Organizational Wellness

Five Ways to Boost Peer Recognition

Jun 7, 2023
Last Updated May 16, 2024

It's no secret acknowledging good work can boost office morale —  it makes people feel valued and appreciated. Even small gestures like "thank you for your time" or “you handled that call well” can make your staff feel like their efforts are being recognized.

While many people provide recognition without being prompted, you can actively encourage this type of positive feedback within your organization. This can help your company consistently reap the benefits foster positive workplace relationships. Here’s how! 


What is Peer Recognition?

Peer recognition, also called peer-to-peer recognition, is a process where colleagues acknowledge and appreciate each other's efforts. Rather than relying solely on feedback from management, this allows coworkers to give and receive a pat on the back from their teammates. It instills a sense of belonging and team spirit, increases transparency, and positively impacts motivation, SHRM found. In turn, this can increase employee engagementretention, and job satisfaction.

How to Facilitate Peer Recognition

There’s no one right way to provide positive feedback. One co-worker may recognize their coworker's new approach to sales calls during a one-on-one meeting, while another wants to applaud how a project manager handled an initiative in a group setting. You have a myriad of ways available to you to build these bridges. Here are five ideas to get you started.

  1. Create a Culture of Recognition

Fostering appreciation as a core value of your company culture can encourage peer-to-peer kudos: Organizations with a strong recognition culture are twice as likely to have constant peer-to-peer recognition, results by Gallup found. This is because employees are more likely to give recognition when they feel that their voice, opinion, and feedback are valued and appreciated by their coworkers and the company.

Cultivating this as a norm within your company takes all members of the organization — from top executives to entry-level employees — embrace recognizing performance. To support institutionalizing this practice, consider allocating time after weekly meetings to openly share moments of teamwork or recognition. 

Another strategy is to emphasize the importance of recognition during the hiring and onboarding process. That way, new hires understand that their voice is important and that recognition is openly encouraged.

  1. Encourage Public Peer Appraisal

Consider providing public channels for peer recognition with open channels. Public praise shows employees that anyone can give recognition. It also is an opportunity to strengthen company values, as employees who demonstrate a certain business belief are rewarded for their good work. Social recognition also gives employees the opportunity to engage through comments, likes, and shares. This allows camaraderie to grow and for employees to see the value of public recognition.

When appreciation is embedded in the work environment through allocated spaces, it's three times more likely to impact how many employees agree they have meaningful connections with coworkers, a study by Gallup discovered. Options for implementing this include a public channel on Slack or Teams or GChat, or using a common hashtag on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. Or another option to consider is hosting an annual peer awards ceremony. That way, the entire team can vote and shout out each other's efforts and successes.

  1. Use One Platform to Centralize Recognition

Consider centralizing recognition efforts into one place. That way, employees know exactly where to send and share recognition. In fact, when given a platform to send and receive recognition, 44% of employees will give constant and ongoing peer recognition, according to a study by TinyPulse.

This is particularly important for hybrid and remote teams because having a designated platform allows employees to share their appreciation regardless of location. It's a helpful way to communicate recognition that every employee can partake in and make recognition publicly visible.

Consider a recognition platform like Nectar to centralize peer appraisals. The idea is to have a continuous space for teams to highlight their coworker's hard work and successes in a simple way.

  1. Make Recognition Fun

Playing around with recognition programs can help you find a fun approach to peer recognition. When something’s fun, people are naturally interested in joining the party! You can encourage friendly competition to engage employees in the recognition process, like incorporating bingo, badges, and individual awards. Another option is to create digital or handwritten notes where each employee writes a message to celebrate every coworker once a quarter.

To keep these engagements fun, it’s important to keep them lighthearted and casual. It’s not ideal to make them mandatory or participation feel forced. Delegating ownership of the program helps show that recognition is an important part of the organizational culture.

  1. Celebrate Work Anniversaries, Milestones, and Achievements Together

Keep an eye out for opportunities to celebrate employees, such as anniversaries or promotions. These occasions may feel like a natural moment for colleagues to praise and celebrate their peers' achievement. This supports a strong team culture that's inspired by each other's progress and successes.

Consider organizing events to celebrate work anniversaries, birthdays, or even the end of a long project. This is an opportunity for teams to come together, reflect, and share recognition after working hard together.

By celebrating accomplishments together, you promote company values of collaboration and teamwork. It also encourages employees to support one another while actively participating in peer recognition initiatives.

Recognize Employees By Supporting their Wellbeing

Peer recognition is all about building a positive and encouraging workplace. A healthy work environment where people feel their work is respected and their wellbeing is supported is attractive to both potential and current employees. And today’s workforce isn’t interested in anything less: 93% of workers believe their wellbeing is equally important as their salary, and 87% of workers would consider leaving a company that doesn’t focus on employee wellbeing

Beyond rewarding performance, you can nurture employee wellness through flexible schedules, remote work options, mental health days off, gym memberships, or virtual yoga classes. At Wellhub, we offer a flexible subscription to digital and physical fitness courses, and dozens of wellness apps so your team can address every wellness need. Talk to aWellbeing Specialist today about how we can help improve your employee experience!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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