Building a Culture of Gratitude with Peer Recognition

employee recognition

Remember that time you accomplished something amazing at work and your colleagues and bosses couldn’t stop praising you? And then you went home, inspired, and ready to do it all again the next day?

If that doesn’t sound familiar, it might be time to reconsider your workplace’s approach to employee recognition and gratitude.

Over 200,000 employees were recently studied by the Boston Consulting Group and asked what their number one reason was for enjoying their work. The answer? Feeling appreciated. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) compensation didn’t appear until number eight.

None of this is really a shock though, is it?

There isn’t an employee out there who doesn’t want to be recognized and appreciated for their work. Yet sadly, many managers often wait until an annual performance review to deliver feedback. And even worse—the feedback in a performance review tends to focus on negative stuff rather than the good stuff.

When done well employee recognition has a multitude of benefits. From decreased turnover and lower absenteeism to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction…shall I go on?

Skeptics will argue that recognition programs don’t work, are too fluffy, or that organizations do this stuff solely to make themselves look good. While hopefully, that isn’t the case, it’s not difficult to understand where this skepticism stems from. A lot of organizations have failed to effectively implement an employee recognition program that works.

For employee recognition to truly be successful, it needs to be embedded in an organization’s culture, and it must be authentic.

The good news is that ThoughtFarmer has tools that make it easy for organizations to recognize and applaud employees. It’s called Shout Outs.

In just a few steps users can send positive reinforcement to one or more colleagues. This could be for anything from a successful sale, a great presentation, or even recognition for cleaning out the refrigerator. The great thing about Shout Outs is that they can be configured so everyone in the organization sees them, or they can be sent to a specific group or group page.


But First…
Before you get ready to launch your first shout out, there are a few things worth considering.

Is the recognition worthy?
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of applauding employees, however, too much recognition can also end up devaluing extraordinary accomplishments. When initiating a Shout Out, look for behaviours that were inspiring, or as a direct result of hard work. It’s also powerful to tie recognition in with your organization’s core values. For example, if one of your core values relates to teamwork, you could say something like “Ava: I loved the way you were able to quickly pull in team members to help out at the last sales conference. You really embody our core value of teamwork.”

Is it specific enough?
For recognition to be meaningful it must be specific. “Great job Marlowe” doesn’t have the same impact as “When you explained in detail why you felt the last marketing campaign failed, it really helped me to understand how we can do better the next time around.”

Is it genuine?
Finally, for a recognition program to work, your Shout Out absolutely must be authentic. Your organization likely doesn’t expect you to hit a quota of Shout Outs, but if they do, take a step back and look around. You will likely see a whole lot of cooperation, dedication, and effort that is longing for some recognition.