Employee Peer Recognition Boosts Work Engagement

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By Martin Berman-Gorvine

It’s not just getting recognized by colleagues that boosts employee engagement; giving recognition to peers also helps.

“Four out of five employees say that recognizing someone else’s achievements makes them want to work harder,” according to a survey of 3,496 employees in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, India, Singapore and Germany. The figure is even higher for the reputedly self-obsessed millennial generation, at 85 percent, said the survey, conducted by Salt Lake City-based employee recognition company O.C. Tanner.

In a related finding, 92 percent of 1,000 U.S. full-time employees surveyed by Wakefield Research on behalf of Redwood City, Calif.-based software company BetterWorks “said they’d work harder” if their co-workers were privy to their goals, for greater transparency into what everyone is working on, the latter company said Dec. 12.

“Top performers thrive on being recognized for excellent work and will remain loyal and productive if they’re honored for their contributions,” Brandi Britton, district president of Menlo Park, Calif.-based staffing firm OfficeTeam, told Bloomberg BNA in a Dec. 14 e-mail. “When employees are recognized by peers, it can go a long way toward establishing healthy coworker relationships and makes for a more pleasant workplace in general.”

‘A Powerful Impact.’

“Peer recognition instills a sense of team spirit, motivates employees to do great work, and promotes openness and transparency,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for Chicago-based jobs website CareerBuilder, told Bloomberg BNA in a Dec. 14 e-mail. “And because recognition from peers may come as a surprise, it can have a powerful impact.”

Neither OfficeTeam nor CareerBuilder was involved with either of the two surveys.

“It’s always nice to know that peers acknowledge your achievements and appreciate your efforts. It also encourages workers to keep up the great work and reinforces positive behavior,” Britton said. When contributions “go unnoticed, it can lead to individuals feeling undervalued and expendable—which may prompt them to become unmotivated and dissatisfied in their positions.”

Haefner noted that peer-to-peer recognition “helps illuminate the purpose behind even the small tasks employees are performing every day and solidifies the camaraderie built through achieving goals as a team.” It also improves employee retention, she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at mbermangorvine@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at tharris@bna.com

For More Information

The O.C. Tanner survey results are available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz5S4nqlr4LMblZfdER6QWx5Ulk/view.

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