Why Peer Recognition is Important in High Performing Teams

Peer to peer recognition is important for a number of reasons and encourages employees to feel valued within a team. I explain this, as well as share ways you can encourage gratitude in your own company.

Many managers mistakenly believe that a steady income is enough to keep their employees happy. Those that fail to change this way of thinking tend to risk losing their employees and encounter high employee turnover.

You’ll find that everyone is grateful when it comes to receiving recognition from his or her manager, for a job well done. However, recognition from a fellow team member holds with it an increased level of pride and validation. It proves that other colleagues notice your efforts and contributions.

Recognition from a fellow team member holds with it an increased level of pride and validation

What is Peer Recognition?

Peer recognition (often called peer to peer recognition) is when colleagues in the same team or department praise each other for their work. It could be for a job well done or motive each other just giving random positive feedback. This, in turn, encourages employees to do even better for the next task or project assigned.

This gratitude is important and can take many forms; it does not always have to be formal. Many companies are starting to see the importance of offering an official channel for peers to recognise others and many are finding ways to weave it into the fabric of their organisations.

Employee thank you

Employee thank you

Peer Recognition Program

Providing a platform for employees to thank each other for their work and effort is a great way to encourage a positive environment. Part of your company culture should include implementing a peer to peer recognition program that is tied back to company values. This helps increase employee retention and engagement.

All managers should be involved in any celebrations of your peer recognition program. This helps them understand the attitudes within your team, and provides the team with important validation that the company cares.

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One golden rule for recognition is the earlier the recognition happens after an event, the better it is. Don’t leave it weeks to mention to a colleague when they have done something great. An effective leader always knows what is going on in their team, and should be the first to notice and congratulate them right away.

Simple gestures such as giving them a handshake or high five as soon as you can, is the easiest way to provide peer recognition. Any official congratulation or a bonus can come later during their next performance review; however there is no reason why managers should wait or delay to say thanks to an employee for their hard work.

Peer recognition programs can help your company align your business goals to employees’ performance goals. Providing feedback straight away encourages behaviours that you value.

You should actively encourage your employees to look out for good performance and reward accomplishment.

Peer gratitude between employees

Peer gratitude between employees

Benefits of Peer Recognition

Peer recognition is important as it makes your team stronger.

Remember one of the main reasons that people leave their jobs, is because of the lack of recognition. Peer recognition is important as it sets a positive attitude for the company culture, reminding the entire departments in the company of what their goals are, and what the team is working towards.

Most importantly, peer recognition in high performing teams can strengthen the bonds between colleagues.

Peer recognition is important as it boosts work relationships.

Getting along with colleagues is a significant factor in professional wellbeing. Professional relationships, like personal ones, need to be nurtured and cared for. Encouraging your employees to openly express their gratitude towards their colleagues can help strengthen these relationships.

While some value public displays of appreciation, others might prefer more private recognition. Understanding individual needs makes peer recognition an even more powerful tool to bring people together.

Peer recognition is important as it improves confidence and employees’ self-esteem.

Besides increasing employees’ sense of belonging to the team and the company at large, peer recognition allows managers to enhance the value of each their employees’ differences. When employees receive recognition from their peers, they are able to make sense of how much they are worth to the company or department.

For example, a straightforward everyday task, can suddenly create more satisfaction, with a simple ‘thank you’ from their peers.

Social scientists have found that the fastest way to feel happiness is to practice gratitude.
– Chip Conley

Tips to encourage peer recognition

We can all agree that peer recognition can help foster high performing teams. Here are some tips when it comes to providing peer recognition among the team.

Make peer to peer recognition part of your company culture. When it is already a culture that is commonly practiced, then it is far more natural and less ‘forced’. Gently encourage and remind your team members the value of giving peer recognition to their fellow colleagues.

Encourage public gratitude. Peer recognition is best when done publicly. Either within a specific department or across the company. There is much more value when peer recognition is done during any team meetings, as well as throughout the week.

Be genuine. Don’t just go through the motions or let is become a chore to be completed every month. The fastest way to kill the value of any peer recognition is to start giving out rewards as a matter of habit as opposed to people really earning their recognition.

Related: See our post, 40 Great Ways to Say Thank You to Your Employees.

In Summary

We all know that employees are at the heart of your business. Employee peer recognition is important to any high performing organisation, as gratitude works as motivation as well as recognition.

When employees are being recognised for their efforts by fellow employees, the impact is much more meaningful.

Good luck in creating an attitude of gratitude throughout your company – you will see the benefits almost immediately!

Lauren Clarke

Lauren Clarke

Lauren writes for 6Q and a number of other blogs from her home office in Australia. She spends her time writing, reading and changing US to International English on many articles that she edits.