

If happiness is present, the stress and the negativity are almost practically gone. Numerous studies prove that stress and negativity affect our physical and mental wellbeing.

If those are diminished or completely eliminated, you’ll find it easy to understand why your employees will feel “alive”. Every employee values his health and wellbeing. If your company’s culture fosters such amazingly positive effects, they’ll want to stick to your “club” mainly because it keeps them healthy and happy.

6. It boosts employees’ standards and objective scales

When a feedback mechanism is linked with a rewarding system, employees start to think about their possibilities. The successful events (some employees claiming a great prize) makes them feel like they can do it too. It opens possibilities, doors, and paths.

A study by Gallup shows that on doubling the number of employees that receive recognition,

↠ 24% improvement in quality

↠ 27% reduction in absenteeism

↠ 10% reduction in shrinkage

A successful peer-to-peer recognition program will often skyrocket every employee’s professional standards. However, this competition should be directed towards direct business competitors, and not towards colleagues.

Give your employees a competitive medium that constantly triggers their intrinsic motivation and inspiration and you’ll have a proactive company that gets a lot of work done.

7. It encourages transparency and openness

Transparency is a rare quality. Leaders are striving to find it in employees, while every employee seeks to find it in their leaders and managers. Without transparency, trust is a faraway concept.

Without trust, a team cannot function properly. There can be no prosperity (at any level – both individual and company) unless trust is a default component in the company’s culture.

A peer-to-peer recognition program brings exactly that – it helps employees learn more about other employees or managers, and at the same time, it gives you, the leader of the movement, a great understanding of your team’s dynamics and direction.

8. A peer recognition culture builds loyal teams

Loyalty is even rarer. Loyal employees will never betray your company if they find a better offer. They’ll let you know first, they’ll make sure that you agree, and if you do, they’ll do their best to train somebody else to fill the position.

Of course, this type of loyalty is rare – as I said – but not impossible to create. An effective peer-to-peer culture will generate feelings of loyalty by default, so this represents another huge benefit of peer recognition.

9. peer-to-peer recognition programs make rewards and recognition a natural process

Rewarding someone might often feel like an awkward deed, mainly because you might not be used to doing so, or because other people might take it personally because it wasn’t them who received the prize.

50% of employees prefer receiving immediate feedback for a job done rather than wait till the end of the year. | HBR

An organized peer-to-peer recognition program will make the rewarding system feel natural and pleasant. You, as the manager, will have a justified reason to reward each employee for each of his important accomplishments.

At the same time, on a lower level, your employees might (and should) be able to reward each other. Some form of currency or some form of appreciation should be easily approached and used by every member who wants to take part in the peer recognition program.

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10. It fosters true friendships

Peer recognition does not only improve the employees’ performance and dynamics of your workplace, but it positively alters the connection between your employees. By constantly talking to each other, your colleagues will learn to cooperate and will often find a lot of common things that they have in common. Many professional relationships may also turn into real personal friendships.

90% of employees feel the bond of trust strengthens when they receive a word of thanks. | Forbes

Imagine your workers meeting every Saturday night for a few beers, or every Sunday morning to drink a coffee together. Holidays and trips can also happen, and they will often genuinely improve the company’s collective strength and compassion.

11. It encourages learning and skills growth

Employees that are part of a peer-to-peer program will never be afraid to ask for help. The true friendships built as an effect of the friendly corporate culture will allow employees to gain knowledge and skills from each other.

If your marketers learn from your designers and vice versa, each particular sector will do a better job in the future. That fosters both individual and company progress and helps your company thrive in the face of challenges.

Every professional would love to work in a place where growth, teamwork, employee feedback, and rewards are present. Provide that and your company’s job positions will be seen as a goldmine to most relevant new candidates that you seek.

12. Peer recognition represents a powerful feedback mechanism

Your employees will need a reliable feedback mechanism that they can use to improve. Finding your mistakes and resolving their causes (the roots) is not as simple as you may very well know.

45% of employees value feedback from their peers, but less than 30% get it in reality. | SnapSurvey

An effective peer-to-peer social recognition program will allow employees to manifest constructive criticism without worrying about their colleagues taking it personally. And so will you!

Peer to peer recognition cards

Peer-to-peer recognition ideas and examples

Peer-to-peer recognition is a substantial part of workplace culture, and here are some creative and the best peer-to-peer recognition ideas to appreciate your colleagues.

