Peer-to-Peer Recognition: What Is It? Why Should You Have It?

Peer-to-Peer Recognition: What Is It? Why Should You Have It?

Every employee has three basic needs from an organisation, i.e., to be able to do purposeful work, to be aware of the things going on in the company, and to gain recognition for doing a good job. As far as recognition is concerned, companies have placed the entire responsibility of recognizing and appreciating the employees on the managers.

On the contrary, the truth is that today no form of recognition works better than peer-to-peer recognition. Being applauded for one’s work is more of a psychological need, which has lasting positive effects on the overall organisational health and culture. But is peer-to-peer recognition actually so important? The answer is a big YES!

Peer-to-peer recognition is 35% more likely to have a positive impact on the financial results of an organization than manager-only recognition. This data alone is enough to bring to light the positive ripple effect of a peer-to-peer recognition program in an organisation.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition: What is it? Why should you have it? 

Let’s dig deeper into what, why, and how a company should go about implementing a peer-to-peer recognition system.

What is Peer-to-Peer Recognition?

Peer-to-Peer recognition is a genuine expression of appreciation between coworkers. According to various studies, it is considered so effective that when an employee is recognised by a peer, he is likely to repeat the behaviour that earned him that recognition.

As an essential tool used to address employee engagement, peer-to-peer recognition has gained momentum owing to factors such as large teams, remote workers, millennial workforce, etc. It is, in fact, one of the most powerful tools to create a collaborative work culture based on employee camaraderie and motivation.

Being recognised by a peer produces a double-dopamine rush, by presenting not only an excellent approach to keep the motivation levels high but also an efficient talent retention strategy for the HR.

Keeping the overall business objectives at the center, the HR department can induce positive work behaviour amongst the employees through a peer-to-peer recognition system.

Why is Peer-to-Peer Recognition Beneficial?

Here’s why peer-to-peer recognition is hugely beneficial for an organisation:

Strong Team:

One of the main reasons why people leave an organisation is the lack of appreciation. Peer recognition provides a platform for all employees to adapt a positive attitude towards the company culture. It helps colleagues strengthen their bonds and turn into high-performing teams. It also encourages employees to openly express their gratitude towards each other, thereby boosting their work relationships.

Boosts Self-Esteem:

Peer recognition program helps employees go a level deeper and analyze their peers’ strengths and weaknesses. They begin to understand the value of employee differences in a much better way. Also, being recognised by a peer helps boost one’s confidence and self-esteem. A simple ‘good job’ or ‘thank you’ from a peer can help increase an employee’s satisfaction levels tremendously.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition: What Is It? Why Should You Have It?

 Reduces Turnover:

It is human psychology to feel appreciated and valued, and this behaviour does not stop at work. When peers say constructive things to each other, they tend to get along well with each other. Also, employees who have positive relationships at work are likely to be better engaged in their jobs. This further reinforces peer-to-peer recognition and its benefits in the form of reduced employee turnover rates. The HR team assigns a vital metric to this tool in terms of bringing down the turnover rates of an organisation.

What Does Peer-to-Peer Recognition Look Like?

Organisations should follow certain practices while building a peer-to-peer recognition program that is robust and achieves the agenda. The following ideas should be adhered to while recognizing one’s peers in a workplace:


Recognition is not a chore or a task that has to be ticked off every week. It is instead the most genuine feedback or appreciation given to a peer. The recognition, thus, must remain authentic because real gratitude comes from praising people for their sincere contributions or substantial efforts.


There is a reason why annual performance appraisals do not prove to be as effective as peer-to-peer recognition, for the former is classified more like a yearly practice. In contrast, the latter is spontaneous and born out of instant recognition of the work done well. Great recognition should be shared as soon as possible for it to be impactful, showing that the peers pay attention and care for each other’s day-to-day work achievements.


Peer-to-peer recognition is informal and, therefore, most consistent in its original form. It should be an ongoing process, ingrained into the DNA of the company, as a go-to practice to follow whenever peers notice their fellow workers doing a great job.


A manager has to appreciate a lot of employees in his/her team, which is why saying simple, “Great job!” or “Well done!” may be justified. Peers, on the other hand, have the leverage to pass on genuine compliments to each other, which should generally be more than a few words and very specific.

One such example of a specific peer-to-peer recognition could be:

“Your approach to handling the logistics issue at hand was fantastic, and this will clear out a lot of delays on the product delivery front. Thanks for finally coming up with a great solution to a problem that bothered the entire team for quite some time!”

The recognition is genuine and very specific and is put forth in a manner that helps the employee being praised feel positive about his work.


There is peer-to-peer recognition, and then there is something called team peer-to-peer recognition, both of which must be defined separately. While the general peer-to-peer recognition is personalised towards a single employee, a team peer-to-peer recognition is directed towards a team. It is equally important, too, for it creates a healthy competition amongst the teams.

For example, feedback like,

“Neha did a great job by roping in a long-lost client that the company was hoping to connect with for quite some time”

is directed towards one employee, whereas,

“ The technical team was able to add the pending features and update the website in no time, helping us close an important client as the sales team! Kudos to their timely efforts!”

is directed towards the team endeavor as a whole.

