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How to Create a Culture of Recognition: Using a Peer-Recognition Strategy

Updated: Jun 11




Introduction

In most workplaces, recognition often flows from the top down, with managers and leaders giving feedback. However, the real magic happens when colleagues recognize each other's efforts. Peer-to-peer recognition isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a game-changing strategy. Imagine the boost in morale when your hard work is acknowledged not just by your boss, but by the people who work alongside you every day.


“When we are acknowledged for our work, we are willing to work harder for less pay, and when we are not acknowledged, we lose much of our motivation.”

Dan Arielly, social scientist and New York Times bestselling author





What is Peer-to-Peer or Employee Recognition?

Peer-to-peer recognition is the act of acknowledging the skills, contributions, or achievements of a colleague. Unlike traditional recognition that comes from managers, peer recognition is given by coworkers who share daily work experiences and understand the unique challenges faced by their peers.



Employee Recognition vs. Peer Recognition: What’s the Difference?

Employee recognition typically involves acknowledgment from supervisors or the organization itself, often tied to performance metrics or achievements. This is usually a formal activity and because of that it can feel quite transactional. Peer recognition, on the other hand, is more informal and personal, involving colleagues recognizing each other’s efforts and successes. Both are crucial, but peer recognition can be particularly meaningful as it comes from those who directly witness daily efforts and contributions helping build a more authentic culture.


Examples of Peer Recognition

Examples of peer recognition can range from simple verbal acknowledgments to more structured programs:


Why Does Peer Recognition Matter and it's benefits?

Enhanced Team Morale: 

Research shows that peer recognition significantly boosts team morale. Employees feel valued and appreciated, leading to a more positive and engaged workforce.


Improved Performance and Productivity: 

According to Gartner, peer feedback can enhance performance by up to 14%. A study from Harvard Business School also found that peer recognition dramatically increases motivation and productivity.


Fosters a Positive Company Culture: 

Regular peer recognition helps embed organizational values and fosters a collaborative, empathetic work environment. Employees feel a sense of belonging and are more likely to align with the company’s goals.


Reduces Employee Turnover: 

Gallup research indicates that companies with high employee engagement experience a 21% increase in profitability. Recognizing employees frequently can reduce turnover by making them feel valued and connected to the organization.



Supporting Evidence and Case Study

Cisco: Digital technology company Cisco revised a management-driven, relatively quiet reward system to recognize its 80,000 employees at all levels. In the first year, 85% of Cisco employees participated in its Connected Recognition program by giving or receiving awards. 48% of Cisco’s awards are given between team members.

Disney: Disney has utilized programs like the Disney Legacy Awards and Cast Compliments to make staff feel valued. Peer nominations drive most programs, and online tools make it easy to nominate a co-worker. Employees are designated as “Disney Legends” to acknowledge their work achievements, and their handprints are also displayed at Walt Disney Studios.


Creating a Culture of Recognition

Building a culture of recognition requires consistent effort and a supportive environment:

  1. Encourage Regular Recognition: Promote a culture where recognition is frequent and valued.

  2. Lead by Example: Managers and leaders should model the behavior they want to see. This helps encouraged others to participate.

  3. Use Tools and Platforms: Leverage technology so that it's less administratively taxing. Tools such as Dewdropz which directly integrates with Microsoft Teams and can make implementing. a peer recognition program seamless.

  4. Tie it to company values: Ensure that the recognition is tied to your company values. In Dewdropz, every Shoutout has to be linked to a company value that you define.


How to Acknowledge Your Peers Effectively

Effective peer recognition involves:

  • Being Specific: Highlight what exactly was done well.

  • Being Timely: Recognize as soon as possible after the achievement.

  • Being Genuine: Ensure the recognition is heartfelt and sincere.


Objectives of Peer-to-Peer Recognition

The main objectives include:

  • Boosting Team Morale: Keeping spirits high and encouraging a positive atmosphere.

  • Enhancing Engagement: Keeping employees motivated and connected to their work.

  • Promoting Collaboration: Encouraging teamwork and collective success.

Peer-to-Peer Recognition Best Practices and Ideas

  1. Create a Recognition Program: Establish a structured program that makes it easy for employees to recognize each other.

  2. Use a Single Platform: Simplify the process by using one platform for all recognition activities.

  3. Ensure Inclusivity: Make sure all employees have the opportunity to participate in recognition.

  4. Give Public Recognition: Publicly acknowledging achievements can be more impactful.

  5. Balance Frequency of Recognition: Regular recognition keeps the momentum going but if this happens too often then the novelty effect wears off. Dewdropz Shoutouts limits the user to sending a shoutout once a week but you can receive as many as possible.


Peer-to-Peer Recognition Statistics

Studies show that peer recognition can enhance performance by up to 14%, and companies with strong recognition programs see up to a 21% increase in profitability. Engaged employees are more productive, less likely to leave, and contribute to a positive workplace culture.

“The vast majority of top performing companies (93%) reported their executives are not just willing to carry out rewards and recognition to remain competitive, but are strong supporters of non-cash rewards and recognition as a competitive advantage for the organization.”

Compared to those who do not consistently feel recognized at work, people who do feel recognized at work are: 

-  2.6x more likely to think that promotions are fair 

-  2.2x more likely to drive innovation and bring new ideas forward 

- 2.0x more likely to say people here are willing to go above and beyond 


How to Set Up a Successful Peer Recognition Program

  1. Define Your Objectives: Clearly outline what you want to achieve with your recognition program.

  2. Choose the Right Platform: Select a tool like Dewdropz’s ShoutOuts that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems.

  3. Train Your Team: Ensure everyone knows how to use the recognition platform and understands the importance of recognition.

  4. Promote Regular Use: Encourage frequent use of the platform to keep recognition front of mind.

  5. Monitor and Adapt: Use analytics to track the effectiveness of your program and make adjustments as needed.

Sending peer recognition with Shoutout in Dewdropz
Sending peer recognition with Shoutout in Dewdropz

How Dewdropz Enhances Peer Recognition

Dewdropz makes peer recognition seamless and impactful with its ShoutOuts feature. Integrated within Microsoft Teams, ShoutOuts allows employees to easily recognize each other’s contributions. When nominating someone, users provide a personalized message and select a company value that the recognition aligns with. This approach not only celebrates individual achievements but also reinforces company values, driving culture through action.

To ensure each recognition is meaningful, Dewdropz limits shoutouts to once a week per employee. This makes use of behavioural science aspects such the scarcity principle, since each nomination can only be sent once per week, it results in more thoughtful nominations. It prevents system gaming and encourages employees to carefully consider their recognitions, adding greater value to each acknowledgment.


Conclusion

Creating a culture of recognition through peer-to-peer recognition not only boosts morale and engagement but also strengthens team cohesion and productivity. By implementing best practices and leveraging tools like Dewdropz, you can foster an environment where recognition is a natural and valued part of your workplace culture.


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