Depending on where you work, the attitude towards recognition programs and employee engagement can range significantly. While some company leaders continue to believe that simply paying their employees is enough to build a happy workforce, a steady stream of modern research on what truly defines an employee experience says otherwise. Rather than giving out financial incentives, it's the appreciation and intrinsic motivation that comes from professional relationships that lead to optimal employee engagement and high-performing teams.
Why is peer-to-peer recognition important? There are four main reasons why peer recognition initiatives matter:
- They enhance employee engagement and boost their drive to go the extra mile.
- They help keep retention rates high (and the employee turnover rate low).
- They build a positive and empowering company culture.
- They contribute to high employee satisfaction and happiness rates.
In this guide, we discuss the merits of fostering a peer recognition culture and why it should be incorporated into traditional recognition programs.
What Peer-to-Peer Recognition Means
Peer-to-peer recognition is the act of identifying and acknowledging the skills, talent, and contributions of your colleagues. A typical employee recognition program is awarded by management based on a set of key performance indicators, but studies and experience have shown that positive feedback from co-workers is equally meaningful and powerful. Because coworkers are the ones who are directly exposed to each other every day, social recognition carries equal weight in ensuring a happy working environment.
Let's jump into four of the most impactful benefits of peer-to-peer appreciation and what you can do to start getting those benefits in your own workplace today!
4 Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Recognition
Aside from management-led recognition, appreciation between colleagues has a positive impact on attitude and performance. Here are the benefits of maintaining a peer recognition culture in the workplace, whether you have an in-office or a remote team.
1. Enhanced Employee Engagement
First, and perhaps most importantly, a recognition-rich culture has been repeatedly shown to make significant improvements in employee engagement measurements.
Engagement is typically measured by surveying employees and having them self-select into three categories: engaged, disengaged, and actively disengaged. Depending on which category an employee falls into, the amount of passion and commitment they feel towards their job will differ, which in turn impacts the amount of effort they put in.
Recent research uncovered trends in levels of employee engagement, which are fairly uninspired. According to Bankrate's extensive August 2021 Job Seeker Survey, a whopping 55% of Americans are becoming disinterested in their jobs and are somewhat or very likely to look for new employment in the next year.
A similar survey by Gallup also revealed that 64% of employees polled said they were unengaged even before the pandemic hit, with 15% classifying themselves as actively disengaged and, sadly, only 21% saying they were very engaged. What does this mean? A lot of people around the world are not feeling committed to their job and company and, therefore, are most likely not contributing as much as they could be.
Peer-to-peer recognition techniques that can help boost engagement include publicly appreciating a teammate for their contributions, notifying everyone of an achievement via internal emails, and communicating and simply being transparent. A high level of team spirit driven by appreciation between coworkers helps boost morale and success rates in the long run.
2. High Employee Retention Rates
Pretty much every company is looking to retain more of its employees. Not only is retention a reflection of company values and culture, but it has a big impact on the financials of an organization. The more good-quality, trained employees who leave, the more time and money the company has to spend replacing them. It's a big hassle that can often be prevented.
So how do you prevent employees from wanting to leave? One of the best ways is to implement an employee recognition system. This is not just any rewards program. A system that allows for organic expression can provide a unique opportunity to encourage the growth of workplace relationships. Once employees have spent time giving and receiving recognition at your company, their loyalty will inherently go up as their relationships grow. While any other company offering an equivalent salary can immediately compete on that level, they can't replace the friendships that were built through many instances of appreciation and regular feedback.
3. Positive and Empowering Company Culture
Closely linked to the idea of employee retention is company culture. The more inclusive your company's culture is, the better your engagement levels and retention rates are bound to be. This is because culture refers to the overall environment of the organization, which is a result of the company's purpose, core beliefs, and subsequent actions.
Although many companies set out with the best intentions in terms of creating a positive emotional culture, the truth is that many fall short. Programs like annual performance reviews or even office perks that don't connect back to an emotionally-driven purpose typically end up with less meaningful change for the company. In fact, sometimes these types of programs can end up backfiring.
Peer-to-peer recognition takes an entirely different approach. By allowing employees to fully participate in a program based on social rewards, the culture naturally becomes one of gratitude and appreciation, where more people feel a sense of belonging and unity.
Having a great company culture is a benefit not only to the employees, but to the company leaders as well. Once a positive recognition experience has been established, leaders can use their existing culture as a marketing tool for recruiting new talent. Many people, especially those from the younger generations, want to work for companies that provide space for authentic and meaningful recognition.
4. High Satisfaction and Happiness Rates
Employee happiness, more commonly known as satisfaction, is not the same as employee engagement, despite their overlaps.
Although an employee might be happy with their job, that doesn't mean they will feel engaged (AKA committed and passionate). As this article breaks down, however, you can't have engagement without happiness.
But how do you achieve better employee satisfaction? Unsurprisingly at this point, it's peer-to-peer social recognition. According to the Harvard Business Review, one of the biggest areas for improvement right now is in regards to feedback for employees. Employees want more of it, but they don't want it coming from managers exclusively. Switching to a peer program makes a significant impact in employee satisfaction and happiness, which in turn creates a positive work environment and improves the ever-important employee engagement.
Authentic Recognition Among Peers Goes A Long Way
From employee retention and performance to company culture and recruiting, these are just some of the benefits of implementing a peer-to-peer recognition program in the office. While new generations of employees are changing the very nature of the workplace, companies have an opportunity to adapt in the best way possible. When employees get to give and receive recognition, they will not only grow their own workplace relationships, but also add value to the company at the same time.
Ready to get started on an effective peer recognition program that will keep your employees actively engaged and drive retention rates higher?
Preciate's virtual socializing technology mimics the real world, allowing employees to move around virtually in a Preciate Room and get to know coworkers better. Hosts can set a theme and playlist for the event and participants can explore as they wish, hearing voices get louder as they move closer to a person and quieter as they move further away. It's a great place to start conversations, give recognition, hold live presentations, make a toast, or simply chat about life. Request a demo to explore Preciate.