Every form of peer-to-peer recognition should be a collaborative effort for it to be sustainable in the organization.

How to Implement Peer-to-Peer Recognition?

Peer-to-peer recognition allows an employer to engage, retain, and motivate their workforce, as cited earlier. But what are the fundamentals involved in implementing a successful peer-to-peer recognition program and what steps should an organisation take to do the same. Read on to know more.

Define and Communicate the Goals of the Program:

Before even diving into a complete peer-to-peer recognition program, it is crucial to define and communicate its goals in a manner that all the stakeholders gain absolute clarity about it. What exactly is the end purpose of the program? Is it to create a positive work environment, usher in a culture of accountability, or improve employee engagement? Why is this important?

Outlining the goals helps shape the entire program and give a headstart in the right direction. While it is essential to define the objectives of the program, the next logical step should be to align them in ways that allow employees to appreciate each other.

For example, if the goal of the program is to motivate employees, it is the employers’ duty to help the employees with information of their peers who went above and beyond.

Similarly, if the employers are looking at improving office morale, they should provide the employees with ways to acknowledge their coworkers with constructive feedback and appreciation.

Once the goals have been laid down clearly, the HR can go ahead and communicate them to the employees so that they know what all aspects of their peers’ performances they can recognise.

Encourage Participation:

Peer recognition should not be just another gimmick or exercise that is tiring or difficult to do. Instead, it should be precisely the opposite – easy and fun. This can be achieved by introducing a digital recognition software, which enables real-time recognition. It will be especially useful for remote employees, for it will be easily accessible via mobile application.

The software can be just another social media platform for a company, albeit restricted internally, meant to be used only for recognition purposes.

For the millennials-dominated workforce of today, this can prove to be a boon as employers can expect good participation from their employees. They are at ease with using various channels of social media, browsing and consuming content, and if all it takes is a user-friendly recognition software to recognise their peers, they will definitely be up for it.

Give Peer Recognition Weight:

Most company policies regarding raises and promotions are designed to factor in only particular employees’ merit or work ethics. However, including peers’ opinions, as part of an employee’s performance analysis can lead to a well-rounded assessment of the candidate.

Employees should be made to believe that their views matter for the peer recognition program to be truly successful. Managerial inputs are as crucial as peers’ opinions about their coworkers and, thus, any organisation should give peer recognition the same weight while deciding which employees should be promoted or appraised.

Provide Examples:

Employees should be given clarity in terms of aspects concerning positive behaviours at work, which contribute towards peer recognition, such as:

  • Being a good role model for the new joiners,
  • Always willing to help other employees,
  • Living up to the expectations of the team, and
  • Displaying company values in every action and decision

Defining such simple behaviours will not only help the employees indulge in giving recognition more often but only keep the program on track and aligned with the initial goals set.

Measure Success:

The last step is to measure success against the stated goals, which were set at the initial level. Analyze results and identify trends. Does a positive correlation exist between recognition and areas where productivity has improved? Do these results vary after six months, one year, or two years of the launch of the program?

Deducing this information will help you in mapping patterns of recognition behaviour and understanding how different employees regard peer-recognition. Employers can then focus on building a culture more aligned with their organisation’s overall goals.

Simple Ways to Incorporate Peer-to-Peer Recognition:

Like mentioned earlier, peer-to-peer recognition does not have to entail huge costs, and even a small gesture, when extended genuinely, can work wonders and make a substantial positive impact. Here are some non-formal, easy, and effective ways to incorporate peer recognition at the company level:

Hand Notes:

Personalised hand notes are friendly and encouraging. An organisation should encourage its employees to exchange such notes whenever they want to recognise their peers. Templates aligned with the organisational values can be designed in advance.

Message Boards:

A big message board will not only give the employees the means to recognise their peers publicly but also prove to be an effective motivator for the person being praised.


Encourage celebrations and allow employees to be a part of it. Celebrate professional achievements as well as personal milestones, such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Invite peers to gather and comment or maybe plan out a whole event to address peer recognition.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition: What Is It? Why Should You Have It?

Make a Video:

Visual content is more appealing than ever today, and what could be better a way to recognise a peer’s great work than to create a short video clip and put it up for everyone to watch. Have individuals submit their individual short 20-30 second videos and put them together as a vote of thanks and appreciation towards a coworker.

Team Huddles:

Team huddles are nothing but a quick 10-minute meeting, where team members can recognise another team member’s good work. These are helpful when organizing a company-wide meeting is not possible, but delaying recognition is also not an option.


Peer recognition should strictly be a voluntary affair; otherwise, it becomes insincere and forced, which is far from the whole purpose of the program. Ensure that it stays an optional exercise for it to reap its effectiveness truly.

To summarise, peer-to-peer recognition is a constructive way to recognise employees and has long-lasting positive effects, such as high motivation, increased work efficiency, and better profit margins. It is an essential albeit underrated component of employee recognition, and all companies must adopt it immediately.


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