1. Give them a shout-out

Your peers deserve praise for what they do, and it’s not just to improve culture, but because it has a huge impact on financial productivity—almost 35%.

Giving them a shout-out for quick help on a project, a simple “good luck” before a behemoth sales pitch, or congratulating a good stab at a write-up helps keep employees engaged. Doing it on a platform such as Empuls brings it into the whole organization's ambiance, transcending the recognition to a new dimension.

2. Sticky notes never get old

A sticky note's surprising persuasiveness is such that a set of experiments proved that they prove to be more influential than an email or an IM, as per HBR. When it comes to recognition, the very same principle applies.

Sticky notes are great for recognizing your peers, ranging from having an amazing day to a luscious sandwich, and it’s all good for the employee’s motivation to get through the day. And the best part? The creativity is limitless.

3. Virtual party

With remote work becoming the chartbuster of the coming decades, virtual parties celebrating wins, both big and small, are great safe spaces to reveal the occasion. Wondering how to have a virtual party? Here are the best remote team-building activities that bloom the culture of recognition from the couch.

4. Boast the gems on the company website

A company’s website is the front door of every prospective and existing stakeholder in the business. When it showcases your teams' name and pictures (other than the top-level managers), it will make for a great morale booster for every member of the organization. Boast about them on the company website and tell your teams about it—they’ll be ecstatic.

5. Breakroom boss of the week

This is one such creative employee recognition idea that brings the fun quotient in. Recognize the month’s top performers or vote them in as the “Breakroom boss of the week.”

They decide the breakroom menu for lunch, have a say in what snacks come in, decide what music’s playing, and so forth. Not only does it glorify recognition, but it also forges new relationships that transcend for the best at the workplace.

6. Homemade treats

Since peer recognition is all about strengthening the bonds of companionship, homemade treats are a great box to open on the table. Not only is it a great icebreaker, but it’s got all the ingredients of goodness, friendship and breaks the hierarchy when everyone dives into it. Time to hit the best bake smith on your team!

7. Social media recognition

Did you know that almost 90% of your colleagues are connected with their peers on LinkedIn and Facebook? Social media recognition is an untapped place wherein peers look for a distraction from the workplace because let’s face it—everyone scrolls through social media at work.

Many organizations have a prominent presence on social media without actually being there—as work BFFs share posts, likes, and comments about their work anecdotes with the world.

This organic publicity is great for the organization and its culture and can be channelized to attract talent with the culture.

8. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and more

From shimmery desks on birthdays to heart-warming greeting cards on wedding anniversaries and baby showers, the celebration is the essence of culture. Celebrating life milestones is crucial, and this can be done virtually and tangibly—brownie points if the management pitches in and make them extra special.

9. One for the trophy cabinet

Trophies and mementos might be obsolete for the trophy cabinet, but this creative employee recognition idea revolutionizes it. Gift your peers some stuffed toys that resemble their work ethic, personality, inside jokes, and everything around it. It makes for a great memory, and it’ll always come up as a story to tell in the future, keeping your teammates in a jolly mood every time they look at it.

10. The gift of choice

When it comes to recognition from peers, it has to be memorable in the highest order. Recognition paired up with a gift of the receiver’s choice would be the perfect way to top it off.

Be it gift vouchers or simply some points-based currency that can be splashed on an exquisite catalog, it’d make for a memorable gift that would recognize your peers’ efforts in what they do - especially as employee rewards and recognition ideas.

How peer-to-peer recognition platforms can help?

Empuls is a market-leading peer-to-peer recognition software that helps organizations build a culture of appreciation and reward. Empuls enables you to drive engagement by making peer-to-peer recognition fun with its social-media-like interactions, built-in rewards catalog, reward workflows, and more.

Take a product demo today or start your free trial to experience Empuls.


Are you convinced yet? If you’re not – you’re probably not looking at the right strategy at the right time. Maybe it’s not the moment.

However, if any of these reasons have made you question the way you do things in your company, and whether your employees feel like they’re an important piece of the puzzle or a separate, disconnected, and lonely piece, you should immediately start researching more on what is a peer-to-peer recognition, craft a peer-to-peer employee recognition program and take some immediate steps to put it in motion.

Motivate Employees through an Effective Rewards and Recognition Programs.
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Rani Joseph

Rani Joseph LinkedIn

Rani Joseph comes with a decade-long experience across the value chain of content and brand marketing. She currently is the Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Xoxoday.